The American Educational Research Association (AERA) and IEL have been co-hosting education policy forums since 1983 as a vehicle to highlight research, policy, and practice in education. These monthly luncheons feature many of the best researchers, thinkers, and leaders in education.
Speaking Truth to Power in Teacher Education
March 17, 2017
In July, Sharon Robinson will be retiring. She will be concluding one more installment of a fulsome career encompassing education research, education policy, and education practice. She has agreed to meet with the Education Policy Forum to discuss her hard-won experiences and well- honed perspectives about scholarship, education policy, teacher education, and citizenship.
Dr. Robinson has provided leadership to the AACTE as president and CEO since 2005 – the most recent stop along her journey. Among her previous leadership positions are included: assistant secretary of education for the Organization of Education Research and Improvement (now the Institute of Education Sciences); president of the Educational Policy Leadership Institute of the Educational Testing Service; and director of NEA’s National Center on Innovation.
A lifelong civil rights activist, Dr. Robinson has in each of her professional positions worked to realize our nation's moral and professional responsibility to educate and maximize the potential of all students, especially those with disabilities and racial/ethnic minorities. She has been a good citizen in each of the organizations with which she is associated, serving as a frequent committee member for programs of the AERA and the National Council for Measurement in Education, and serving on the board of the PDK Educational Foundation and the Learning First Alliance.
February 17, 2017
The Latino population of young people is the fastest growing minority group in the United States. Although they are accessing postsecondary institutions in record numbers, data shows that Latino students continue to face multiple barriers to opportunity, access, and success. Join us for the AERA/IEL Education Policy Forum for a discussion about equity and opportunity to support Latino/a students, the changing policy landscape, and the ways forward.
Deborah A. Santiago is the co-founder, Chief Operating Officer and Vice President for Policy at Excelencia in Education. For more than 20 years, she has led research and policy efforts from the community to national and federal levels to improve educational opportunities and success for all students. She co-founded Excelencia in Education to inform policy and practice to accelerate Latino student success in higher education. Her current work focuses on federal and state policy, financial aid, Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs), and effective institutional practices for student success in higher education. She has been cited in numerous publications for her work, including The Economist, the New York Times, the Washington Post, AP, and The Chronicle of Higher Education. Deborah serves on the board of the National Student Clearinghouse, and the advisory boards of thedream.us and Univision’s Education Campaign.
Jose Luis Santos: As Ed Trust’s vice president of higher education policy and practice, José Luis oversees all aspects of the organization’s higher education work, which is focused on improving access, affordability, completion, and post-enrollment success for low-income students and students of color. The driving force behind José Luis’ work is his belief that federal, state, and institutional policies may not adequately support increased educational and economic outcomes for traditionally underrepresented students (low-income, people of color, first-generation, and veterans) but rather, perpetuate inequitable outcomes leading to further stratification.
This is an extraordinary time in education. Our students are facing a future world whose parameters have yet to be defined and they are relying on us to make the best decisions for them. For more than a decade, there has been a growing interest in and focus on accountability including the measurement of students’ academic achievement. As a result, an enormous amount of energy, time, and emotion has been expended reacting to issues such as Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and various types of assessments. The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) presents a unique and timely opportunity to step back, reflect, refocus, and become proactive on how our schools, districts, and states should define and evaluate student success. This moment may never cross our paths again; hence, it is critical to seize it with vigor, focus and, most especially, with students at the core of decisions. This session will focus on work being considered and done involving the use of multimetric accountability systems across states and districts. A short presentation will be followed by a robust conversation.
Deborah S. Delisle is the Executive Director and CEO of ASCD. During Deb's 40-year career in education, she has served as a teacher, gifted education specialist, curriculum director, elementary school principal, district associate superintendent, superintendent, state superintendent, and university instructor. She was nominated as the U.S. Assistant Secretary of Elementary and Secondary Education by President Obama in January 2012, confirmed by the U.S. Senate on April 27, 2012, and served in that position until 2015. As an assistant secretary of education, she played a pivotal role in policy and management issues affecting preK, elementary, and secondary education for the U.S. Department of Education and oversaw 86 programs with a portfolio of almost 26 billion dollars. Delisle coordinated and recommended policy for programs designed to assist state and local education agencies in improving the achievement of preschool, elementary, and secondary school students.
