Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Upcoming Webinar: Charter Schools, Race, and Urban Space Where the Market Meets Grassroots Resistance

Webinar/Seminar: Dr. Kristen Buras – Charter Schools, Race, and Urban Space Where the Market Meets Grassroots Resistance (Tue, April 7th, 1pm (PDT)/3pm (CDT))

Dear colleagues and friends,

You are cordially invited to join the upcoming webinar/seminar on the Marketization and Privatization in Education seminar series. The next session, with Dr. Kristen Buras (bio below), is on Charter Schools, Race, and Urban Space Where the Market Meets Grassroots Resistance (abstract below).

This seminar will take place at 1pm (PDT)/ 3pm (CDT) on April 7th (Tue), 2015. There are three possible methods of joining the seminar.

(1) If you would like to attend in person in Vancouver, please come to Scarfe 308A, UBC (Vancouver campus). Map at: http://www.maps.ubc.ca/PROD/index_detail.php?show=y,n,n,n,n,y&bldg2Search=n&locat1=240-1

(2) If you are attending in person in Urbana-Champaign, please come to #22 in College of Education, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

(3) If you are joining the webinar, please go to http://bluejeans.com/ and click “Join meeting” as a participant and enter Meeting ID: 305154344 Please join us 10 minutes prior to the meeting time so that we can ensure everyone’s audio and video work properly.

For webinar participants, please (1) mute your microphone, (2) turn off your video feed, and (3) do not share screen. If you would like to ask questions or need technical assistance, please use the 'CHAT' typing function.

**To give us a better idea of how many attendees/participants we may have, please RSVP by filling out the form:


For questions or other assistance, please send a message to Ee-Seul Yoon (eeseul@gmail.com) or Dwayne Cover (dcover@alumni.ubc.ca).

Hope you can join us.


Ee-Seul Yoon and Christopher Lubienski​ at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
Dwayne Cover at the University of British Columbia


Charter schools have been promoted as an equitable and innovative solution to the problems plaguing urban schools. Advocates claim that charter schools benefit working-class students of color by offering them access to a “portfolio” of school choices. In Charter Schools, Race, and Urban Space, Kristen Buras presents a very different account. Her case study of New Orleans—where veteran teachers were fired en masse and the nation’s first all-charter school district was developed—shows that such reform is less about the needs of racially oppressed communities and more about the production of an urban space economy in which white entrepreneurs capitalize on black children and neighborhoods. In this revealing book, Buras draws on critical theories of race, political economy, and space, as well as a decade of research on the ground to expose the criminal dispossession of black teachers and students who have contributed to New Orleans’ culture and history. Mapping federal, state, and local policy networks, she shows the city’s landscape has been reshaped by a strategic venture to privatize public education. She likewise chronicles grassroots efforts to defend historic schools and neighborhoods against this assault, revealing a commitment to equity and place and articulating a vision of change that is sure to inspire heated debate among communities nationwide.

* If you are interested in buying her book, please see the attached discount book flier.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Expertise, Advocacy, and Media Influence: Lessons in the Aftermath of an Academic Study’s Publication

Recently, Dr. Christopher Lubienski and I were pleased to have our research, regarding media influence in education, published in the journal Education Policy Analysis Archives (EPAA). Better yet, and with irony in light of study topic and findings,[1]our work generated some media influence of its own. Organizations such as Media Matters and the Australian (see here and here) covered the article, as did education writers like Alexander Russo (see here). We even learned (via a Tweet, of course) that Randi Weingarten, President of the American Federation of Teachers, referenced our work at an event. Because one of the discussion points of the paper was that scholars should strive to share their findings and knowledge in new and social media,[2] I’ve decided to use this blog post to share a few reflections.[3] Specifically, I consider why this study might have received some attention, focusing mostly upon actionable explanations.

First, let’s get the possibly self-serving why-did-this-study-generate-media-attention? explanations out of the way, shall we? Perhaps the study was simply so elegant, awe-inspiring, etc., that it could not be denied air time! Although I did think it was a fine study, thank you very much, in the end this explanation has limited utility. A closely related possibility, that one of the authors (Dr. Lubienski, of course) is of such professional stature that his authorship alone commands a bump in notice, likely offers some additional insight. Finally, the topic of study might itself have resonated; perhaps the study fits within the interests of a critical mass of colleagues and citizens. The possibilities of media bias, or of undue media influence, after all, certainly generate ongoing attention and concern. So, in these ways we have probably partially explained the interest that the article generated.

