The December 1, 2015 meeting of Phi Delta Kappa featured a focused, brief, and absorbing address by Dr. Ann Levett, Chief Academic Officer for Savannah Chatham County Public Schools. The theme for the meeting was “Trends and Initiatives In Education”. Positive and negative effects of the currently prevailing processes and factors influencing the status of education were clearly and briefly presented. Much of the broad range of trends and initiatives were centered around 24/7 learning, the social media, societal influences, teacher shortage and preparedness, the needs of exceptional children, and curriculum changes.
In addition to school standards and procedures, other key issues were presented affecting education. Among the societal and social media influences, Dr. Levett cited changes in the family and the role of parents as significantly impacting the expanding role of education. The view was presented that effective education involves three components: the school, parents, and the community. Schools are assuming more and more of the responsibilities formerly attributed to parents and community. The more serious concerns relate to role identification, role assignment, and basic social skill development of children. Teacher shortage and retention were identified as factors negatively impacting education. Locally, the high degree of mobility by the population was cited with that reality being outside the scope of management. While calling attention and praising the opportunities in education 24/7, Dr. Levett expressed the need for caution and the need to investigate accreditation in selecting institutions and programs.
The command of issues related to curriculum, standards, and regulations with broad insights into laws, processes, and outcomes are predictably connected to the academic preparation and broad experience of Dr. Levett. In Savannah, she is a former Principal of Savannah High School. Her experience in public schools spans 20 years prior to moving to higher education. She is a reviewer for educational publications with research interest in several areas and publications of her own.