The Minneapolis School Board Chair Joseph Erickson has been chosen to serve on a panel called the 100 District Leaders for Citizenship and Service-Learning Network.
The National Center for Learning and Citizenship established the panel this year to “deepen support for citizenship education and service-learning,” according to a statement by the group.
Erickson is one of 44 school officials chosen for the panel from a national pool of candidates. The group is comprised mostly of superintendents and School Board members from schools that exhibited “high quality citizenship education.”
Service-learning is an activity that promotes learning through volunteerism. The select panel will foster community activism and be charged with promoting awareness through education articles, workshops and policy forums.
“If we train K-12 teachers using service-learning, then teach them how to do service-learning with K-12 kids, then we will more successfully affect the quality of civic engagement of both teachers and K-12 learners,” Erickson said.
In addition to his involvement in Minneapolis Public Schools (MPS), Erickson is an education professor at Augsburg College and also has a private psychology practice. He first incorporated service-learning into his coursework in 1991.
Erickson has - and still does - serve on service-learning boards throughout the country. He's also written widely on the subject and co-edited a book on the subject. “Learning for life is surely more than just literacy and numeracy. It includes a whole host of civic values we need to pass on to the next generation,” Erickson said, summing up his philosophy.
He said he hopes to initiate a service-learning project in MPS that would involve training teachers, developing literature and establishing a service-learning advisory committee to shape service-learning policy within the district, similar to a program in St. Paul schools.
“In the face of increasing pressure to raise test scores, school leaders often lose sight of the importance of preparing our children to be contributing citizens to their own communities and to our greater democracy,” said Anne L. Bryant, executive director for the National School Boards Association in a statement about the group. “This new network [panel] is a wonderful step to renew our commitment to the founding principal of public education.”
Representatives from the State's Education Commission, the National School Boards Association and the American Association of School Administrators judged the panel candidates. Representatives for the 56 remaining panel spots will be announced in the fall.
For more information about the panel, visit www.ecs.org/nclc.