With the passage of our new federal education law, the Every Student Succeeds Act, states are working with diverse stakeholders to design their state plans. Join us for a conversation on where states are in their planning, what they see as the biggest opportunities and challenges, and what the recent national elections might mean for the implementation of this new law.
Kris Amundson, Executive Director, National Association of State Boards of Education
Hon. Kristen Amundson brings more than two decades of experience as a policymaker to NASBE. She represented the 44th District in the Virginia General Assembly from 1999-2009. During that time, she was a member of Virginia’s P-16 Council and the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB). Before successfully running for an Assembly seat, Ms. Amundson—a former teacher—served for nearly a decade on the Fairfax County, Va., School board, including two years as its chariwoman. Most recently, she was the senior vice president for external affairs at Education Sector, an independent think tank. She writes frequently on education issues and has been published in The Washington Post and the Richmond Times-Dispatch, among others.
Mary Kingston Roche, Public Policy Director, Institute for Educational Leadership and Member of Prince George's County Local School Board
Mary leads policy and advocacy efforts to promote the community schools approach at federal and state levels for IEL. She also manages the Coalition for Community Schools' relationships with its over 100 national partners. Before coming to IEL, Mary was manager of government relations for the National Association of Secondary School Principals, where she represented our nation's secondary school leaders. Mary began her career teaching 6th and 9th grade English for three years in Oakland, California.
Read Bill Bushaw's guest blog post on this lecture- The Nation's Report Card Goes Digital.
Within the last 12 months, The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), The Nation's Report Card, has released national student achievement results related to science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). This session will focus on these results, particularly highlighting NAEP's first-ever assessment of Technology and Engineering Literacy (TEL). This innovative, digitally-based assessment incorporates many scenario-based tasks that utilize a multimedia approach.
Additionally, the Governing Board is finalizing a strategic vision to guide its policy work during the next four years. This work will focus on increased dissemination of results, new efforts supporting academic preparedness assessment and reporting, and advanced techniques to refine NAEP's assessment frameworks. In an interactive environment, learn more about the Board's direction and offer recommendations on approaches to help inform the Board's work.
The independent, bipartisan National Assessment Governing Board was created by Congress in 1988 to set policy guidelines for The Nation’s Report Card. In overseeing the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), the Governing Board identifies subjects to be tested, determines the content and achievement levels for each assessment, approves all test questions, and takes steps to improve the form, reporting, and use of results. The Board works closely with the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), which administers the NAEP program.
Bill Bushaw, Executive Director, National Assessment Governing Board
As the Governing Board’s Executive Director, Bill Bushaw is responsible for executing the policies and projects initiated by the Board, and also serves as its chief of staff. Before joining the Governing Board, Bushaw served as chief executive officer of Phi Delta Kappa International (PDK)—serving as one of the co-authors of the annual PDK/Gallup Poll of the Public's Attitudes Toward the Public Schools. Prior to PDK, Bushaw held
other education positions including: learning systems director at the University of Michigan's Merit Network, deputy superintendent and chief academic officer at the Michigan Department of Education, and director of the Michigan North Central Association. He began his education career as a middle school science teacher and high school principal. His bachelor's and doctorate degrees are from the University Michigan. Bushaw also served in the United States Navy, active and reserve, retiring at the rank of Captain.
Location: Institute for Educational Leadership, 4301 Connecticut Ave, NW, Suite 100, Washington, DC 20008. Closest Metro station is Van Ness-UDC (red line). Parking is available in the building's garage for a fee.
Learning from Summer: Effects of Voluntary Summer Learning Programs on Low-Income Urban Youth with Jennifer McCombs
Research has determined that low-income students lose ground to more affluent peers over the summer. Other research has shown that some summer learning programs can benefit students, but we know very little about whether voluntary, district-led summer programs can improve outcomes among low-income students. The Wallace Foundation launched the National Summer Learning Project (NSLP) in 2011 to fill this gap in the research base and to expand summer program opportunities for students in urban districts. As a part of this project, The Foundation sponsored RAND to conduct a study of district-led, voluntary summer programs in five school districts—Boston, Dallas, Duval County (Florida), Pittsburgh, and Rochester (New York)—to assess their effects on more than 3,000 students.
