A.G. Rud

Education Nation,” the NBC/MSNBC summit under way in New York, provides an excellent topic for my first blog post as WSU College of Education dean.

In fact, because the National Education Policy Center has invited me and two colleagues to blog about the summit, I’m taking the liberty of sharing my thoughts with you that were just posted on the center’s website:

I live far from New York City, and though I can view the Education Nation broadcasts this week, I cannot witness the transformation of Rockefeller Plaza into a “Learning Plaza.” It will be “an interactive experience that will explore some of the most innovative aspects of American education.”

From the pictures on the site the plaza does indeed look impressive, with curved posters and video monitors. The designers want visitors to be engaged in the information, and though I laud this effort, I wait cautiously to see if such does indeed happen. I am more intrigued by the “Teaching Garden” in the plaza, which will “explore the critical link between nutrition and learning.” This topic is pertinent to everyone, and the bodily aspects of learning are being explored increasingly in depth and interconnection in the neurosciences and in health and nutrition fields.

Nutrition and learning can also be a way of engaging participants in conversations about the social and cultural contexts of education. Poor nutrition and underperformance in school is also, obviously, linked to poverty. Let’s hope the visitors to the technically advanced displays in Rockefeller Plaza this week make that connection, as well as other links to the social contexts of learning in our schools.