By Lauren Santye
Congressman Rush Holt (D-NJ12) focused on the past and current status of education in the nation and N.J. on Wednesday night during his address as the keynote speaker for the 100th anniversary of Rider’s School of Education.
The event took place in the Cavalla Room, where Holt said, “the 100th anniversary is a huge milestone in Rider’s history and the work done at Rider is critically important.”
Holt, who is in the House of Representatives, is the first Democrat from his district to be elected in three decades.
He discussed how he is “saddened to hear that in N.J. And other parts of the country, people don’t value the hard work teachers put in.” He said that many citizens think that hiring good teachers and firing bad teachers is the way to conduct business and that these people also feel that the federal government should not take steps to prevent the loss of jobs.”
“Teachers should be treated as professionals, not a commodity,” Holt said. “After all, they have one of the hardest jobs in American. Teachers are the ones who are responsible for communicating life in all of its manifestations.”
Senior elementary education major and president of New Jersey’s Student Education Association (SNJEA) Sarah Sell introduced Holt and felt that his address was appropriately
“This was definitely a wonderful way to kick off the celebration of the 100 year anniversary,” she said. “The best part was seeing all the supporters here, from students to alumni to staff and all the students coming together to support each other.”
Dean of the School of Education Sharon Sherman addressed the audience at the beginning of the night.
“The School of Education continues to evolve and you are all a part of it,” she said.
Holt strongly believes that one of the single best investments we can make as a country is training teachers.
“The U.S. Department of Education projects said that by 2014 our nations’ schools will hire as many as 1 million new teachers,” Holt said.
Holt, who is very interested in science education, hopes that every student preparing to teach helps his or her student think like a scientist.
“This way, they are open to the idea that they can be wrong, and be prepared for the unexpected,” he said. “Through science you can learn to ask good questions,” he said.
Sophomore education major Carrie Lettire said she was glad she attended the event.
“Holt was very informative and gave me a taste for what the real world of a teacher is like in this century.”
Holt strongly believes in, and supports the No Child Left Behind Program, and added that making sure every child is able to effectively learn will provide the child with the “joy of unexpected knowledge.”