As the American Association for Teaching and Curriculum moves into its 26th year, there could never be a more crucial time for the education community – professors, administrators, teachers, students, and parents – to engage in bold and brave conversations about the current state of American curriculum, instruction, and education generally.
These dialogues are vital as we continue to see challenge after challenge in education. State budgets continue to constrain desperately needed resources for struggling districts. Across the states, the phenomenon of accountability creep is creating untenable contexts for teachers and administrators, thereby weakening their abilities to focus on the collective and unique needs of students and families. The wave of privatization and ineffective neo-liberal policies has yet to ebb. Technology has shown great promise in many schools; yet there continues to be misunderstanding of wise practices with respect to using technology to foster active learning and a persistent digital divide between wealthier districts and economically vulnerable districts.
Many schools continue to struggle with ineffective disciplinary policies. Even though some schools and districts are looking at restorative justice and other progressive disciplinary strategies, the majority of schools and districts are still mired in ineffective actions, thus continuing inequitable policies for African American, Indigenous, and Latino students. All the while, teacher education itself continues to be under threat.
The current landscape is challenging, indeed, but the challenges around school safety, racism, homophobia and transphobia, and providing safe and empowering learning spaces for culturally and linguistically diverse and undocumented students must remind us of the moral and ethical underpinnings of our profession. These are not all the challenges facing education, but they are capturing the nation’s conscience. It is essential for us to both reflect on how to use these challenges to inform the creation of empowering, stimulating curriculum for all students as well as how to ameliorate difficulties in order to create an educational system that truly helps all students learn and thrive.
In addition to dialogue, it is incumbent upon educators to also theorize and execute solutions to these challenges. The American Association for Teaching and Curriculum is dedicated to that cause. Our organization is largely made up of professors and graduate students from departments of curriculum and instruction, teacher education, and elementary, middle, and secondary education. We also encourage professionals and graduate students from all areas of education who are interested in critically considering issues that shape curriculum and instruction. What our organization is most proud of is our commitment to sharing ideas, creating and disseminating high-quality research, and developing a warm and engaging community. With those basic values in mind we welcome anyone who is interested, and there are many ways to become involved.
On this website you will find information ranging from the history of our organization, awards we offer, information about our annual meeting held in October, and our journal, Curriculum and Teaching Dialogue. In addition to links to find out more about the organization and how to become a member, you can also sign up for our listserv (under the membership tab) and follow us on Twitter and Facebook. Please feel free to reach out to any of the AATC officers or me for more information. We wish you the best this year and hope you can join us for our annual meeting, October 3-5, 2019, in Birmingham, Alabama!
Joseph Flynn, PhD
Associate Director for Academic Affairs,Center for Black Studies
Associate Professor, Curriculum and Instruction
Northern Illinois University