But, surely there must be more to the story? There is. Below, I offer what I believe to be the strongest reasons why the article generated new and traditional media attention:

1. Most likely first and foremost, the University of Illinois’ News Bureau took the initiative to professionally describe our work. Not only did they summarize the essence of the study, but they included a flattering photograph and subsequently executed their news release processes. It was only following their coverage that I witnessed a significant bump in interest in the research.

2. Also of major importance, the article was published in a high quality, open-access journal. Contrast this, for instance, with publishing in a restricted-access journal that is accessible to few individuals. EPAA “provides immediate open access to its content on the principle that making research freely available to the public supports a greater global exchange of knowledge.” This journal has a considerable social media presence as well, actively seeking to maximize readership of its published work. Their efforts no doubt assisted in getting the word out, so to speak, and I believe their mission is noble.

3. Related, Dr. Lubienski in particular (and I tried…) welcomed the interest that emerged and even helped to amplify it. For instance, Dr. Lubienski (who as of the writing of the article had 2,103 Twitter followers to my mere 65), tweeted the following, and it was re-tweeted 20 times. While this may not constitute “break the internet” popularity, neither is it trifling:

With this in mind, here are a few takeaways. First, I’ll stand behind one of our closing arguments: “…academic researchers who wish to see that their scholarly work has impact beyond their academic audience may want to devote a greater share of their attention to the art of communication via traditional and new media.” While I have no more than a childlike grasp of this art as yet, at least I now comprehend that there is one, and it can be learned. For those who, like me, are a bit squeamish about anything that resembles tooting one’s own horn, I believe this is a feeling that needs to be overcome if one wishes to make a policy influence these days. I also suggest that higher education institutions or other organizations invest (or continue to invest) in strategic communication efforts so as to increase the consumption of research that is being produced, and scholars may consider leveraging these groups by encouraging them to cover their work. The University of Illinois’ News Bureau offered a terrific blueprint, and the results demonstrate that their efforts were worthwhile. Lastly, individuals should consider the implications of pursuing publication in open, versus restricted, access outlets. As we had stated in closing our article, “In the absence of these and other steps, policy changes in the realm of education will too often continue to be guided more so by ideology and agendas than by research.”

by Joe Malin

Joel R. Malin is a Doctor of Philosophy student in the Department of Education Policy, Organization and Leadership and Curriculum Specialist at the Pathways Resource Center at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He is also a fellow with the Forum on the Future of Public Education, and serves as a research and data analysis consultant for Lake Forest School District 67 (Illinois). His research interests include the underpinnings and practical implications of educational policies, and mentorship and leadership capacity development.

The Forum on the Future of Public Education strives to bring the best empirical evidence to policymakers and the public. The Forum draws on a network of premier scholars to create, interpret, and disseminate credible information on key questions facing P-20 education.


[1] Long story short, we found that (a) the relationship between expertise and media influence appears to be weak; and (b) some educational advocacy organizations are effectively entering the media stream by way of individuals they back as topical experts.

[2] Else their voice will more likely be absent or underrepresented in public discourse, policy decision making, etc.

[3] I wrote these reflections without conferring with Dr. Lubienski, so the views expressed may not capture his.

E-Advocacy and E-vidence: How do Bloggers Participate in Education Reform?

Networks of intermediary organizations (IONs) are penetrating the education policy space with a range of ideas and “evidence,” brokering knowledge to policy actors and the public at large. Increasingly, we are observing IOs gaining traction as key players in advocacy and policymaking in the U.S. public education sector around tenuous reforms such as charter schools, merit pay, vouchers, and Parent Trigger. Operating in a myriad of forms, IONs often include a mix of the “big three” foundations (i.e. Gates, Walton, Broad), advocacy groups, think tanks, academic research networks, policy groups, and journalists. Several articles from our research study on evidence use among IOs and policymakers give empirical accounts of this phenomenon at the national and local levels in Denver, New York City, and New Orleans (see Further Reading).
The blogosphere is one avenue through which individual IOs and IONs broker knowledge around the abovementioned reforms. Advocacy groups such as Parent Revolution, higher profile outfits such as EdWeek, and individuals with branded blogs such as Jason France’s Crazy Crawfish are engaging almost entirely in “E-Advocacy,” promoting and disseminating evidence via their blogs. Although bloggers continue to create and fill the ever-evolving marketplace of ideas with commentary on hotly contested education reforms, we have little understanding of the character of advocacy in the blogosphere. More specifically, we know little about who is blogging and bloggers’ affiliations, purposes, and target audiences. Additionally, more nuanced questions regarding bloggers’ perceptions of the role of evidence in policymaking and how bloggers treat or use evidence are also not well understood. To explore these questions, we talked with 14 bloggers and tracked 741 blog posts from 37 blogs between 2011 and 2015. In this pilot analysis of our interview data and blog posts from 2014, we observed several noteworthy trends that shed light on the role of the blogosphere in the supply and demand of evidence in the IO sector and in education policymaking.

