(March 9 – NORMAN, OKLA.) In many ways, the state of the U.S. education system and how American students compare to their peers overseas often appears discouraging.

Stanford University professor Linda Darling-Hammond, whose career has been devoted to studying educational policy and implementing practical solutions, will address area educators on these issues at the 10th annual Brock Symposium on Excellence in Education, to be held April 8 at OU.

“The Future of Education and Teacher Preparation” is geared toward teachers, school administrators, curriculum coordinators, university professors and anyone interested in the field of education. Darling-Hammond will present her keynote address in the morning session, which will be followed by a panel discussion. After lunch, she will respond to participants’ questions.

Darling-Hammond has been at the forefront of national educational policy making for the last 20 years, including serving as the leader of then-President-elect Barack Obama’s educational policy transition team. From 1994 to 2001, she served as executive director of the National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future. In 2006, Education Week recognized her as one of the nation’s 10 most influential people within the education field over the past decade. She has been a professor at Stanford since 1998.

Trent Gabert, administrator of the Brock International Prize in Education, said Darling-Hammond’s insight will benefit those who attend the symposium.

“The state of Oklahoma is often criticized for low test scores and poor funding for our educational districts and programs,” Gabert said. “Thus, it is vitally important for educators in Oklahoma to hear Dr. Darling-Hammond talk about the future of education, expectations of teachers, improving professional preparation programs and to learn how school districts can impact education, improve our programs, enhance student achievement and the expertise of future educators.”

In addition to speaking at the symposium, Darling-Hammond will be recognized as this year’s recipient of the Brock International Prize in Education. The award is given annually to recognize an individual for innovative and effective ideas in education resulting in a significant impact on the practice or understanding of the field of education.

The recipient is chosen by a nine-member jury, which is comprised of public school officials, university officers, meritorious professors and government officials; all of whom are committed to excellence in education. Each member of the jury nominates one potential laureate. Then the jury meets on the OU campus to discuss the merits of each nominee and selects the laureate for the following year.

The Brock International Prize in Education is made possible by a gift from John A. and Donnie V. Brock of Tulsa. The Brock laureate receives a $40,000 cash award, certificate and bust of Sequoyah during the Brock Symposium for Excellence in Education. The symposium is hosted by Oklahoma State University, the University of Oklahoma and the University of Tulsa, and is administered by the OU College of Liberal Studies. The symposium seeks to shine a light on notable accomplishments in the field of education and then to use those accomplishments as a springboard for communicating educational excellence to practitioners, parents, researchers, administrators and political leaders.

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The College of Liberal Studies is a fully accredited academic unit of the University of Oklahoma, offering 100% online, hybrid and onsite bachelor's and master's degrees for working adults and non-traditional students.

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