Thursday, December 06, 2012

Thursday - Ray McNulty on the Courage to Change Education

Join me today, Thursday, December 6th, for a live discussion with Ray McNulty, Chief Learning Officer at Penn Foster College and a Senior Fellow to the International Center for Leadership in Education, having previously served as President. Prior to joining the International Center, he was a senior fellow at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, where he worked with leading educators on improving our nation's high schools. Ray is a past president of the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD) and author of It’s Not Us Against Them — Creating the Schools We Need, published in 2009.

Ray believes we need to change our mindset when thinking about transforming our schools, and we need to be willing to "thrive on the unknown, appreciate ambiguity, and relish being different," to be willing to implement "yet-to-be-proven ideas," and to "focus on being different first and then on being better"--all of which take courage and an ability to learn as you move forward. Given that some of these traits lie at the heart of criticisms I'm inclined to make about the non-connectivist MOOC movement and many of the VC-funded ed tech ventures, I can't wait to discuss this with Ray!

On the other hand, Ray (through Penn Foster), made a contribution to my tour, and has written in his book:  "I believe you absolutely cannot even hope to succeed in transforming education if you do not embrace the idea that, at its core, education is about people and how they relate to one another" (p. 20). So I'm expecting a nuanced, thoughtful, and rewarding discussion with someone who cares deeply about education and has thought a lot about it.

Date: Thursday, December 6th, 2012
Time: 5pm Pacific / 8pm Eastern (international times here)
Duration: 1 hour
Location: In Blackboard Collaborate (formerly Elluminate). Log in at The Blackboard Collaborate room will be open up to 30 minutes before the event if you want to come in early. To make sure that your computer is configured for Blackboard Collaborate, please visit the support and configuration page.
Recording:  A full Blackboard Collaborate recording is at and an audio mp3 recording is at

Raymond J. McNulty.  An educator since 1973, Ray has been a teacher, vice principal, principal, and superintendent. From 2001-03, he served as Vermont's education commissioner. During his tenure, Ray focused on aligning the Department of Education's work on three key issues: early education, educator quality, and secondary school reform.

Ray is a presenter at the state, national, and international levels on the need for school systems to accept the challenges that lie ahead. He is committed to raising performance standards for both teachers and students and to building solid connections between schools and their communities. Ray believes strongly that education systems cannot wait for the children and challenges to arrive at school; rather, schools need to reach out and help forge solutions.

Penn Foster College was founded in 1890 with a distance-learning method to help working adults "with ambition" to learn advanced skills, initially coal miners who wanted to be come superintendents and foremen. Having served 13 million students since then, the college currently enrolls 150,000 students a year with undergraduate degrees in business, technology, health, education, and social services.

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