1) Who’s Who: Three main groups of education policy bloggers are educators, university researchers, and intermediary organizations. Typically, educators and university researchers blog independently, while multiple authors publish blogs for intermediary organizations. Active university researcher bloggers include Diane Ravitch, Sara Goldrick-Rab, Bruce Baker, and Rick Hess, and educators who blog include Anthony Cody, Carol Burris, and Mark Weber. Multiple-authored intermediary organization blogs include those of National Education Policy Center, EdWeek, Flypaper, and Chalkbeat. In the past year, bloggers have started to coalesce around positionality on reforms. In particular, we find that bloggers who oppose corporate education reform are organizing with one another, and Diane Ravitch is integral to these networks.

2) Aims: While bloggers’ target audiences appear to be their own affiliates (e.g. educators write for educators), university researchers and bloggers from advocacy organizations expressed a specific interest in targeting policymakers, also. We found that bloggers publish in order to advocate for and against; provide journalistic accounts of policy, politics, and movements of; and correct misunderstood or misused evidence around the abovementioned reforms. In terms of issue-specific aims, data suggest that the issue of charter schools consumed the blogosphere in 2014. In the 398 blogs posts we tracked from 17 different education policy blogs in 2014, the issues examined were as follows: 73% charters, 23% vouchers, 4% Parent Trigger, and less than 1% merit pay. We suspect that the tremendous amount of dialogue on charter schools in the blogosphere was a response to the series of CREDO reports released in 2013. Also, bloggers and representatives of intermediary organizations reported that they felt merit pay was a “settled” issue and lacked viability, despite that the $45 million Gates Foundation funded Measures of Effective Teaching project released several reports of findings from 2011 to 2014.

3) Beliefs About Evidence: Reflecting upon the role of evidence in education policymaking generally and in the blogosphere specifically, bloggers reported that evidence garners credibility both for reform itself and for the individual(s) blogging about said reform. Bloggers perceived that evidence is drawn upon, and at times “manipulated,” to justify positions and decisions about education reforms. Furthermore, individuals draw upon evidence to “have numbers in their pocket” as well as gain influence upon and actively participate in decision-making on reform. In reporting these beliefs, many bloggers expressed that the “trustworthiness” and “validity” of evidence is complicated by increasing pressure to publish blogs in “real time” and poor access to raw data and empirical research.

4) Using Evidence (see Table 1): In the 398 blog posts from 17 different education policy blogs in 2014, we observed that bloggers used 26 different types of evidence. Overall, bloggers took five approaches to evidence use, and sometimes they drew upon more than one approach in their posts. Most often bloggers used Web-based and multimedia sources of evidence such as the author’s previous blog posts, posts from other blogs, Tweets, websites, videos, photographs, and podcasts. Second most often bloggers drew upon news (e.g. newspaper articles, magazines, press releases) or research from intermediary organization-authored reports, academic journal articles, visual representations of quantitative data, and books. In some instances, bloggers referenced documents including policy briefs, legislation, tax returns, PowerPoint presentations, and official school documents. Finally, in a few cases, bloggers did not cite evidence at all. The most blog activity in our 2014 sample was in the five separate EdWeek (reported in sum), Jay P. Greene, and Jersey Jazzman blogs. We found that Jersey Jazzman referred to forms of research more often than any other blog, while EdWeek bloggers relied heavily upon Web-based evidence, specifically their own blog posts.

These trends provide an initial understanding of evidence use and advocacy in the blogosphere. By characterizing those involved in E-advocacy and bloggers’ aims, perceptions of evidence, and the types of evidence that bloggers draw upon, we have established a baseline account of how evidence features in E-advocacy IO networks in U.S. educational policymaking.

Priya Goel is a joint Ph.D.-MBA student. Her Ph.D. focus is in education administration; and her MBA foci are entrepreneurship and general management. Priya's research interests include identity in P-12 leadership, globalization and curriculum, and parent engagement in school policy.

