May 2012 Archives

Special education is a central component of the U.S. public education system: some 12 percent of U.S. public school students are identified with disabilities, and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, designed to protect the rights and improve educational outcomes for students with disabilities, probably impacts day-to-day school operation more than any other federal policy. Yet students with disabilities are often overlooked or marginalized in contemporary education reform conversations. Daniel Yoo's company, Goalbook, is a rare entrepreneurial education venture that puts students with disabilities, and their parents and educators, front and center. Goalbook is a web-based productivity and ...

Even as our public policies seek to ensure that all students graduate high school ready to succeed in college and careers, the practices and beliefs in our public school systems too often mean that many students--particularly but hardly exclusively low-income and minority students--never have access to the types of rigorous coursework that prepare them for success. Reid Saaris and the organization he founded, Equal Opportunity Schools, are working to change that. Equal Opportunity Schools works with high schools and districts to increase the number of these students enrolled in advanced courses, with the goal of closing racial and income enrollment ...

One in ten U.S. public school students is an English language learner. In the past two decades, the population of ELL students has both grown rapidly and expanded beyond traditional "border" states to communities in all parts of the country. Yet our education system does a poor job of serving ELL students; there are large student achievement gaps between ELL students and their peers, and only 25-30 percent of ELL students graduate within four years of entering high school. Teddy Rice is working to change that. In 2011, Rice and Jordan Meranus of New Schools Venture Fund co-founded Ellevation, ...

Memphis native Terence Patterson returned in his hometown in 2011 to join the Hyde Family Foundations, which focuses on improving education, strengthening neighborhoods, and building community assets in Memphis. As education program officer, Patterson leads the Foundations' work to improve education for students in Memphis, at a time when the city, and Tennessee as a whole, are seizing new opportunities brought about by Race to the Top, yet also struggling with complex challenges. Patterson, 34, brings to this work his diverse experiences in both education reform and the private sector. Prior to returning to Memphis, he served as Deputy Chief ...

Regular readers of this blog are familiar with both the challenges and opportunities of early childhood education. Even as research demonstrates the incredible learning potential of young children and the impact of high-quality early learning programs to improve young children's learning outcomes, efforts to improve early learning outcomes continue to be constrained by limited--and in some cases, declining--funding, a fragmented early childhood system, a workforce with mixed skill levels, and even a lack of consensus in the field about the purposes of early childhood education. Sophia Pappas works at the heart of these challenges. As Executive Director of the Office ...

Last year, this series profiled Educators for Excellence founders Evan Stone and Sydney Morris, who launched Educators for Excellence in New York City and state to engage teachers in education policy issues and provide a platform for teacher voices to be heard by policymakers and the media--with the ultimate goal of elevating the profession and ensuring that teacher expertise informs smart education policy choices. Late last year Educators for Excellence expanded to Los Angeles, under the leadership of Ama Nyamekye. In its first several months in operation, E4E Los Angeles has built a membership base of more than 450 teachers ...

Concerns about the equity, quality and outcomes of K-12 education have long been a feature of education policy debates, but analysts and policymakers have recently come to realize that our higher education system also suffers from poor outcomes (fewer than 60 percent of new students graduate college within 6 years), huge disparities in quality across institutions, and rapidly increasing college costs. As a result, our international lead in higher education attainment, which powered economic growth in the later half of the 20th century, has disappeared. And if the United States is to meet President Obama's goal of once again being ...

In the six years since Hurricane Katrina, efforts to rebuild New Orleans' public schools have made the city an incredibly fertile ground for new education organizations and talent. Ben Marcovitz is one of the visionary young education leaders to emerge from post-Katrina New Orleans. In 2007 he founded Sci Academy, an open enrollment, college preparatory high school that has led the district in high school performance since its founding. That success in turn prompted the creation of the Collegiate Academies network, to replicate the Sci Academy model and grow the number of high-performing high schools in New Orleans that prepare ...

International comparisons are all the rage in education these days, but they tend to focus on how American kids stack up (or don't) against their peers in other developed countries. It can be easy to forget that millions of students in the developing world lack access to educational opportunities altogether--or face extreme challenges in accessing them. Toni Maraviglia is tackling this challenge. Her company, MPrep, uses a common technology--cell phones--to improve learning for Kenyan primary school students. But that's just a first step in a broader vision to use accessible technologies to improve learning for students in developing countries throughout ...

