John Merrow, national education expert and education correspondent for PBS’ “NewsHour with Jim Lehrer,” will be speaking at UTC on Tuesday, March 3, as a part of the 2009 George T. Hunter Lecture Series.
The series is sponsored by the Benwood Foundation in conjunction with UTC, the Ochs Center for Metropolitan Studies, and CreateHere.
Merrow’s lecture will be titled “Public Education during an Economic Crisis: Will Chattanooga Be Left Behind?” The lecture begins a 7 p.m. in the Roland Hayes Auditorium at the UTC Fine Arts Center. It is free and open to the public.
Merrow began his career as an education reporter with National Public Radio in 1974, when he created “Options in Education.” That weekly series received more than two dozen broadcasting awards, including the George Polk Award in 1982. His first television series, “Your Children, Our Children,” earned an Emmy nomination for Community Service in 1984.
In 2001, Merrow authored “Choosing Excellence: Good Enough Schools Are Not Good Enough,” an exploration of best practices and excellence in education.
Prior to his lecture, Merrow will be touring Hamilton County Schools. In addition, he will be participating in a roundtable discussion with local principals.
“John Merrow’s visit to Chattanooga is both timely and relevant,” said Corinne Allen, executive director of the Benwood Foundation. “The Benwood Initiative has demonstrated that smart investments in teacher quality can pay off with significant improvements in student performance. As our public schools face the threat of reduced funding, Mr. Merrow’s expertise will help to increase understanding and spark further dialogue in our community about the importance of public schools.”
“Who better than John Merrow to speak to our students and the larger community about the importance of education?” asked UTC Chancellor Roger Brown. “As an educator and journalist, he is a leading voice on how public education is critical to our nation’s future.”
Merrow is currently the education correspondent for the “NewsHour with Jim Lehrer” on PBS. Merrow began his career as an education reporter with National Public Radio in 1974, when he created “Options in Education.” That weekly series received more than two dozen broadcasting awards, including the George Polk Award in 1982.
His first television series, “Your Children, Our Children,” earned an Emmy nomination for Community Service in 1984.
From 1985 to 1990, he was education correspondent for the MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour.
In 1993 he created “The Merrow Report” for PBS, followed by the NPR series of the same name in 1997. In 2000 he returned to the NewsHour to provide reports on education.
Merrow has received two George Foster Peabody Awards (2000, 2006), the George Polk Award, several Hugo Awards from the Chicago International Film Festival, four CINE Golden Eagles, Emmy nominations (1984, 2005 and 2007), and more than a dozen reporting awards from the Education Writers Association.
A frequent contributor to the op-ed pages of many newspapers, including USA Today, The New York Times, The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times and Education Week, Merrow is the author of “Choosing Excellence” (Scarecrow, 2001) and co-editor of Declining by Degrees (Palgrave/Macmillan, 2005).
He earned an AB from Dartmouth College in 1964, an MA in American Studies from Indiana University in 1968, and a doctorate in Education and Social Policy from the Harvard Graduate School of Education in 1973.
In 2000, he received the James L. Fisher Award for Distinguished Service to Education from the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education, and in 2006 he received the HGSE Alumni Council Award for Outstanding Contributions to Education.
Merrow has been a teacher in junior high school, high school, college, graduate school, and federal prison. He is a Trustee of Teachers College, Columbia University, former
chair of the Alumni Council of the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and a director of the Education Writers Association and the Rural School and Community Trust.
He is president of Learning Matters, the non-profit organization he founded in 1995, and a visiting scholar at the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching at Stanford.
Merrow is the second speaker in the 2009 George T. Hunter Lecture Series. Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Doris Kearns Goodwin kicked off the series in January. The remaining speakers in the series are:
- Van Jones, September 15: Jones is the founder and president of Green For All, a nonprofit based in Oakland, Ca., dedicated to building an inclusive, green economy. Jones will be speaking on the power of new “green collar jobs” to address both social inequality and environmental destruction.
- David Brooks, November 17: Brooks is a columnist for The New York Times and author of two social commentaries including the best-seller Bobos in Paradise. Brooks will speak on community development.