The Forum on the Future of Public Education strives to bring the best empirical evidence to policymakers and the public. The Forum draws on a network of premier scholars to create, interpret, and disseminate credible information on key questions facing P-20 education

Further Reading

DeBray, E., Scott, J., Lubienski, C., & Jabbar, H. (2014). Intermediary organizations in charter school policy coalitions: Evidence from New Orleans. Educational Policy 28(2), 175-206. doi: 10.1177/0895904813514132

Goldie, D., Linic, M., Jabbar, H., Lubienski, C. (2014). Using bibliometric and social media analyses to explore the “echo chamber” hypothesis. Educational Policy 28(2), 281-305. doi: 10.1177/0895904813515330

Jabbar, H., La Londe, P. G., DeBray, E. H., Scott, J. T., & Lubienski, C. A. (2014). How policymakers define “evidence”: The politics of research use in New Orleans. Policy Futures in Education, 12(8), 1013-1027. doi: 10.2304/pfie.2014.12.8.1013

Lubienski, C., Scott, J., & DeBray, E. (2014). The politics of research production, promotion, and utilization in educational policy. Educational Policy 28(2), 1-14. doi: 10.1177/0895904813515329 

Lubienski, C., Scott, J., & DeBray, E. (2011). The rise of intermediary organizations in knowledge production, advocacy, and educational policy (ID No. 16487). Teachers College Record. Available from http://www.tcrecord.org

Scott, J., & Jabbar, H. (2013). Money and measures: Foundations as knowledge brokers. In D. Anagnostopoulos, S. Rutledge & R. Jacobsen (Eds.), The infrastructure of accountability: Mapping data use and its consequences across the American education system (pp. 75-92). Cambridge: Harvard Education Press.

Scott, J., & Jabbar, H. (2014). The Hub and the Spokes: Foundations, Intermediary Organizations, Incentivist Reforms, and the Politics of Research Evidence. Educational Policy, 28(3), pp. 233-257. doi:10.1177/0895904813515327

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

“One Format to Rule Them All,” Or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the MOOC

Among the myriad battles that comprise the existential wars over the fate of higher education in the 21st century, the controversy over Massive Open Online Courses—or MOOCs—seems to have all the elements of a Tolkienesque epic. Like the protagonists ensconced in the mighty fortress of Helm’s Deep, many traditional universities view their educational way of life under assault from massive hordes of the untraditional, unadmitted, undegreed, and un-sold on the trappings of higher education as it has previously existed. Instead, these “students” opt in and out of vast online courses designed by professors and other specialists, but piloted by armies of teaching assistants and adjuncts. They engage in the learning process until they acquire the competencies they need, freed from Byzantine admissions processes, majors of dubious value, years’ worth of tuitions, and the seemingly unending parade of fees that often finance services that these students neither want nor need. Indeed, advocates of MOOCs may very well argue that their approach is truly “one format to rule them all.”

But, bad Lord of the Rings parallels aside, the arguments against MOOCs are numerous and well-publicized. As Justin Pope noted in The MIT Technology Review, efforts to establish and sustain MOOCs have encountered faculty resistance, suffered from low completion rates, high dropout rates, and the general inability to make MOOCs a financially viable concept. Equally problematic, studies have indicated that males, younger students, students of color, and students with lower grade point averages were particularly at-risk of failure in MOOC environments.  No wonder, then, that many in higher education began to consider MOOCs to be an idea whose guaranteed demise had yet to come, relegating the idea to the proverbial dust-heap of failed educational concepts.

Perhaps, however, critics may have been too hasty in heralding the MOOC’s demise. While there are arguably issues with which MOOC designers and students must contend, MOOCs have great potential in terms of the capacity of such courses to individualize learning to meet the particular needs of the students enrolled, their competency-based orientation, their scalability, and their potential for cost effectiveness. Ironically, one need only look at educator preparation and educator professional development as an example of what the future may hold for MOOCs. The Friday Institute for Educational Innovation at North Carolina State University has engaged in initiatives with university faculty, as well as local and state educational authorities, to create “MOOC-Eds” that are designed to enable P-12 teachers to obtain the professional development needed to master the curricular, pedagogical, and technological skills required for effective teaching and learning. Far from the “mega-course” environment where students work in isolation from the faculty who designed the courses, the MOOC-Eds are much smaller, “niche MOOCS,” designed to meet the needs of a particular audience of students. Such is the value of these more personalized MOOCs that the Friday Institute has received interest and support from organizations as diverse as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Harvard. In addition to the immediate benefits for the educators engaged in MOOC-Eds, the courses also demonstrate how MOOCs can enable education preparation programs to meet the technology standards embedded in the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation and other accreditation and regulatory bodies. Thus, the concept of flexibility and nimbleness may be added to the potential benefits of MOOC education.

