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What is Black Boy Mattering, and How Can We Realize It Comprehensively in Society and Schools? Amidst a social climate that universally demands the insignificance, devaluation, and meaninglessness of Black life, how can researchers and educators, instead, (re)imagine learning contexts that compel Black boys to matter abundantly, robustly, or comprehensively?
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Using Applied Research to Understand Organizational Culture Educational leaders operate in complex organizations and systems. In our recent book, Applied Research for Sustainable Change: A Guide for Education Leaders, we present a model for education leaders to use practitioner-led qualitative research, which we refer to as applied research, to drive local change. One primary aspect of this model is effectively identifying and navigating organizational culture(s). As a former public-school principal and superintendent colleague of ours stated when discussing organizational culture, “a gardener does not begin with nothing, even if planting on a barren field.” This metaphor signifies that an educational leader operates within an institution already in motion. Thus, leaders must understand everyone’s role in the education ecosystem, which involves collaboratively examining organizational culture, norms, values, and roles.
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Chasing Ghosts: Racism and US Education “I am not sure we can publish this,” said the white male statistician on our research team. I tried to hide my disdain for his sentiments by taking a long sip of my mocha lite, almond milk cappuccino, while peering back at him through the screen of our Google Hangout. The “this” that he so easily dismissed was an article we had been working on about the cumulative negative effect of teacher assignment choices in K–8 schools for black and brown students. The third member of our team, a first-year international graduate student from Turkey, sat still, peering back at us through her laptop, seemingly immune from understanding the gravity of his statement. I tried unsuccessfully to intervene before he continued, as he asked what so many white educators ask when chasing ghosts about race in the United States: “Can we be sure this is even happening?”
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Delivering on the Promise of Personalized Learning Plans Education policy is typically a blunt instrument, poorly suited to the highly nuanced, relational work performed in schools. Yet, it’s the relational work that lies at the heart of many reform initiatives. So, my colleagues and I welcomed with great excitement the news in 2013 that Vermont’s legislature had mandated personal learning plans (PLPs) for all students in grades 7-12.
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Schools Under-Identify Giftedness in Low-Socioeconomic Status Students Meeting the academic needs of all students requires ensuring that high-ability, low-income students have the same access as their high-income classmates to the challenging, enriching content that gifted programs often provide. In our article in the Fall issue of the Harvard Educational Review, we show that the US is falling well short of this goal. We draw on two cohorts of data from the nationally-representative Early Childhood Longitudinal Study to examine socioeconomic status (SES) gaps in gifted program participation. In moving beyond a simple focus on free/reduced price lunch eligibility to measure SES, we document three important conclusions.
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Toward a Behavioral Science of Testing...and Testing Policy Nearly forty-five years ago the preeminent scientist of psychological measurement, Lee Cronbach, summarized “Five Decades of Public Controversy Over Mental Testing.” As we approach the centennial of the period covered in Cronbach’s review, there is no sign the controversy is subsiding. On the contrary, recent scandals of testing fraud—involving parents obsessed with getting their kids into elite colleges working in cahoots with unscrupulously greedy consultants and admissions officers, as well as not-so-distant memories of K–12 teachers and administrators who went to jail for tampering with student scoresheets—have brought the whole American testing enterprise back onto the front page. Evidence and allegations of cheating add fuel to the flames of longstanding anxiety that tests perpetuate inequality rather than attenuate it, and that the tests don’t even measure what matters. Some pundits pile on in a frenzy of “I told you so” rhetoric that blames all of higher education for privileging the most privileged, despite convincing data showing that returns to educational attainment and college completion are increasing for all groups in society (although at different rates).
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Why Writing Instruction Works Best in Inclusive Settings American educators have long debated the impact of tracking—here defined as between-class ability grouping—in secondary schools. Although tracking advocates argue that the practice targets instruction to individuals’ varying needs and cultivates excellence for the most talented, critics contend that inequities related to race, language, and social class segregate students from one another and limit the most vulnerable students’ opportunities to learn.1 A good deal of recent discussion has focused on how some students’ reduced access to gatekeeper courses, such as algebra, can undermine future achievement in the STEM fields.
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Losing More This Summer: Summer Learning Loss Reconsidered Is anyone really an educational expert? Many people, whether students or teachers, use their personal expertise as a lens for their educational wisdom. In my years of educational research and of training teachers, I have never encountered an individual who truly believes they are a bad teacher. How could this be? Clearly some people must have a better understanding of the art of teaching than others. Though knowledge is plentiful in this digital age, educators continue to disagree on some big ideas. There is an expertise dilemma where teachers and researchers paint very different pictures. Who is the real expert? This expertise dilemma led me to think about the notion of the summer learning loss.
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Global Adaptation: Montessori in India The Montessori method has crossed international boundaries since it began in the early 1900s, and it continues to be a global educational method.
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What Is Racial Equity in Education According to Asian Americans? On March 16, 2019, a Chinese American protester held a sign saying “Equity: A code word for Anti-Asian,” during a town hall event in Queens, New York. Participants at the event discussed proposed changes to the admissions policies in New York City’s specialized public high schools. Although many Asian Americans would disagree with the framing of education equity, and in this case proposals for increased racial integration in public schools, as “anti-Asian,” the sentiment this protester expressed is becoming increasingly common among some segments of Asian American communities.
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