The U.S. Department of Education and the Close Up Foundation announced today a series of discussions that will be held between senior Department officials and teachers participating in Close Up Washington D.C., a nonprofit organization that helps young people become active and engaged citizens. The discussion series will be held at the Department's D.C. headquarters between January and May, focusing on education reform ideas for meeting 21st Century classroom challenges.
In each of the nine scheduled programs, 50-100 classroom teachers will participate in a two-hour discussion designed to provide Department officials with ideas and feedback from a broad cross section of teachers on key federal education policy issues. Coordinating each session will be the Department's Teaching Ambassador Fellows, who regularly host conversations with teachers in the field and in D.C.
"Whenever we visit a school or sit down with a group of teachers, my team and I come away with valuable insights from those on the front lines of our education system," said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. "As we work to make schools more accountable for preparing college- and career-ready students, we will continue to need input from teachers on how to track, share and promote success."
Since 1971, more than 700,000 students and teachers from across the country have participated in civic education programs and used classroom resources developed by Close Up. Teachers participating in Close Up represent public, charter, and private high schools and middle schools around the nation. The organization coordinates student trips to D.C. to participate in weeklong citizenship education programs. The Close Up teacher program provides educators with innovative opportunities for academic and professional development that encourages a continued interest in citizenship education and the democratic process.
"Close Up teachers will practice what they preach to their students: that citizen engagement is necessary to the good decision-making and the perpetuation of our democracy," said Timothy S. Davis, President and CEO of the Close Up Foundation. "Our teachers represent a cross section of the country and reflect the best of the profession in America. They are informed, engaged and interested professionals who will provide the Department with valuable information and ideas."