Finally, through partnerships such as the one between MIT and Harvard, MOOCs are entering into the K-12 environment. Under this joint program, high school students who are preparing for Advance Placement exams will have access to 26 MOOC courses offered by 14 institutions of higher learning, including MIT, Rice, and the University of California, Berkeley.  As is the case in higher education, K-12 education finds particular potential in MOOCS that engage in competency-based learning which embed interactive experiences for students that they may not otherwise have in traditional classroom settings. Although the spread of K-12 MOOCs has been slow, the course offerings are expanding, and organizations such as edX appear to be committed to facilitating the growth of MOOCs into the primary and secondary educational environments.

It would be naïve to argue that MOOCs will spell the end of the university as we know it. Helm’s Deep will not fall. It would be equally naïve, however, to dismiss the potential that MOOCs have to make education broader, deeper, more democratic, and more accessible-all the while providing students a more personalized, optimized, and intimate learning experience. Over time and with continued dedication to improving how MOOCs are developed and delivered, these courses can provide an innovative way to ensure that higher education and the institutions that provide it stay relevant for the near and distant future.

Scott T. Grubbs is the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (C.A.E.P.) Coordinator for the James and Dorothy Dewar College of Education and Human Services at Valdosta State University. Scott is a Ph.D. candidate in Educational Policy and Evaluation at the Florida State University and is a 2013 David L. Clarke National Graduate Student Research Seminar participant. His research interests include educational politics, educational program evaluation and accreditation, and applied professional ethics.

The Forum on the Future of Public Education strives to bring the best empirical evidence to policymakers and the public. The Forum draws on a network of premier scholars to create, interpret, and disseminate credible information on key questions facing P-20 education

Friday, March 06, 2015

Impact of Privatization/Marketization on Teacher Preparation & the Teaching Profession

The Forum on the Future of Public Education presents:

The Impact of Privatization/Marketization on Teacher Preparation & the Teaching Profession

April 13-14
Alice Campbell Alumni Center
Detailed Schedule Below

Research Presented By:

Tina Trujillo, University of California, Berkley
Tina Trujillo, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor at UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Education. She earned her Ph.D. in Education from UCLA and her M.A. in Education from the University of Colorado, Boulder. She uses tools from political science and critical policy studies to study the political dimensions of urban district reform, the instructional and democratic consequences of high-stakes accountability policies for students of color and English Learners, and trends in urban educational leadership. Her work is published in a range of journals, including American Educational Research Journal, Teachers College Record, Journal of Educational Administration, and Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis.

Deron Boyles, Georgia State University
Deron Boyles, Ph.D. is Professor of Philosophy of Education in the Department of Educational Policy Studies at Georgia State University. His research interests include school commercialism, epistemology, critical pedagogy, and the philosophy of John Dewey. His work has been published in such journals as Philosophy of Education, Social Epistemology, Journal of Thought, Education & Culture, Philosophical Studies in Education, Inter-American Journal of Philosophy, Educational Foundations, Journal of Curriculum Theory, History of Education Quarterly, Educational Studies, and Educational Theory. His first book, American Education and Corporations: The Free Market Goes to School won the Critics’ Choice Award from AESA in 2000. He is editor of two books, Schools or Markets?: Commercialism, Privatization, and School-Business Partnerships (2005), and The Corporate Assault on Youth:  Commercialism, Exploitation, and the End of Innocence (2008). Boyles received his Ph.D. from Vanderbilt University in 1991, is a Fellow in the Philosophy of Education Society, Past-President of the American Educational Studies Association, and Past-President of the John Dewey Society. 