We examined these effects using several methods, including a randomized controlled trial (RCT) on a cohort of students who were third graders in spring 2013. This report presents findings on the effects of two consecutive summers of programming in 2013 and 2014 on language arts (LA) and mathematics learning and on less-studied outcomes—student behavior and social-emotional competence—in both the near term (the fall after the summer program) and the longer term (through spring 2015).
Dr. Jennifer McCombs
Dr. Jennifer McCombs is a Senior Policy Researcher and Director of the Behavioral and Policy Sciences Department at RAND. She also serves as a professor at the Pardee RAND Graduate School. Her research focuses on evaluating the extent to which public policies and programs improve outcomes for at-risk students. Her studies combine implementation and outcome data to provide practitioners and policymakers guidance on how to improve programs and promote student outcomes. She currently leads a five-district, longitudinal study of voluntary summer learning programs for low-income elementary youth that includes extensive primary data collection including classroom observations, interviews, surveys, and student testing. She is also conducting a developmental evaluation of cities’ efforts to fully institute a measurement framework to strengthen their after school systems. Over the course of her career, she has studied how to improve teacher effectiveness (through professional development, coaching, education); the development of systems for out-of-school-time programs; the implementation and impact of test-based promotion policies; and the effects of federal accountability policies on schools, classrooms, and students. McCombs earned her Ph.D. in public policy from The George Washington University.
Location: Institute for Educational Leadership, 4301 Connecticut Ave, NW, Suite 100, Washington, DC 20008. Closest Metro station is Van Ness-UDC (red line). Parking is available in the building's garage for a fee.
August 2, 2016
In the winter of 2015, the Center on Education Policy (CEP) surveyed a nationally representative sample of public school teachers to learn their views on the teaching profession, state standards and assessments, testing, and teacher evaluations. The report, Listen to Us: Teacher Views and Voices, summarizes these survey findings, including responses indicating that public school teachers are concerned and frustrated with shifting policies, over emphasis on student testing, and their lack of voice in decision-making. Maria Ferguson, Executive Director of CEP, will explore the report’s findings and implications for the teaching profession and education policy.
Maria Ferguson, Executive Director, Center on Education Policy
Maria Ferguson (speaker) is the executive director of the Center on Education Policy (CEP) at the George Washington University (GWU) in Washington, DC, an independent nonprofit organization that studies and reports on the education policy and practice. CEP is a trusted, nonpartisan source for education research and analysis for policymakers, educators and the public. Ferguson oversees all of the Center’s operations, outreach and research, and acts as chief fundraiser and spokesperson.
Prior to her role at CEP, Ferguson served as the Vice President for Policy at the Alliance for Excellent Education, Director of the National School Boards Foundation, Director of Field Operations for New American Schools, and director of Communication and Outreach Services for the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Elementary and Secondary Education during the Clinton Administration. She also co-chaired the Department's annual Improving America's Schools Conferences. Ferguson began her career as a journalist, working for Cox Newspapers, the Associated Press, and U.S. News & World Report.
Analysis of the report, Listen to Us, can be found on the Peggy Brookins’ Huffington Post blog post and Maria Ferguson’s blog post for the Hunt Institute.
Peggy Brookins, President & CEO, National Board
Peggy Brookins (discussant) joined the National Board as executive vice president in December 2014, and was named president & CEO in November 2015. Her long career as an educator includes many national leadership positions and accolades. In July 2014, President Barack Obama named Brookins as a member of the President’s Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for African Americans. She joins the National Board from the Engineering and Manufacturing Institute of Technology at Forest High School in Ocala, Fla., which she co-founded in 1994 and where she served as director and as a mathematics instructor.
