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A Changing of the Guard at the Academy

Someone once called the National Academy of Education the "old walruses" of the field. That's because it's an invitation-only group whose 174 members and 17 foreign associates are selected on the basis of their scholarly contributions to the field.

As of last week, the "walruses" have a new president. It's Susan Fuhrman, the president of Teachers College, Columbia University, and an expert on education policy research and international studies. She succeeds Lorrie A. Shepard, the dean of the education school at the University of Colorado at Boulder, who has been at the helm of the group for the last four years.

Besides being an honorary society, the academy has the job of advancing high-quality research. Its members, for instance, have mentored the young scholars lucky enough to win fellowships from the Chicago-based Spencer Foundation. And, over the past year, the group has been producing a series of six white papers that is intended to provide advice for federal policymakers on what research has to say on key education issues. Take a look at the group's latest white paper on math and science education, released just this month. Look for a new white paper on improving teacher quality in the next day or two.

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