Carmen Montecinos, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso
Carmen Montecinos, Ph.D., obtained an undergraduate degree in psychology from Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, and a master's and doctorate in educational psychology from Southern Illinois University-Carbondale.  She is currently a professor of psychology at Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso, Chile, teaching undergraduate and doctoral level courses in educational psychology and research methods. Since 2008 she has been a Senior Researcher at the Centro de Investigación Avanzada en Educación (CIAE-Universidad de Chile).  Her research focuses on workplace learning in initial teacher education, school improvement and educational policy.  Her most recent publications include: School Administrators and University Practicum Supervisors as Boundary Brokers for Initial Teacher Education in Chile (in press); A goal orientation analysis of teachers’ motivations to participate in the school self-assessment processes of a quality assurance system in Chile (2014); Master teachers as professional developers: Managing conflicting versions of professionalism (2014).   Her current research project examines situated learning among novice school principals (Grant FONDECYT Nº 1140906) with Ahumada L., Leiva, V., & Galdames, S. (co- PI).

Anthony Cody, Living in Dialogue
Anthony Cody taught middle school science in Oakland for 18 years, and served as a science coach for another six years before retiring in 2011. He was among Oakland's first National Board certified teachers and helped to organize the 2011 Save Our Schools march in Washington, DC. In 2013 he co-founded the Network for Public Education. He hosts the widely read blog, Living in Dialogue, and now lives in Mendocino County, California. 

Adrienne Dixson, University of Illinois, UC
Adrienne Dixson, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor in the Department of Education Policy, Organization and Leadership at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.  Her research interests focus on how issues of race, class and gender intersect and impact educational equity in urban schooling contexts. Her research is located within two theoretical frameworks: Critical Race Theory and Black feminist theories. Most recently, she is interested in how educational equity is mediated by school reform policies in the urban south.  Dixson received her Ph.D. in Multicultural Education from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, an M.A. in Educational Studies from the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, and a B.A. in Music Theory and Composition from Youngstown State University.

Beth Sondel, North Carolina State University
Beth Sondel, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor at North Carolina State University.  Her research partners critical theory with qualitative research to interrogate the potential for public schools to perpetuate and/or interrupt social inequalities. More specifically, Sondel looks at the effects of privatization and market-based reform on the social justice and democratic purposes of schooling. Recently, she has addressed these issues through qualitative case studies and critical policy network analyses of Teach For America's role in promoting and implementing market-based reform in New Orleans and elsewhere.  Sondel received her Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction-Curriculum Theory and Design from the University of Wisconsin, a M.Ed. in Education Policy and Management Studies from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and a B.A. in Cultural Anthropology from the University of Wisconsin.

Greg Harmon, Dominican University
Greg Harman has been an Assistant Professor in the School of Education at Dominican University for five years.  He teaches history, philosophy, psychology, and social studies methods.  He directs the social studies teaching programs and also works with Dominican's alternative preparation program with Teach For America (TFA), serving as the academic advisor for all the secondary TFA teachers in Chicago. Before coming to Dominican, he was an instructor at Elmhurst College, and prior to that, was a social studies teacher in the Twin Cities area.  His research interests are in education as dialogue and skepticism regarding the essentialist standards regime.  He earned his Ed.D. from Hamline University, his M.Ed. from North Carolina State University, and a BA from Johns Hopkins University.

Chris Tienken, Seton Hall University
Christopher Tienken, Ed.D., is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Education Leadership, Management, and Policy at Seton Hall University. Tienken's research interests include school reform issues such as Neo-liberal influences in education policy-making, the influence of curriculum design and development on student achievement, and the use of high-stakes standardized tests as decision-making tools to determine school quality and student learning. He was awarded the Kappa Delta Pi Truman Kelley Award for Outstanding Scholarship in 2013 and received the National Staff Development Council award for Best Research in 2008. His new book, with co-author Don Orlich is titled, The School Reform Landscape: Fraud, Myth, and Lies. Tienken has ongoing research collaborations with colleagues at the Universita` degli Studi Roma Tre, Rome, (University of Rome) Italy, the University of Catania, Sicily, and he was named as a visiting scholar at both universities.

Suzanne Wilson, National Council for Teacher Quality
Suzanne M. Wilson, Ph.D. is a Neag Endowed Professor of Teacher Education at the University of Connecticut in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction.  Her undergraduate degree is in history and American Studies from Brown University; she also has a M.S. in Statistics and a Ph.D. in Education from Stanford University.  She was a University Distinguished Professor in the Department of Teacher Education at Michigan State University, where she served on the faculty for 26 years.  Wilson also served as the first director of the Teacher Assessment Project (PI, Lee Shulman), which developed prototype assessments for the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. While at MSU, Wilson collaborated on the National Center for Research on Teacher Education/Teacher Learning, the Educational Policy and Practice Study, and the National Partnership for Excellence and Accountability in Teaching.  She has written on teacher knowledge, curriculum reform, educational policy, and teacher learning. Her current work concerns exploring measures of teaching and teachers for teacher education and education research, as well as a study of the contemporary and jurisdictional battles over who should control teacher preparation and licensure.  Wilson serves on multiple advisory boards; she is also a member of the National Research Council’s Board on Science Education and the National Academy of Education.

