Paul Peterson to speak Thursday at Seminars at Steamboat | SteamboatToday.com

Paul Peterson to speak Thursday at Seminars at Steamboat

Scott Franz
Paul E. Peterson
seminars-PaulPeterson_6-3

If you go

What: Seminars at Steamboat: Paul Peterson presents “Saving the American School”

When: 5 to 6:30 p.m Thursday

Where: Strings Music Pavilion, Mount Werner and Pine Grove roads

Cost: Free, but a ticket is required for entry. Tickets can be picked up beginning at 3:30 p.m. Thursday at Strings Music Pavilion.

If you go

What: Seminars at Steamboat: Paul Peterson presents “Saving the American School”

When: 5 to 6:30 p.m Thursday

Where: Strings Music Pavilion, Mount Werner and Pine Grove roads

Cost: Free, but a ticket is required for entry. Tickets can be picked up beginning at 3:30 p.m. Thursday at Strings Music Pavilion.

— At first, Paul Peterson laughs. But then he takes a serious pause as he tries to remember everything that has changed in America’s classrooms since he was a student.

“Education has changed a lot since our society has changed, but it hasn’t always gotten better,” said Peterson, a professor of government at Harvard University. “Some of the students are not as excited, and the schools are much more bureaucratic and much more regulated than they used to be.”

Peterson, director of Har­vard’s Program on Education Policy and Governance, will be the third speaker in this year’s Seminars at Steamboat lecture series.

He will deliver his speech, titled “Saving the American School,” at 5 p.m. Thursday at Strings Music Pavilion.

Peterson said he is excited to discuss new technologies that he says will benefit students as they gain access to a “virtual classroom.”

“Technology is changing so fast that soon we will be able to offer high-quality courses online for high school students and middle school students,” he said. “The great advantage of online teaching is that it allows us to teach to each student’s individual ability level, and pinpoint the instruction so that it is of the greatest interest to them.”

Peterson said he was motivated to write his latest book, “Saving Schools: From Horace Mann to Virtual Learning,” after hearing nothing but grim news about the state of America’s education system.

“You hear all these reports that students are not doing as well in the classroom, and the kids are not learning as much,” he said. “But there are some signs out there that this could all change.”

Steve Hofman, the Seminars at Steamboat program committee member who invited Peterson, said it was an easy decision to include him in the summer lecture series.

“In the area of education policy in the United States, Peterson is one of the seminal thinkers and leaders,” he said. “If you ask people of all philosophical backgrounds who they think the top thinkers on education policy in this country are, Peterson is often at the top of the list.”

Folks interested in attending Peterson’s speech will need to obtain a free ticket at the Strings Music Pavilion after 3:30 p.m. Thursday. Overflow crowds at the previous Seminars at Steamboat lectures this summer have forced organizers to adopt the new ticket policy, and anyone without a seat will be turned away.

Bob Stein, a Seminars at Steamboat board member, said he’s never seen so many folks show up for the series.

“In previous summers, we’ve come close to the seating capacity of 569 people at the pavilion, but we have never gone over it the way we did this year,” Stein said. “I think people in Steamboat are just hungry for this kind of activity.”

— To reach Scott Franz, call 871-4210 or e-mail scottfranz@steamboatpilot.com


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