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Panel of distinguished educators to discuss ‘Future of Public Education’

Barry McNamara
MONMOUTH, Ill. – The future of public education will be discussed at an Oct. 4 forum at Monmouth College.

Co-sponsored by the Monmouth Area Branch of the American Association of University Women and the College’s Department of Education Studies, the program will feature four area distinguished educators.

Free and open to the public, the panel discussion will be held at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 4, in Room 273 in the College’s Center for Science and Business, 720 E. Broadway.

The panelists represent four area of education: Central Intermediate School Principal Becky Ince; Monmouth Assistant Professor of Educational Studies Tammy La Prad; Denise Mann, a longtime math and science teacher at Central Intermediate School; and Regional Superintendent of Schools Jodi Scott.

“Whether or not you have children or grandchildren in the public schools, giving our students the best possible education is a high priority for all citizens,” said Monmouth Assistant Professor of Educational Studies Michelle Holschuh Simmons, who will moderate the panel.

Among the topics to be addressed will be school funding, testing and its impact on curriculum, STEM education, the implementation of Title IX and the Common Core standards.

“I think one of the strongest things we can do is look at our identity as kind of a P-16 (pre-K to senior year of college) educational system and think about the ways we might need to redefine or re-look at our current identity and how that’s going to help students and our communities provide education for folks in the future,” said La Prad.

La Prad said she also hopes the evening leads to more discussion about an important issue.

“(It’s important) to have the community and institutes of higher learning, as well as our K-12 partners, gather together and have a dialogue about what’s happening in education today,” said La Prad. “I’m hoping that people will leave feeling that they’re more a part of an inclusive education community and have an opportunity to ask some questions of the leaders of that community.”

Simmons said she also hopes the evening strengthens town-gown relationship between the city and the College.

“I’d like to exemplify to our larger community the strong connection that Monmouth College has to the Monmouth community,” said Simmons. “It’s such a symbiotic relationship. We benefit from so many of our community partners.”

During the discussion, La Prad hopes to address the community’s changing demographics, as well as the cost of education and what can be done to help bridge the gap between the senior year of high school and the first year of college or entering the work force.

Addressing that issue of a “seamless education,” La Prad added, “It really needs to be thought of as, ‘What kinds of opportunities and experiences do our young people need to move into that next facet of their lives?’”

More information about the event is available from Simmons ( or Lila Blum (