NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - The politics of education will be dominant in the life of a Stephen F. Austin State University education professor during the next year.
Dr. Karen Embry Jenlink is now the president of the Association of Teacher Educators. East Texas News spoke to her Tuesday about the goals and challenges facing today's educators.
EmbryJenlink, who is also a professor of doctoral studies at SFA, is about to lead a professional organization whose members represent more than 700 colleges and universities, 500 major school systems, and a majority of state departments of education. The SFA professor believes it's educators' fundamental responsibility to sustain our democracy.
"And for those of us that are involved in preparing teachers, we have to prepare teachers and educational leaders who will be able to prepare those future citizens," Embry Jenlick said.
The question is could Secretary of Education Betsy Devos' push to privatize public education block the public educators' goals?
"The idea of private school choice and vouchers and the privatization and also the corporatization of education, more for profit models, seems to diminish the role of education and democracy and heighten the role of education as a commodity," Embry Jenlick said "And we are very concerned about that."
The author of a widely used book on teacher preparation says another concern she'll face is standards initiatives.
"Texas is a state that doesn't utilize the Common Core," Embry Jenlick said. "We have our own state standards, but there is a lot of push back in that. I think also our standards are going to evolve."
Embry Jenlink says she's unaware of the newly appointed Secretary of Education reaching out to ATE, but if and when it happens, the organization will welcome the dialogue, adding debate is at the core of democracy.
Another SFA professor has received a worthy honor as well.
Dr. Le'Ann Solmonson, a professor in the counselor education program, has been named the American Association of University Women's Woman of the Year for higher education. Solmonson is active in her profession at the state level and is a former president of the Texas Counseling Association. She currently serves as the president-elect for the Texas Counselors for Social Justice.