100 Years of Innovation: How We Can Support Teachers to Make Change Last

September 20, 2011

Source: eJewish Philanthropy 


Miriam Heller Stern, Dean of the Graduate Center for Education at American Jewish University in Los Angeles, responds to the recent Jewish education  blogosphere discussion of the "reinvention" of Jewish education. She claims that Jewish education must learn from the last century of attempted American school reform. Such reform was in reality, limited to what teachers actually chose to do, not what thinkers thought about and proposed.


She writes:

" If we want to reinvent Jewish education on a wide scale we must invest in:

  • incentives to attract bright, creative people with a thirst for invention and Jewish learning to pursue training and careers as educators;
  • ongoing support and professional development once new educators get out into the trenches so that they can succeed;
  • mechanisms for educators to reflect upon, self-evaluate and share the results of their experiments so that their innovative work can move beyond the walls of their classrooms and be adapted and implemented in other settings.

Otherwise the reinventing will remain exactly where it has lived over the course of the last one hundred years of school reform: in the editorials and sound bites of policy makers and leaders; on the margins of practice in the handful of model institutions that have the vision and resources to attract and support the gifted educators; and in the isolated classrooms where determined, talented, and often unheralded teachers work their magic."

Updated: Oct. 04, 2011