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Former Kentucky Governor Patton leads policy panel at “Poverty in the Heartland” Conference, September 23-25


SEPTEMBER 13, 2004 - The Invisible Child: Poverty in the Heartland, a national conference addressing the impact of poverty on education, will take place on the Muskingum College campus, New Concord, Ohio and surrounding venues September 23-25. Former Governor Paul Patton of Kentucky and noted author Jonathan Kozol are among the featured speakers.

The conference is sponsored by Muskingum College, the John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers University, New Jersey, and Pikeville College, Kentucky, and is intended for educators and administrators at all levels.

The three-day event begins at 1 p.m. on Thursday, September 23 with a special Education Policy Panel discussion moderated by former Governor Patton, a champion of educational reform during his tenure in Kentucky. In addition to Governor Patton, experts on the policy panel include Braden Goetz, Director of Policy, Research, and Evaluation in the Office of Vocational and Adult Education, U.S. Department of Education; James Mahoney, Executive Director of Battelle for Kids, a project funded by the Ohio Business Roundtable; Robert “Sandy” Goodlett, Director of the Kentucky Division of Family Resource and Youth Service Centers; and Elisabeth Valdez, Interfaith Education Fund in Texas. The Governor and the distinguished panelists will discuss how teachers and administrators in disadvantaged school districts can form partnerships with business and higher education to move beyond political rhetoric and begin achieving the goals of the “No Child Left Behind” initiative. The discussion will include how teacher education and technology can help educators and policy makers work together to counter the effects of poverty on children’s ability to learn.

The policy panel will be followed by a series of workshops highlighting successful efforts to assist rural schools in Texas and Kentucky, and exploring ways to attract highly qualified teachers to disadvantaged districts. Professor Carl Van Horn of Rutgers University will also lead a workshop on the importance of career preparation for all high school students. Van Horn’s workshop will focus on ways to strengthen federal and state policies to help non-college bound students prepare themselves for work.

Thursday evening’s keynote speaker is Jonathan Kozol, the award winning author of Savage Inequalities: Children in American School, Death at an Early Age, and Amazing Grace: The Lives of Children and the Conscience of a Nation. Kozol has dedicated his career to effecting change in public school systems across the country. His address will focus on the sociological and systemic realities of poverty.

Conference speakers also include Ruby Payne, founder of the aha! Process, Inc. and author of A Framework for Understanding Poverty. She will conduct her nationally-recognized workshop for educators, focusing on practical ideas for understanding the culture of poverty and ways to help students become motivated, committed, and educated.

Other scheduled presenters include Elijah Anderson, the Charles and William L. Day Professor of the Social Sciences and professor of sociology at the University of Pennsylvania; Yvonne Vissing, professor of sociology at Salem College in Salem, Massachusetts and author of Out of Sight, Out of Mind: Homeless Children in Small Town America; Don Bartlette, a full-time speaker and Native American activist. His autobiographical presentation, Macaroni at Midnight, chronicles his hardships as a Chippewa Indian child growing up with multiple challenges; Aaron Thompson, a nationally-known speaker and expert in the area of academic success and African- American fatherhood; and June Langford Berkley, an educational consultant who widely presents workshops on the role of business and industry in education and positive classroom climates.