Public Schools: Talking Across the Divide. Becky Pringle and Gisele Huff

Common Ground Committee Let's Find Common Ground Episode 113

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Public Schools: Talking Across the Divide. Becky Pringle and Gisele Huff

Almost everyone has an opinion about public education, especially in the years since the COVID pandemic when the physical closure of schools and online schooling became highly controversial.

The vast majority of American students attend public school, but the numbers are falling, partially because of growing financial support for school choice and the changing views of parents. According to a Gallup poll last year, nearly two thirds of Americans were dissatisfied with the quality of education students receive in kindergarten through 12th grade.

In this podcast episode, we bring together two respected education leaders with different views about public schooling. Becky Pringle was a middle school science teacher for three decades and is now President of the NEA – The National Education Association, the nation’s largest teacher’s union. Gisele Huff is a philanthropist, expert on education reform, and a longtime supporter of school choice and charter schools.

Becky Pringle

Common Ground Committee Let's Find Common Ground Becky PringleNational Education Association president Becky Pringle is a campaigner for social justice, defender of educator rights, an advocate for all students and communities of color, and a valued voice in the education arena. A middle school science teacher with 31 years of classroom experience, Becky is focused on using her intellect and , to unite the members of the largest labor union with the entire nation and using that collective power to transform public education into a racially and socially just and equitable system that is designed to prepare every student to succeed in a diverse and interdependent world.

Becky’s passion for students and educators, combined with her first-hand classroom experience, equip her to lead the movement to reclaim public education as a common good.

Before assuming NEA’s top post, Becky served as NEA vice president and before that as NEA secretary-treasurer. She directed NEA’s work to combat institutional racism, and spotlight systemic patterns of racism and educational injustice that impact students. Becky is an advocate for students who have disabilities, identify as LGBTQ+, are immigrants, or are English Language Learners.

Those who know Becky best know that she is also a passionate Philadelphia Eagles fan who loves anything purple, and for two special someones who hold the coveted title of “Best Nana B” in the world.

Gisèle Huff

Common Ground Committee Let's Find Common Ground Gisele HuffDr. Gisèle Huff is president of the Gerald Huff Fund for Humanity. The loss of her son Gerald to pancreatic cancer in 2018 spurred Dr. Huff to apply her talents and energy to a cause they both shared – concern about technological unemployment, the growing economic divide and the potential of UBI to help address these challenges on a broad scale. Dr. Huff served as San Francisco University High School’s director of development for twelve years, and the Executive Director for the Jaquelin Hume Foundation for over twenty years where her return on investment for launching blended learning has been widely praised.

During her tenure funding initiatives and raising awareness for education reform, she has held numerous board positions, including founding member and chairman of the Board of Directors of The Learning Accelerator and the Clayton Christensen Institute for Disruptive Innovation, member of the Board of Directors of iNACOL and the Advisory Board of Education Reimagined. She currently serves on the board of Income Movement.

Her substantial policy proficiency includes the Advisory Board for Harvard University’s Program on Education Policy, the advisory committee for the National Charter School Research Project at the Center on Reinventing Public Education, and the Executive Committee of the Digital Learning Council. She is the recipient of the Thomas A. Roe Award and the iNACOL Huff Lifetime Achievement Award. She earned a Ph.D. in political science, with a concentration in political philosophy, at Columbia University.