Thaly Germain is Director of the Lynch Leadership Academy, a partnership between Boston College and the Lynch Foundation to strengthen leadership among principals working in parochial, district, and charter schools in Boston and build their capacity to improve student achievement in the schools they serve. Born in Haiti, Germain, 33, immigrated to the United States in the mid-1980s, following a military coup in her native country, and was educated in schools in both Haiti and Brooklyn, New York. She previously taught in a public high school New York City and a charter school in Washington, D.C., of which she ...

Teacher effectiveness, and the use of student value-added data to measure it, are a hot topic in education these days. The University of Missouri's Cory Koedel is among the researchers helping to build our knowledge base in these areas and shape public policy as a result. Koedel has studied issues related to teacher quality, value-added measures of teacher effectiveness, school choice, and curricular effectiveness. He service on the VAM Technical Advisory Board for the Pittsburgh Public Schools, the Missouri Department of Education's Growth Model Technical Advisory Committee, and the National Report Technical Advisory Panel for the New Teacher Project, has ...

"College and Career-Ready" is the catch word in education policy these days. But, even as increasing numbers of students are going to college, far too few are prepared to succeed there. Nick Ehrmann founded Blue Engine in an effort to solve this problem. Blue Engine recruits, trains, and supports recent college graduates to work with students and teachers in public high schools, reducing student: instructor ratios to customize learning and help students master advanced academic skills for high school and college success. Launched in 2010, Blue Engine has already gained national recognition from the Clinton Global Initative, Blue Ridge Foundation ...

No topic in education has garnered more attention and controversy over the past few years than teacher effectiveness, and the U.S. Department of Education has played a critical role in that debate, first in Race to the Top, and more recently through the ESEA Flexibility Waiver process and proposed RESPECT initiative. The Department's Teaching Ambassador Fellowship program seeks to engage and give teachers a voice in that process by bringing a cohort of teachers to the Department for a year, where they work on policy issues and teacher outreach. Genvieve DeBose brings diverse experiences and perspectives to her role ...

At only 29, Matthew Chingos has already conducted research with some of the nation's leading education researchers and on some of the most pressing education policy questions, including issues related to teacher effectiveness, accountability, and higher education attainment. His first book, Crossing the Finish Line: Completing College at America's Public Universities (co-authored with William Bowen and Michael McPherson) was published by Princeton University Press in 2009. Raised on the North Fork of Long Island, Chingos earned both a bachelor's degree and Ph.D. in government from Harvard, and is currently a Fellow at the Brown Center on Education Policy Studies ...

For all the lip service paid to "putting students first," the actual voices of students themselves are largely absent from contemporary education policy debates. Catharine Bellinger and Alexis Morin are working to change that. As students at Princeton, they founded Students for Education Reform to engage and organize college students--most of whom were recently public school students themselves--around education reform. Today, SFER has over 3,000 members in more than 100 chapters in over 30 states and is working to increase awareness of education issues, build the pipeline of talented college students going into education, and influence state policy change ...

How do various types of families engage with and make school choices? How do immigrant and English language learner students and their families engage with public schools, and what factors influence that engagement? As an assistant professor at Seton Hall University, where she also co-directs the Center for College Readiness, Carolyn Sattin-Bajaj uses both qualitative and quantitative methods to engage some of the most interesting and complicated questions in education today, and works to make those findings accessible to a policy and lay audience. A Connecticut native, Sattin-Bajaj graduated from Duke University and worked for the New York City Department ...

Last year, I published a list of 16 young men and women who are going to lead the transformation of education in this country in the coming generation. But the challenges--and opportunities--facing public education in the next few decades are so big, they're going to require more talent and expertise than even those exceptional 16 folks can offer. So, this year I'm back with a list of 17 more leaders who are going to help define the shape of public education for the coming generation: Carolyn Sattin-Bajaj, Assistant Professor, Seton Hall University Catharine Bellinger and Alexis Morin, Students for Education ...


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