Q&A with Editorial Advisory Board Member Charlotte Danielson

July 2017

Meet The Line Editorial Advisory Board

Charlotte Danielson - The Line Editorial Advisory board

Get to Know:
Charlotte Danielson,
Founder, The Danielson Group

Get to know Charlotte Danielson - The Line Editorial Advisory board

The Line is proud to have an exceptionally talented group of education leaders serve as advisors to the publication. We have brought together 19 editorial advisory board members – some of the brightest superintendents from across the country, experts in leadership, management and education policy, think-tank scholars and non-profit and former union leaders – all educators at heart. Each brings a unique voice to The Line, shaped by personal and professional experience, expertise, ideological leanings and passion. But all are united in their dedication to finding common ground that advances the future of public education.

Our editorial team is eager to share some of who they are and what they believe with a Q&A series. Meet Charlotte Danielson, a former economist and internationally recognized expert in the area of teacher effectiveness and architect of the “Framework for Teaching,” the most widely used definition of teaching in the U.S.

The Line can play an important role in helping educators examine the underlying beliefs that shape their individual perspectives.

Q: What is it about The Line that compelled you to serve on the editorial advisory board?

A: I enjoy wrestling with difficult and important questions with smart people. This advisory board provides an opportunity for that. It seems that The Line is trying to focus educators’ attention on thorny topics, ones that don’t have simple or formulaic answers and it’s fun to be part of those discussions.

Q: How may we encourage conversation among education leaders and advocates of varying viewpoints and experiences about the most challenging K-12 issues at this moment?

A: The Line is playing an important role in encouraging continued conversation and expression of diverse opinions by raising an issue and inviting those with different perspectives on it to weigh in. But different perspectives are more than just differences of opinion; they reflect different beliefs about children and their learning and the challenges facing teachers and school leaders. The Line can play an important role in helping educators examine the underlying beliefs that help shape their individual perspectives.

I am always blown away by the commitment and professionalism of educators…

Q: How did you change gears from being an economist to focusing on education?

A: After graduate school, I worked for about five years as a junior economist in think tanks and policy organizations in London and Washington, D.C. In the District, I had the opportunity to be assigned to many projects shaping national economic policy. It was this experience that caused me to shift focus to education. While living in an inner-city neighborhood in the District, I became interested in how the children on my block were learning. At the time, the Washington, D.C. Public Schools were going through a change in governance to local, community-controlled schools. This change allowed opportunities for neighborhood residents to become involved.

I became active in the local school and decided I was more interested in teaching than in continuing as an economist; therefore, I enrolled in the courses I needed for my teaching credential through District of Columbia Teachers College. After receiving my teaching license, I taught in my local elementary school.

Later, I moved into curriculum work, staff development and training for teacher observation and assessment for Praxis III (at ETS) and the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards.

Q: How did these last experiences shape your current vision of teacher evaluation?

A: I – and others – discovered through those efforts that even high-stakes assessment of teaching practice can have enormous professional benefits for those taking part. It has been widely reported that teachers who undertake the rigorous assessments for the National Board – even when they’re not successful in achieving certification – benefit from the process through self-assessment and reflection on practice. Similarly, those involved with Praxis III – an observation of a teacher’s practice during the first year of teaching – reported great value in the process.

What these approaches had in common were clear standards of practice. Although designed for very different purposes with very different candidates, the benefits received by the candidates were similar. They became more thoughtful about their practice, and developed the skills to analyze their own teaching and engage in self-directed professional inquiry.

From these experiences, I became convinced that clear standards of practice were essential to advancing the profession; hence, I wrote the “Framework for Teaching.”

Q: What is your greatest worry about K-12 education right now?

A: I’m concerned about what seems to be a systematic effort by the new administration to undermine public education through various privatizing efforts (vouchers, etc.). Our democracy, as Jefferson pointed out several centuries ago, depends on an educated citizenry. He believed our best tool to achieving that is a robust system of public education, committed to excellence for all students.

Q: What makes you hopeful about the future?

A: I am always blown away by the commitment and professionalism of educators; they continue to search for ways to harness the natural energy all children have for learning.

On Civil Discourse

The Line’s purpose is to offer new ideas and insight and encourage civil discourse on the most significant K-12 issues we face.

E editor@thelinek12.com

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