July 15, 2016
Ruth Neild, Deputy Director, Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education
Dr. Ruth Neild, deputy director for policy and research at the Institute of Education Sciences (IES), spoke about federal education research policy issues. She addressed some of the familiar criticisms about the federal research programs in a recent article titled: “Federally-supported education research doesn’t need a do-over.” Her views on the role of the federal government in creation and utilization of education research will no doubt be sought in the implementation of research provisions of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) and in the forthcoming reauthorization of IES (Strengthening Education Through Research Act). Neild has also been delegated the duties of the IES director, ably filling the vacancy arising with the departure of John Easton. She is the first person to head the agency who has prior experience as an IES commissioner of one of the four research centers. As director of the National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance (NCEE), Neild was responsible for the federal Regional Educational Laboratories, the What Works Clearinghouse, and the Education Resources Information Center (ERIC). In addition to her research experience within the Department of Education, Neild was a research scientist at the Johns Hopkins Center for Social Organization of Schools. She earned her doctorate in sociology at the University of Pennsylvania and earned her bachelor’s degree in history and sociology from Bryn Mawr College.
June 17, 2016
Michael Cohen, President, Achieve
Michael Cohen has worked to promote standards-based education reform in significant and varied leadership positions for much of his career. He has served as director of education policy for the National Governors Association (NGA), director of planning for the National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE), assistant secretary of elementary and secondary education in the U.S. Department of Education, and education advisor to the president during the Clinton Administration. Since 2003, Michael has been president of Achieve, an organization dedicated to standards-based education, and has become a leading spokesperson for improved standards and assessments. Under his leadership, Achieve has partnered with PARCC to help develop and promote the Common Core State Standards. Under his leadership, Achieve also has formed the American Diploma Project Network to develop state standards for improving preparation for postsecondary education.
Cohen shared his thoughts about the historical development of the standards-based reform movement in the U.S. and identified critical political issues confronting the movement at present. He also will provide his perspective on the future of the movement.
April 15, 2016
Michelle Cahill, Distinguished Fellow in Education and Youth Development, National Center for Civic Innovation
AYPF founder Samuel Halperin believed strongly in the value of public service and the potential for education to lift youth out of poverty and to change their lives. At the second Samuel Halperin Lecture and Youth Public Service Award, AYPF and IEL honored Ebony Rempson, whose dedication to these ideas embodies Halperin’s work and life.
This year, the lecture was presented by Michele Cahill, Distinguished Fellow in Education and Youth Development at the National Center for Civic Innovation. Cahill has a strong commitment to advancing youth policy and working to expand opportunities for disconnected youth.
Rempson, a 21-year-old D.C. native and AmeriCorps volunteer, spoke about her personal struggles on her path to public service and her goal of supporting other young African-American women.
March 17, 2016
David Grosso, Chairperson, Committee on Education, D.C. City Council
Who influences education policy in D.C.? In addition to the city council, there are the mayor and the deputy mayor for education, the state board of education, the public charter school board, the community schools advisory board, and many others.
David Grosso is Chairperson, Committee on Education for the D.C. City Council. He was elected on an ethical reform platform in 2012 and he became chair of the Committee on Education in 2014.
Grosso spoke about the unique governance structure for education in the District, and shared his goals and strategies for further improvement of education in the nation's capital. What education changes can be achieved by David's committee to improve education and the lives of DC's children? Grosso has big ideas about improvements to be made in the education system, many of them involving health and community issues.
February 26, 2016
Jenny Nagaoka, Deputy Director, UChicago Consortium on School Research
Amid growing recognition that strong academic skills alone are not enough for young people to become successful adults, Foundations for Young Adult Success: A Developmental Framework offers wide-ranging evidence to show what young people need to develop from preschool to young adulthood to succeed in college and career, have healthy relationships, be engaged citizens, and make wise choices. It concludes that rich experiences combining action and reflection help children develop a set of critical skills, attitudes, and behaviors. And it suggests that policies should aim to ensure that all children have consistent, supportive relationships and an abundance of these developmental experiences through activities inside and outside of school.
The Wallace Foundation awarded a competitive grant to UChicago CCSR in 2013 to undertake the project, which included a review of relevant literature spanning decades as well as interviews with national experts in research, policy and practice, and young people and the adults who work with them in schools, programs and agencies throughout Chicago.
The report offers evidence to show how, where, and when the “key factors” to success develop from early childhood through young adulthood, emphasizing the kinds of experiences and supportive relationships that guide the positive development of these factors. Recognizing that there are no silver bullets to promoting social-emotional learning, the report emphasizes a range of factors that build on one another over time. It also emphasizes factors that are particularly malleable, as well as the age at which each of the key factors comes into prominence, offering adults the most promising window for positive intervention.
