Office of the Vice President for Global Communications

Thursday, September 20, 2012

School of Education dean part of NBC's Education Nation Summit

Deborah Loewenberg Ball, dean of the School of Education, will be interviewed Sunday on MSNBC as part of the NBC network’s Education Nation Summit.

  Deborah Loewenberg Ball

Ball will be interviewed by NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams about the changing landscape of teacher evaluation, as part of a two-hour “Teacher Town Hall.” The program will be broadcast live from noon to 2 p.m., and Ball is scheduled to appear in the first half-hour.

Education Nation is NBC News’ initiative to engage the country in a solutions-focused conversation about the state of education in America. The three-day event — which draws more than 300 of the country’s thought leaders in education, government, business, philanthropy and media — takes place Sunday-Tuesday at the New York Public Library.

Those attending include presidential candidate Mitt Romney and actors Maggie Gyllenhaal and Viola Davis, stars of the new movie "Won't Back Down." The film focuses on parent-trigger laws, which allow parents in a few states to petition to have staff at an underperforming public school let go, the curriculum overhauled and, in some cases, the school turned into a charter.

The summit will be streamed live on and portions will be broadcast on the television and cable networks of NBC News.  

In addition to her role as dean, Ball is director of TeachingWorks, a national organization housed at the School of Education that is dedicated to improving teacher education in the United States. She taught elementary school for more than 15 years, and continues to teach mathematics to elementary students every summer.

Ball, the William H. Payne Collegiate Professor of Education and an Arthur F. Thurnau Professor, is an expert on teacher training and development. The perspective that underlies her work is that good teaching can powerfully affect young people’s futures. Unlike those who say we in this country must find talented teachers, Ball argues that the focus needs to be on building the capacity for widespread good teaching.

Her perspective is that skillful teaching is not common sense, and that it can — and must –– be taught. Her research focuses on how professional training, experience, and formative assessments combine to equip beginning teachers with the skills and knowledge needed to help every student succeed.

Ball has served on several national and international commissions and panels focused on policy initiatives and the improvement of education. Most recently, she was appointed by Governor Rick Snyder to chair the Michigan Council for Educator Effectiveness, a group charged with designing Michigan’s system of educator evaluation.