Event Hosted By:

Christopher Lubienski, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Christopher Lubienski is a Professor of education policy, and the Director of the Forum on the Future of Public Education at the University of Illinois.  He is also a fellow with the National Education Policy Center at the University of Colorado and Sir Walter Murdoch Visiting Professor at Murdoch University in Western Australia.  He is convener and co-director of the World Education Research Association’s International Research Network on “marketization and privatization in education.” His research focuses on education policy, reform, and the political economy of education, with a particular concern for issues of equity and access.  His current work examines organizational responses to competitive conditions in local education markets, including geo-spatial analyses of charter schools in post-Katrina New Orleans, and research on innovation in education markets for the OECD.  After earning a PhD in education policy and social analysis at Michigan State University, Lubienski held post-doctoral fellowships with the National Academy of Education and with the Advanced Studies Program at Brown University.  He was recently named a Fulbright Senior Scholar for New Zealand, where he studies school policies and student enrollment patterns.  He is lead PI of a multi-year project on intermediary organizations’ ability to influence the use of research evidence in the policymaking process (with Elizabeth DeBray and Janelle Scott).  He has authored both theoretical and empirical journal articles on questions of innovation and achievement in school choice systems, including peer-reviewed articles in the American Journal of Education, the Oxford Review of Education, the American Educational Research Journal, Educational Policy, and the Congressional Quarterly Researcher.  His work has been featured in news media, including the New York Times, Washington Post, La Liberacion, Time Magazine, the Wall Street Journal, the Times Education Supplement, and Business Week.  In addition to School Choice Policies and Outcomes: Empirical and Philosophical Perspectives (with Walter Feinberg, SUNY Press, 2008), Lubienski recently published The Charter School Experiment: Expectations, Evidence, and Implications (with Peter Weitzel, Harvard Education Press).  His new book, The Public School Advantage: Why Public Schools Outperform Private Schools (with Sarah Theule Lubienski, University of Chicago Press), won the 2015 PROSE Award for Education Theory from the American Publishers Awards for Professional and Scholarly Excellence. 

T. Jameson Brewer, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
T. Jameson Brewer is an advanced Ph.D. student of educational policy studies and Associate Director of the Forum on the Future of Public Education at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He earned a M.S. in Social Foundations of Education from Georgia State University, a B.S.Ed. in Secondary Education from Valdosta State University, and is a former high school history teacher from Atlanta Public Schools.  His research focuses on the impact(s) of privatization/marketization of public schools by way of charters, vouchers, and Teach For America. His work has been published in Educational Studies, Critical Education, the Peabody Journal of Education, Education Policy Analysis Archives, the International Journal of Play, the National Educational Policy Center, Harvard University’s Scholars Strategy Network, Education Week, and the Progressive Magazine’s Public School Shakedown.  He is co-Editor of the forthcoming book Teach For America Counter Narratives: Alumni Speak Up and Speak Out (Peter Lang, 2015).
Send Questions/Comments to Jameson Brewer (tbrewer2@illinois.edu)

Conference Schedule

Monday, April 13, 2015:
9:00a: Introductions
9:30a: Paper 1 (Tienken)
10:30a: Discussion
11:00a: Paper 2 (Trujillo)
12:00p: Discussion
12:30p: Break
2:00p: Paper 3 (Wilson)
3:00p: Discussion
3:30p: Paper 4 (Boyles)
4:30p: Discussion
5:00p: Paper 5 (Sondel)
6:00p: Discussion

Tuesday, April 14, 2015:
9:00a: Introductions
9:30a: Paper 6 (Dixson)
10:30a: Discussion
11:00a: Paper 7 (Montesinos)
12:00p: Discussion
12:30p: Break
2:00p: Paper 8 (Cody)
3:00p: Discussion
3:30p: Paper 9 (Harmon)
4:30p: Discussion

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Stop Acting Surprised Over Higher Education Budget Cuts from Tea-Party Associated Governors, It is What They Do

