I was honored by my colleagues to be inducted as the President of the National Academy of Education at a ceremony last Friday. My wonderful family was at my side as I accepted this honor – and though I don’t get to tell them often enough, they deserve great thanks for their abiding support.
It will be a great pleasure to work with my GW colleagues, NAEd members and leaders, and other friends in the broad education research and policy community as we continue to advance the cause of improved education and increased opportunity. A challenge, no doubt, but one that I feel privileged to take on.
President Knapp (and Diane Knapp), as well as Provost Lerman (and Lori Lerman), were kind enough to attend the ceremony, as were a number of our senior leadership faculty and staff. I’m grateful for President Knapp’s most generous introduction and welcome. GW Trustee Titulola Williams-Davies and former trustee Bob Perry also joined us, and it was again a joy to see their enthusiasm for what’s happening in GSEHD. And it was a special treat to have Undersecretary of Education Martha Kanter in our company. Let me add my very special thanks to members of the GSEHD National Council who were present: Laura Taddeucci Downs, Ericka Miller, Elizabeth Lodal, Kathy Manatt, Dorothy Moore, and Ed Vest continue to grace us with their wisdom and support. My heartfelt thanks to all.
Following a memorable and moving introduction by my dear friend and mentor, Carl Kaestle (whom many of you will remember of course from his masterful “master class” earlier this year), I offered some reflections about the Academy, the world of education research and policy, and my hopes for the future. As I contemplate this new role, I am glad to share a slightly edited version of my remarks from Friday’s induction ceremony.
October 29, 2013
[Abridged remarks from NAEd ceremony on October 25, 2013]
I have been thinking about the name of our organization. Although I was an English major I am not really a big fan of deconstruction; but it is interesting to think about the words in our name, especially in the current policy environment.
The word “national” evokes, for some people, and maybe for more people today than in previous times, an anxiety about the excesses of federal involvement in those sacred rights of states and localities and individuals to keep doing their own thing. It’s gotten to the point where one wonders, listening to the shrill rhetoric, if anyone was in class on the day when the principles of individual choice and social well-being were taught. What can we do to remind ourselves that education is essentially a “public good?”