Thinking Critically About Our Current Education System

Hi, my name is Kevin Cataldo, and I’m a recent graduate of Felician University in New Jersey. I was the chapter president of the Alpha Zeta Rho Chapter of KDP on campus. I’m also a representative of KDP to the United Nations, as a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO), and I am at currently a graduate student at Teachers College, Columbia University.

On July 15, 2019, Teachers College welcomed K–12 educators and all other stakeholders from across the country and around the world to its 4th Annual Reimagining Education Summer Institute (RESI).

During the Institute, participants got the opportunity to critically think about our current education system.

In fact, during Day 1, the participants were asked to keep the following questions in mind: Why must we “reimagine” education here in the United States? The remaining 3 days focused heavily on the following: (a) racial and cultural literacy, (b) equity pedagogy, and (c) culturally sustaining leadership.

Here I am with Dr. Ladson Billings!

This year’s keynote address was delivered in an eloquent, powerful, and thought-provoking manner by Dr. Gloria Ladson-Billings, a KDP Laureate.

She is considered a pioneer of culturally relevant teaching, a pivotal area of study in education that I hope to learn more about as I continue my graduate studies at Teachers College.

The Institute was extra special for me this year, as this was my first time participating in it. I also was a dialogue session co-facilitator.

During the 4 days, my co-facilitators and I provided K–12 educators and other stakeholders with a brave space to share their thoughts, feelings, concerns, and knowledge about our education system. As a soon-to-be first-year third-grade language arts and social studies teacher in Newark, New Jersey, the Institute provided me with hope that I have the power to “reimagine” our education system and truly make a difference in the lives of my students.

At the conclusion of the Institute, both educators and stakeholders were asked to return to their respective school communities with a crucial question in mind: “What Now?”

In other words, what will I do to bring equity pedagogy into my school community?

Today more than ever before, the United States and the world must join forces and “reimagine” education, especially since one’s society depends heavily on an educated citizenry.

Furthermore, as a member of Kappa Delta Pi, International Honor Society in Education, and as one of its UN Youth Representatives for the upcoming 2019–2020 academic school year, my goal is to raise awareness about this unique Institute at the world stage—at the United Nations Headquarters.

To end, raising such awareness can be beneficial not only to educators, but to other stakeholders within the United Nations as well.

Why? Think about it: The goal of the Institute is to help educators realize how vital it is for schools and stakeholders to “ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all” (SDG 4: Quality Education).

3 thoughts on “Thinking Critically About Our Current Education System

  1. Thank you for your share. As one who has taught for many years, I have different perspectives on teaching. Again, ensuring mastery of the basics, I see reading well with good comprehension, writing well with good grammar, very key. But throughout all of this, in all subjects, encouraging the students to think for themselves is very important. What are we learning? What are the opportunities in the world? What are you interested in? What are you curious about? What do you think about some of these subject lessons? Discussions. Debates. Writing. Eventually, all of these students will lead their own lives. The sooner the better. I’ve always encouraged them to follow their interests, with responsibility, and not see their age as an obstacle, for whatever they can learn at whatever age opens doors of learning more. Their lives. All too often, I’ve heard of twelve year olds and there abouts starting business, experimenting, and more. It’s in them.

    • I had an interview question today on how I handled dyslexia and had I any experience with this? I know, see, feel, am current and for the life of me I am unable to place this reading challenge into a clear sentence or explanation to reveal that I am expert even still while answering the question. Ideas?

      • I have a relative who dealt with this, but finally found a career even with the difficulty. She’s a very social person which opened doors of opportunities. I’ve also had students with these difficulties. I utilized what the resource teachers could share, doing some of my own research. I also always encouraged them to listen, engage in our discussions, and found, though they struggled with reading and writing, they learned by listening or doing. So, I might ask them to write what they can, to the best they can, and even create pictures of what they understood, also sharing with me afterwards. And if they shared with the class, finding their ideas were good, their self-esteem grew. As I see it, there are more ways than one to find one’s way through life.

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