Education symposium to feature former California secretary of education Glen Thomas
Responding to debt, layoffs and other challenges in the education system, this week’s “The State of Education” symposium will feature keynote speaker former California secretary of education Glen Thomas.
Sponsored by Biola’s School of Education, the event will take place Thursday, April 7, at 7 p.m. in Mayers Auditorium and will offer chapel credit to students in attendance.
“‘The State of Education’ symposium will bring to campus some of those who are on the front lines, shining the light and hope of Jesus brightly,” said David Costillo, recruiting and community relations coordinator for the School of Education.
Panelists qualified and diverse
In addition to Biola alumnus Thomas, who worked under former governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, panel speakers at the symposium will include Al Mijares, Biola board member and vice president of the western region of College Board; Ruth Perez, superintendent of the Norwalk-La Mirada School District; and Joe Gillentine, superintendent of East Whittier City School District. A question and answer session with the panel will follow the keynote address and a panel discussion.
Panel to address ethics in education
The panel will discuss education legislation, the economic climate and the role of Christians in promoting ethical practices in the public arena.
“As believers in Jesus, it's crucial that in whatever field he calls us to, we lead with service, humility and wisdom,” Costillo said. “In today's world of education, it sometimes feels like an uphill battle. Teachers deal daily with issues of morality, budget cuts and politics in the classroom, while more and more seems to be heaped onto their plates. Add to this that the financial situation in the state of California is in dire need of overhaul, educators face a tough road ahead. Yet there is hope.”
Discussion to touch on reality of job market
Costillo also said he expects the symposium to discuss the job market and to encourage those entering the world of jobs.
“Given the general job environment, as well as the job environment in the field of education, education/liberal studies students are concerned about the job market, where many layoffs have been happening,” Costillo said. “For some, the possibility of getting hired seems futile, though many Biola graduates are indeed finding jobs in both the private and public education sectors.”
Students look forward to event
Senior Jillian Metz, a liberal studies elementary education major planning on attending the symposium, said it’s important to know what she’s going into as a professional and to see the logistics of becoming a teacher.
“At Biola, we are trained to become great teachers, and by having this symposium, we are exposed to some of the information that we don't really know,” said Metz, who will graduate in May. “The kind of behind the scenes aspects of the California education system that we would only get to learn about once we're in it. So it's great getting to be a little ahead of the game.”
Costillo said he believes that bringing Thomas back to Biola will help in the discussion of and reaction to issues current and future educators like Metz will have to deal with.
“As a Biola alumnus who has been in the field of education for over 30 years, Dr. Glen Thomas has a unique perspective on the situation California's teachers are facing,” Costillo said.
Thomas to bring Biola's mission statement home
In his keynote speech, Thomas will address the current realities and challenges within the education system, as well as strategies for improvement and what is good in the state of California educationally.
The symposium will also aim to continue to fulfill the mission of the School of Education: “To equip Christian educators to impact public, private, mission and home schools through biblically centered education, scholarship and service.”