Grasmick to create new education plan
Nancy Grasmick, presidential scholar for innovation in teacher and leader education, and a small committee of education experts are working to execute new core teaching standards at Towson. The transition will be ongoing until the final implementation in 2014.
Grasmick said that Towson is the premier school for preparing teachers and is now the premier school for improving standards of the K-12 curriculum.
“I think we’re really on the cutting edge,” Grasmick said. “What I’m doing, and working with a small group of people, is trying to bring in national speakers who can inform the faculty so that they’re on the cutting edge of what’s happening and they can integrate that into their departments.”
There’s an effort to have national standards and to have a system of principle and teacher evaluation. The standards will be more rigorous than before, according to Grasmick.
“You have the national standards, then you drill down to the state curriculum, which interprets the national standards,” she said.
Current education majors and future education majors will be exposed to the core standards curriculum at Towson, Grasmick said, so when they do their required student teaching they’ll already be exposed to it.
“They’ll be in a much better position to perform well in the classroom and then of course they’ll be in a better position to be hired,” she said.
Senior Emma Bass is student teaching twice a week this semester and said that Towson classes well prepare her for her career as a teacher.
“When I’m in the meetings [at the elementary school] and I hear certain things they’re talking about I recognize them from class,” she said.
When schools hear that they are getting a student teacher from Towson they get excited, Bass said.
“Towson’s the premier school for preparing teachers. It prepares the largest number and it has a wonderful reputation for the preparation of teachers which really populate the best of our school systems in the state,” she said.
The faculty members of Towson are adjusting well to the changes, Grasmick said.
“They’re extremely receptive,” she said. “They just want the information because they want to do the right thing for their students. They really want to do the right thing, but they need the information, and they need it from experts, so I’m bringing in a lot of national people.”
Grasmick said Towson is unique in making these changes.
“We think we’re the first university in Maryland doing this. And not just pulling people together for one day and saying ‘Oh this is it, we’ll just give you a quick overview.’ This is really deep,” she said.
Grasmick said she was proud to attend an international conference at Harvard last month where Maryland was recognized as making the most progress over 20 years of any state in the nation.
“We’ve often been accused in this country…as being a mile-wide and an inch-deep,” she said. The new core standards are more consolidated but much deeper. So you have much more depth in the presentations on particular concepts. It’s not just trying to cover the whole waterfront but just do it in a very cursory way.”
Grasmick said there’s talk of these standards at a national level, but the rest of the country is slow to follow Maryland’s example.
“They keep saying there needs to be a seamless relationship between higher education and K-12, but nobody seems to be making it seamless,” she said. “But we are.”