Development & External Relations

Congressman Tim Bishop Visits Bank Street

Posted by Nick Gray on May 24, 2012

Congressman Tim Bishop visits Bank Street School for ChildrenOn Tuesday, May 15, 2012, Bank Street College received a much anticipated visit from Congressman Tim Bishop, who is the US Representative for New York’s 1st Congressional District (Suffolk County).

Congressman Bishop’s current work as a politician focuses heavily on education as he serves on the House Committee on Education and the Workforce and advocating for continued federal support for student aid. But his life and work prior to his political career are also rooted in education. Before taking office in 2003, the congressman had served as the Provost for Southampton College from 1973 until 2002. And in addition, Congressman Bishop’s wife Kathy Bishop is an educator and the founder of The Children’s School, a nursery school in Southampton.

Tim Bishop reads to children in Bank Street's family centerDuring his visit, Congressman Bishop toured the School for Children, learned about the impact of the Graduate School’s leadership programs, and took the time to meet and read to the young children in the Family Center.

'See, Feel, and Learn'

In his discussions with college leadership, which included Dean Jon Snyder and President Elizabeth Dickey, Rep. Bishop learned about Bank Street’s breadth and depth of expertise on matters of teaching, learning, and policy. He also took note of the College’s challenges as a provider of higher education in the digital era and in the context of the current economy, particularly regarding the potential for online education and technology in the classrooms.

Balancing privacy with accountability in teacher evaluations was also discussed, as was the issue of cost when it comes to higher education. He noted,

We’ve talked a lot about some of the great challenges that confront higher education. I think the principal challenge being cost, and how to deliver a quality education without it being priced in such a way that it is inaccessible for the vast majority of people who desire a higher education. That’s very important.

But in the congressman’s opinion, the most important reason for policy makers to visit a place like Bank Street is to understand first-hand the concerns and needs of those who are in classrooms every day:

It’s always important for policy makers to have some real world experience. And in my case I spent 29 years on a college campus. But a lot of my colleagues on the education committee have no real experience—either in a K through 12 setting or in a higher ed setting. So I think it’s very valuable to actually see and feel and learn.

After a series of productive meetings and interactions with children, teachers, and administrators, the congressman said of Bank Street,

I am particularly impressed with the dedication of the faculty and staff to the students, whether they be 3 years old or 30 years old. This is a place where obviously the student comes first, so I’m delighted to be here.

The Next Big Step

Elizabeth Dickey meets with Congressman Tim BishopCongressman Bishop’s visit was the next big step in Bank Street’s government relations efforts—which have included Bank Street College President Elizabeth Dickey’s recent appointment to Governor Andrew Cuomo’s New York Education Reform Commission, and last June’s roundtable discussion on early childhood issues for senior staff members at Senator Kirsten Gillibrand’s New York office.  

Increasingly, elected officials such as Congressman Bishop have been looking to this institution to provide that “real world” context to developing education policy. For more information, visit Bank Street’s Government Relations page.

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Story by Dana Rossi.

tagged elizabeth dickey, jon snyder, legislation, policy, teacher evaluation,
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