January 29, 2016
Raymond Hart, Director of Research, Council of the Great City Schools
On October 26, 2015, viewers of the PBS News Hour heard host Gwen Ifill say: “In a policy reversal the Obama Administration, which has supported assessment of students and teachers, has reversed its policy and now says standardized testing has gotten out of hand.” As many will have noted, this reversal came on the heels of a report on the amount of testing in urban schools by the Council of the Great City Schools. Our policy forum speaker was the person responsible collecting and synthesizing the data at the heart of the report, Raymond Hart.
December 8, 2016
Yong Zhao, Presidential Chair and Director of the Institute for Global and Online Education, University of Oregon College of Education
Overemphasizing test scores as measures of achievement is potentially harmful to education. The book editors identify key traits such as mindset, motivation, social skills, creativity, and entrepreneurial spirit that students, teachers, and schools need to acknowledge and cultivate. Educators are asked to shift the evaluation paradigm to focus on a multiplicity of skills necessary for success in the 21st century. The discussion examined the problems with current measures of students’ skills, discuss strategies for measuring global competences, and explore how and why are nonacademic qualities valuable to long-term educational outcomes.
November 20, 2016
Chester Finn, Jr., Distinguished Senior Fellow and President Emeritus, Thomas B. Fordham Institute
In this provocative volume, Chester E. Finn, Jr., and Brandon L. Wright argue that, for decades, the United States has done too little to focus on educating students to achieve at high levels. The authors identify two core problems: First, compared to other countries, the United States does not produce enough high achievers. Second, students from disadvantaged backgrounds are severely underrepresented among those high achievers. The authors describe educating students to high levels of achievement as an issue of both equity and human capital: talented students deserve appropriate resources and attention, and the nation needs to develop these students' abilities to remain competitive in the international arena. The authors embark on a study of twelve countries and regions to address these issues, exploring the structures and practices that enable some countries to produce a higher proportion of high-achieving students than the United States and to more equitably represent disadvantaged students among their top scorers. Based on this research, the authors present a series of ambitious but pragmatic points that they believe should inform U.S. policy in this area.
October 30, 2016
Brenda Turnbull, Researcher, Policy Studies Associates, Inc.
How do we strengthen our pipelines for preparing and supporting school principals? How do we build districts' capacity to advance their priorities through school leadership? What is the impact of the pipelines on student achievement? Brenda Turnbull (speaker), researcher at Policy Studies Associates, Inc., and Lynda Tredway (discussant), senior associate for the Leaders for Today and Tomorrow Project at IEL, discussed key components that strengthen districts' school leadership pipelines.
July 14, 2015
Michael Kirst, President, California State Board of Education; Emeritus Professor of Education, Stanford University
A number of important education reforms have recently been enacted in the nation’s most populous state that have national implications. California has taken a different approach than most other states in not acquiescing to federal expectations and independently pursuing significant reforms related to the Common Core and school finance.
The evolution of Common Core in California has been relatively non-controversial and embraced by a broad array of stakeholders. Unlike the process in so many states, teacher evaluation and high-stakes accountability were left out of the initial stages of implementation, allowing teachers and students time to adjust. California’s higher education segments likewise have been involved and are supportive. The new school finance legislation in California consolidated a wide array of categorical programs and represents a major departure in school funding policy. Most other jurisdictions have highly centralized state finance models. California’s new local control funding formula gives local school systems much greater financial autonomy as well as responsibility for accountability. This new California funding approach obviously has profound significance for educational governance and equity issues.
May 29, 2015
April 2015 marked the fiftieth anniversary of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), the landmark legislation that has provided the foundation of federal education policy in the United States. In Presidents, Congress, and the Public Schools: The Politics of Education Reform, longtime policy analyst Jack Jennings examines the evolution of federal education policy and outlines a bold and controversial vision for its future. Jennings brings an insider’s knowledge to this account, offering a vivid analysis of federal efforts in the education arena and revealing some of the factors that shaped their enactment. His rich descriptions and lively anecdotes provide pointed lessons about the partisan climate that stymies much federal policy making today.
