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Global Look at Student Learning

CTA hosts education summit that examines equity as well as excellence
Summit participants visited UCLA Community School, a teacher-led and collaborative environment for student learning.

By Becky Zoglman

Nine different countries. More than 60 educators from across the world.

CTA and the California Department of Education (CDE) in September hosted the third Atlantic Rim Collaboratory (ARC) summit in Los Angeles to advance equity, excellence, well-being, inclusion, democracy and human rights for all students.

“We wanted to bring together systems in education that believe passionately in equity, inclusion, human rights and democracy because we felt that that message was not strong enough around the world, and we needed to get together to share what was happening,” says ARC Facilitator Steve Munby of the Centre for British Teachers Education Trust. “No system does everything right, but we can learn together to improve all of our systems to make them better for the children of the world.”

“ No system does everything right, but we can learn together to improve all of our systems to make them better for the children of the world.” — Steve Munby, Centre for British Teachers Education Trust and ARC summit facilitator

Started by education research professor and author Andy Hargreaves, the summit included teams of educators from each country. Each team was required to include the head of the country’s education system and the leader of the education union because ARC is grounded in the belief that sustained education change comes only when all stakeholders are involved. Attending this year’s summit were Iceland, Ireland, Nova Scotia, Scotland, Finland, Canada, Sweden and Wales. Oregon and Washington joined California this year in representing the United States.

CTA President Eric Heins (third from right) stands with members of Sindicato Nacional de Trabajadores de la Educacion, the Mexican educators union. SNTE participated in the ARC summit for the first time this year and the collaboration with CTA will continue.

“It’s important for California to be part of this larger, global group, not only because we’re a large system, but also because we have been going through a lot of changes as we are transitioning from a system of test and punish under No Child Left Behind to a system of continuous improvement and lifting equity up to the same level as performance,” said CTA President Eric Heins. “It’s important that we are part of a global partnership that together can push back and make a real difference for the students of California and across the world.”

ARC builds on current strengths and strategies of the various educational systems, with the intent to improve them over time through deliberately designed processes. The goal is to seek out and disseminate current best practices.

Julian Peeples - ARC_TMontano
CTA Vice President Theresa Montaño spoke about the importance of global education.

Several international education experts, including Sir Ken Robinson of England, Pedro Noguera of UCLA, Pasi Sahlberg of Finland and Amanda Datnow of UC San Diego, led the education leaders in discussions around equity, using data to inform instruction, and returning to the importance of play in social learning.

At one point, Noguera said to the group, “How do successful schools and educators motivate kids? We motivate them with hope. We don’t motivate them with fear.” Datnow talked about how research and data must be utilized. “Data must be used to refine and differentiate student learning, not get the most bang for the buck on standardized assessments,” Datnow said.

To hear more from these educators, click here.

CTA Vice President Theresa Montano emphasized the importance of global education, particularly when it comes to language. “No longer can we focus on eradicating a student’s primary language,” she said. “The only way to embrace immigrant students is to embrace who they are.”


It was the first year educators from the Sindicato Nacional de Trabajadores de la Educación union in Mexico participated in the summit. CTA and SNTE explored ways to collaborate and serve children who live and attend schools on both sides of the border.

CTA thanks the S.D. Bechtel Jr Foundation, Stuart Foundation, Community Foundation, NEA and the NEA Member Benefits for their generous support in sponsoring the event.

The California Way

CTA and the California Department of Education held a pre-summit gathering focusing on education The California Way. California educators shared their experiences in collaboration through the Labor-Management Initiative; teacher-led professional development through CTA’s Instructional Leadership Corps; and strength-based change through the CTA Institute for Teaching. GetLit Poetry students provided entertainment to the delegates and the summit ended with visits to local schools in Los Angeles, Lennox and La Mirada.

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