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The System’ to begin Forum conversations

Megan Doyle | Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The 2011-2012 Notre Dame Forum will bring in four heavyweight names to discuss reform in K-12 schools today at “The System” panel discussion.

“We have before us a set of unprecedented challenges and opportunities in K-12 education,” University President Fr. John Jenkins said. “There are complex, multi-disciplinary questions implicated by this topic, and Notre Dame should eagerly embrace the opportunity to be a forum for thoughtful dialogue on this crucial issue.”

The panel will include four stars in education reform — Michelle Rhea, Howard Fuller, John DiUlio and Sara Martinez Tucker.

Michelle Rhee is the founder and CEO of StudentsFirst, founder of The New Teacher Project and former Chancellor of D.C. Public Schools. Howard Fuller currently directs Marquette University’s Institute for the Transformation of Learning.

They will be joined by John DiUlio, professor at the University of Pennsylvania and the inaugural director of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives. Sara Martinez Tucker will also sit on the panel as the current Undersecretary of Education at the United States Department of Education.

“This panel promises to be a great prelude to the 2011-2012 Notre Dame Forum, which will examine topics related to K-12 schooling,” Jenkins said. “We are delighted to have such an impressive lineup of leaders in the movement leading the conversation on April 13.”

Fr. Tim Scully, director of the Institute for Educational Initiatives (IEI) and professor of political science will serve as emcee for the panel.

“I’ve come to believe that educational opportunity is one of the most pressing social justice issues of our time, and we should be as imaginative as possible as we consider ways of better serving at-risk children,” he said. “Michelle, Howard, Sara and John have meant a great deal to the modern education reform movement, and I’m confident that they will lead a provocative conversation on where the most exciting challenges and opportunities are for our educational system.”

John Schoenig, director of the Alliance for Catholic Education’s (ACE) Program for K-12 Education Access, said ACE students can play a significant role in the future of educational reform.

“I think ACE can play a role in discussing how faith-based schools, specifically Catholic schools, can and should play a role in education,” he said.

Nicole Garnett, law professor and panel moderator, said the panel would bring attention to the failures and strengths of K-12 education that will be discussed throughout the year ahead.

“My hope is that people leave tomorrow night thinking we really have to be part of this conversation,” Garnett said.

“The System: Opportunity, Crisis and Obligation in K-12 Education” will be held tonight at 7:30 p.m. in the Leighton Auditorium of the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center.