April 20, 2015
Hilary Pennington, Vice President, Education, Creativity, and Free Expression, Ford Foundation
AYPF founder Samuel Halperin believed strongly in the value of public service and the potential for education to lift youth out of poverty and to change their lives. On Monday, April 20, 2015, AYPF and IEL honored Efrem Ayalew, whose dedication to these ideas embodies Halperin’s work and life.
The event’s inaugural lecturer, Hilary Pennington, Vice President of the Ford Foundation’s Education, Creativity and Free Expression program, spoke before Efrem, and focused on not only the progress made, but also the significant amount of work to be done in improving youth outcomes. Large gaps in postsecondary achievement, employment, and wages had not improved enough for disconnected youth, or “the forgotten half,” said Pennington. “You take all these trends together and you have to be sobered at where we started from, despite the enormous progress that we’ve made.”
Pennington also added that in order to address the challenges of improving youth outcomes, efforts will have to be comprehensive and address all aspect’s of youth’s lives. “What Sam would remind us is that the responses we should be aiming for are not responses that divide and segment, they are responses that see young people as whole beings,” said Pennington.
March 13, 2015
Christopher Cross, Chairman, Cross & Joftus
In this volume, political insider Christopher Cross updates his critically acclaimed bestseller with new chapters and important new insights into future education policy. Cross draws on his own experience in Washington, along with research and interviews, to present a highly readable history of federal education policy, from WWII to the Obama administration. The book highlights the key players who helped shape federal policy because, as Cross writes in his introduction, ''policy development is woven of personalities, events, and timing.'' This fascinating chronicle demonstrates, among other things, how federal policy has been a constant influence on what states and local districts do, especially with respect to students most at-risk.
February 13, 2015
Karl Alexander, Academy Professor and Research Professor of Sociology, Johns Hopkins University
West Baltimore stands out in the popular imagination as the quintessential “inner city.” Indeed, with the collapse of manufacturing jobs in the 1970s, the area experienced a rapid onset of poverty and high unemployment, with few public resources available to alleviate economic distress. But in stark contrast to the image of a perpetual “urban underclass” depicted in television by shows like The Wire, sociologists Karl Alexander, Doris Entwisle, and Linda Olson present a more nuanced portrait of Baltimore’s inner-city residents that employs important new research on the significance of early life opportunities available to low-income populations.
The Long Shadow focuses on children who grew up in West Baltimore neighborhoods and others like them throughout the city, tracing how their early lives in the inner city have affected their long-term well-being. Although research for this book was conducted in Baltimore, that city’s struggles with deindustrialization, White flight, and concentrated poverty were characteristic of most East Coast and Midwest manufacturing cities. The experience of Baltimore’s children who came of age during this era is mirrored in the experiences of urban children across the nation.
December 19, 2015
Maurice Sykes, Director, Early Childhood Leadership Institute, University of the District of Columbia
Maurice Sykes has made advocating for and advancing high-quality early childhood education his life's work. Through mentorships, presentations, and personal example, Maurice challenges and inspires educators to become effective leaders who make a difference in children's lives. He does the same in his book, Doing the Right Thing for Children: Eight Qualities of Leadership as he shares stories of the hills and valleys of his personal and professional journeys throughout the presentation of eight core leadership values: human potential, knowledge, social justice, competence, fun and enjoyment, personal renewal, perseverance, and courage.
October 31, 2015
Kathleen Fulton, Writer and Education Consultant
Is “flipped education” simply the latest fad in education, or will it change the pedagogy of education and expand the horizons of teachers and students? Kathleen Fulton believes the flipped classroom has the potential for bringing instructional reforms to education. In this Educational Policy Forum, she shared her experiences and perspective on the use of flipped classrooms in the K-12 settings in math and science education.
Kathleen’s perspective is shaped by her many experiences working with technology and by having witnessed the many promising innovations that ultimately failed to be sustainable. She shared her observations of the applications of “flipping” in K-12 education, with special emphasis on STEM education. She also discussed the essential technological core of flipped classrooms and the challenges faced by teachers and schools systems in achieving successful learning outcomes.