Recently, the media and internet has been blowing up over the higher education [HE] budget cuts proposed by Tea-Party associated governors:  Scott Walker (WI), Bobby Jindal (LA), Doug Ducey (AZ), and Bruce Rauner (IL).  However, these cuts should not be surprising to anyone as these governors ran on platforms clearly indicating they would be balancing budgets without generating additional revenue through increased taxes.  Obviously, sans raising taxes the only action to balance budgets is to cut spending.  Generally, HE is an easy to slash because costs will shift to students who have access to student loans.  Together these governors’ solutions are indicating that public HE is not a social priority.  This blog surveys the four governors and explains why people must stop being “surprised” when a Tea Party governor eviscerates HE revenue.

First, Walker  and Jindal are discussed together because of the perceived motive for their budget cuts, a desire for a 2016 presidential run.  Both have proposed $300 million dollar budget cuts to their respective HE systems.  Walker’s cuts equal to 13% of the Wisconsin system and is dispersed over the course of two years.  In comparison, Jindal’s are far more drastic cutting one-third of LSU system’s revenue in a single year.   Jindal’s attack on Louisiana’s HE system is long standing; since 2008, his policies have resulted in the reduction of $700 million to public HE.  Showing little care or understanding for how his actions affect LSU, when asked about the cost of tuition to attend LSU he stated, “It’s certainly well under $10,000 when you look at fees and housing.”   Actually, it is double.   Jindal’s proposed $300 million cuts are so extreme that even Republicans in his state are standing against him.  Although Jindal is not making friends at home, he does not need them. Like Walker, to fulfill his goals he now needs friends in Iowa.   Unlike Jindal, we do not have a long standing trend to examine the effects of Walker’s proposals.  However, before showing interest in a presidential bid Wisconsin’s system has held national average tuition.   Presumably, Wisconsin should expect this trend to change due to Walker’s newly adopted “Go Big and Go Bold” attitude; which was unveiled during a trip to Iowa.  

While not as extreme as the previous two, Ducey is looking to remove $75 million (10%) from HE in 2016.  Similarly to Louisiana, Arizona has experienced continued decreases in appropriations.  His predecessor Governor Jan Brewer , a Tea Party associate cut HE budgets just as harsh as Louisiana until her exit when she proposed a no-growth budget.  Although new to the governorship, Ducey came out strong as his proposed cuts for 2016 will be one of the largest single cuts for the AZ system.  With another Tea Party governor in office, the public institutions in Arizona should brace for continued declines.

Unlike the other governors in this list, Rauner’s net worth puts him near the billionaire class; therefore, he was less reliant on external funds to create the pathway towards governorship. Of the $65.3 million spent on his campaign 42% ($27.6 million) was self-injected money.   While Rauner may not “owe” external financiers, increased reports are suggesting that Rauner holds deep financial and ideological links to groups associated with the Tea Party, which may not align with the “moderate” platform touted during the election.  Aligning more closely with Tea Party ideology and trends, Rauner recently unleashed a budget proposal that introduces a massive 31% ($387m) cut in HE.  While universities were expecting double digit cuts, 30% was surprising even to university presidents - ISU’s Deitz, “Frankly, I’m in a bit of shock… [A 31% cut] was never talked about anywhere.”    However, in November 2014 it was reported that Rauner was eyeing a 30% cut to higher education; unfortunately people were not paying attention. 

These policies leave higher education vulnerable, so we should expect: (1) higher tuition and fees, (2) students across all SES to take out more student loans, (3) more parent plus loans, and (4) more out-of-state and international student enrollments, and (5) expect more cuts.  Additionally, we must stop acting surprised when Tea Party associated governors enact policies that gut HE as there is evidence that this is their mode of operation. 

Undoubtedly, there is a Tea Party agenda against publicly supported HE.  Knowing the Tea Party agenda to defund most governmental processes associated to the social good, let us not act shocked when the shell game hits HE. It should be expected and institutions need to stop wasting time being “shocked.”  Learn to fight or prepare to be state-based, not state-supported, institutions.   

Daniel A. Collier is a PhD student at the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana in the Education Organization and Leadership program. Daniel specializes in Higher Education research where through an evaluative research specialization he focuses on how policies and politics affect higher education.

The Forum on the Future of Public Education strives to bring the best empirical evidence to policymakers and the public. The Forum draws on a network of premier scholars to create, interpret, and disseminate credible information on key questions facing P-20 education.