The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences

Education Reform at Ivy Council Conference

Trent Shillingford '19 conversing about his past internship at the United Nations.

Speakers at the conference speaking about their career progression.

Dartmouth College's delegation for Ivy Council. 

The Ivy Leadership Summit attendees. 

Speakers in the Education track emphasizing the stagnancy of education.

Article Type 

The main purpose for this conference at Yale of the Ivy Council was impetus: the initiative one needs to do something magnificent. While at the conference, there was a heterogeneous mix of influential keynote speakers from various careers who spoke with us passionately about determination and drive in their respective fields. Then, I had the chance to obtain a more specialized experience at the conference by choosing a certain career sector to contemplate; I chose the education section. There were many opportunities in breakout sessions to converse with leaders in this sector. From what they have said about their beliefs and opinions on education in general, there seems to be a common thread amongst their thoughts: the education system has been quite static in their progress for decades. As well-established schools become more prosperous, others in the inner-cities and abroad become more financially and academically detached. I saw this first hand, as I interned at a charter school in Bronx, NY during my winter break in freshman year: Kids were not attending classes, teachers felt indifferent, and the school’s ratings steadily declined.

This may not seem shocking initially, but when in the perspective of one who benefits from technological and social advancements, the effect magnifies. For me, this was probably the most important aspect that resonated, because I came to the conference with the intention of institutionalizing a center for Less Commonly Taught Languages (LCTL) at Dartmouth. However, I realize that my initiative is quite minor to the massive renovation that the education system needs. Thus, I will continue to establish the language center, but I should not stop there. I should build on this existing initiative and try to incorporate more philanthropy into my model. Also, I was notified after the conference of a program called the Future Leaders of Education that the Ivy council enlisted me in, and I feel this is a great opportunity to capitalize on their resources to propel my idea forward.

On a lighter note, I did establish substantive friendships and connections with the other fellow delegates. Many had interesting projects of their own, which could be of interest to me in the future. I would recommend those interested to attend the conference, because one gets to network with the other schools in the Ivy League and beyond, listen in on key topics in whichever field one is interested in, and grow the amount of resources one has.

- Submitted by Trent Shillingford '19, Rockefeller Mini-Grant Recipient 

The Rockefeller Center's Mini-Grants program funds registration fees for students attending conferences, as well as the costs of bringing guest speakers to Dartmouth. The views and opinions expressed here are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of the Rockefeller Center or constitute an endorsement by the Center.

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