ASU's Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College proposes new education solutions, including a team approach to staffing and design labs that work directly with districts
It’s a bold thing for an education dean of a major university to admit: The education system doesn’t work well enough for enough people and communities, and colleges of education have to change in order to be part of the solution.
Colleges must respond more urgently and creatively to the fact that the teacher shortage is at crisis levels, and the pipeline is thinning.
If the education system is to succeed in preparing learners for the challenges of the 21st century, the workforce needs a total redesign, said Carole G. Basile, dean of Arizona State University’s Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College. The one-teacher-to-one-classroom model must change. Experts are looking at a team approach — much like the new integrated health-care model in which a patient is seen by a team of specialists at once.
“We know that we’ve got a problem with teachers. We can sit here and wring our hands about the teacher shortage,” Basile said. “We can wring our hands that enrollment is down in our teacher programs, but the fact is, we have to do something about it.”
Basile said it’s not just about low pay, overcrowded classrooms, a steady decline in students pursuing education degrees and unreasonable demands placed on teachers these days — it’s really a workforce design problem.
“If we’re not getting the education workforce we need, we need to redesign the profession, the workplace and how we prepare people for both,” Basile said.
“Education by Design: Innovation With Purpose in Schools and Systems” aims to do just that. Hosted by Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College, the Feb. 6 presentation at the Phoenix Art Museum provided an opportunity to share the college's vision of what a new education workforce should look like. That vision was shared with approximately 200 constituents, showcasing strategic initiatives and what they look like in action through education design stations, use-inspired research and contextual models such as the ASU Preparatory Academy and the Gary K. Herberger Young Scholars Academy at the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College.
The audience was mostly composed of community members, education and business leaders, teachers, emeritus faculty, ASU alumni and donors, as well as ASU President Michael M. Crow. Together they toured interactive workstations, demonstrations and displays, speaking with experts and getting a glimpse of education's future.
Basile said improving education requires collaboration among individuals and institutions, and addresses four of the most pressing challenges educators face today:
• How to develop and deploy 21st-century educators
• How to work with schools and communities to tackle a wide range of challenges
• How to prototype effective systems
• How to connect ASU’s research to schools and other places where teaching and learning happen
“This is the work of all concerned with improving education for the greatest possible number of learners,” Basile said. “Schools, universities, business organizations, community organizations, parents. All of us.”