Dr. Katharine Strunk Speaks About Collective Bargaining at AEI Conference

September 19, 2013
Katharine Strunk

Dr. Katharine Strunk

Katharine Strunk recently spoke at a conference titled, Teacher quality 2.0: Will today’s reforms hold back tomorrow’s schools? hosted by the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research. Strunk spoke on a panel titled, “Panel II: Preparation, professionalism, and contracts 2.0” with fellow panelists Segun Eubanks from the National Education Association, Billie Gastic from the Relay Graduate School of Education, Jal Mehta from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and Daniel Weisberg from TNTP.

Event Summary:

Teacher quality has long been a priority for education reformers, and new school models — including virtual schools and digital advances — are emerging that change the traditional role of the teacher. At a three-panel AEI conference, authors and discussants talked about the current reform agenda and how it might impede school transformation.

Bryan Hassel of Public Impact kicked off the discussion, exploring how several schools were rethinking and restructuring their operating models. For example, he referenced Rocketship Education’s unique staffing models and its success as the top public-school system in California for low-income elementary-school students.

Billie Gastic of Relay Graduate School of Education then explained next-generation preparation programs that offer targeted teacher preparation based on a teacher’s working environment. University of Southern California’s Katharine Strunk presented her research on the limitations of current collective bargaining agreements to allow for reform, highlighting existing flexibility that has not yet been tapped.

Panelists emphasized that research must anticipate change as well. Harvard University’s Tom Kane reminded the audience that while studying teacher quality in different contexts is important, doing so will take time. Ultimately, policymakers and researchers must contend with whether teacher quality differs across settings, and if it does, whether it should. Overall, panelists concluded that reformers should start planning for the next generation of teachers, schools, and students — in other words, for “teacher quality 2.0.”

Education Week reporter Rick Hess mentioned Strunk in an article published before the conference titled, “Teacher Quality 2.0”  before the event. He noted that Strunk was part of a stellar lineup of thinkers asking key questions about what new models of teacher evaluation mean for staffing and what that will mean for research and practice.