Rhode Island Education Commissioner In Search of the Best Education Practices of Saudi Arabia, Syria, and Sudan

Rhode Island Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education Peter McWalters is the keynote speaker at an international education conference being held in the United Arab Emirates this week…

The first-of-its-kind School Reform conference being organised by The College of Education at the United Arab Emirates University in cooperation with Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Award for Distinguished Academic Performance was opened today (Tuesday, April 17, 2007) by H.H. Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahayan, Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research, and Chancellor of UAE University, at the Madinat Jumeirah in Dubai.
The three-day conference, concluding on April 19, will host workshops and discussions featuring 50 case studies (25 in Arabic and 25 in English) of prominent international scholars and researchers in the field of school reform…
Some of the eminent speakers at the School Reform conference include Peter McWalters, Commissioner, Rhode Island Department of Education, USA; Kati Haycok, Director, Education Trust, State of California, USA; Professor Wayne Edwards from Massey University, New Zealand; Professor Dorothy Harnish from University of Georgia, USA; and Dr. Kristiina Erkkila, Director of Development for the City of Espoo, Finland.
According to the conference program, sessions that Commissioner McWalters will be able to attend include “Comprehensive Administrative School Reform in the Arab World” presented by a speaker from Saudi Arabia, a “Vision for Teachers Preparation and Qualification” presented by a speaker from Syria, and a session on the role of Special Education Programs in School Reform in the Sudan.
If, however, the Commissioner believes Rhode Island has something to learn from educational programs sanctioned by Middle Eastern dictatorships, shouldn’t he also be willing to take at least a cursory look at the education reform experiences of some places closer to home, like Utah and San Francisco, that are trying different versions of de-centralized school reform?

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17 years ago

The Dusit Dubai Hotel is a luxury 5 star hotel in the UAE. Someone PLEASE tell me that McWalters isn’t staying at the hotel on the RI taxpayers’ dime.
With all the budget problems RI is facing, it seems like a far more cost-effective way of improving RI’s education system would be for McWalters to travel to one of the many states that score higher than RI and ask them what they’re doing right.
Anyone for a trip to Omaha?

17 years ago

How’d he end up being a speaker on “school reform”? Have we reformed anything here yet?
I just visited their website. They make the Westin look like a Walmart. Hopefully, he was able to get some kind of discount off the $550 a night advertised rate.
If we are paying for it, I certainly think we have a big issue to roll with … along with a pretty big bill.
By the way, what’s the point of his trip again? Why can’t people in these positions just stick around and do their jobs? I’m at a loss how chopping off hands, public beheadings, and stoning women with loose morals will help improve Rhode Island’s educational system. 😉
BTW “Comprehensive Administrative School Reform in the Arab World” … got to love that title. Perhaps they could start by letting women go to schools or read books?

16 years ago

[quote] Perhaps they could start by letting women go to schools or read books? [/quote]
Actually – women represent about 80 percent of students in the UAE. Women reading books is not the problem — at least not in the UAE.

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