“But taking a look at Trump’s proposals against a long history of racial and religious surveillance provides a larger, and even more disturbing landscape. Because, for one, it is shocking to find that this kind of program is nothing new. And, second, programs like the ones he’s suggesting have provided no discernible benefit for the shame of betraying the rights of our neighbors.”
The U.S. Department of Education Office of Special Education Programs recently awarded associate professors Robin Codding and Amanda Sullivan with a$1,192,606 leadership development grant (over five years from 2016-2021). The project, Leaders Enhancing Evidence-based Practices (Project LEEP), funds fellowships designed to prepare future faculty in school psychology with expertise in applying and sustaining evidence-based practices to schools. Five students in the Department of Educational Psychology’s school psychology program were awarded LEEP fellowships: Jordan Thayer, Alaa Houri, Aria Fiat, Kourtney McNallan, and Madeline Larson.
Project LEEP fellows are trained in: data-based decision making; development and evaluation of evidence-based practices; prevention and intervention using evidence-based practices, and consultation and translation of interventions; as well as leadership competencies in instruction and mentoring in higher education, and research and dissemination. Students receiving the award must complete a variety of experiences—coursework in research methods and statistics, research related to multi tier systems of support (MTSS), and apprenticeships with faculty with related research interests.
In addition, fellows attend monthly pro-seminars that provide professional development opportunities for pursuing a career as a faculty member. Past pro-seminar topics have included: finding your “fit” in a faculty position based on professional values and goals; types of faculty positions available in the field of school psychology; and what is tenure and how to successfully achieve it. Future Project LEEP pro-seminars will help fellows identify their professional goals and structure training plans to meet the benchmarks needed to obtain a faculty position upon graduation.
Frances Vavrus, professor in the Department of Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development (OLPD), was an invited speaker in the Faculty of Education and Social Work Dean’s Lecture Series, which is part of the University of Sydney Ideas program. The lecture, entitled When ‘What Works’ Doesn’t: Comparative Pedagogies and Epistemological Diversity in Education, was presented on Wednesday, November 16th. Professor Vavrus was a Visiting Researcher at the University of Sydney for the month of November.
“When teaching about the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), U.S. teachers are often confronted with a dearth of accurate and nuanced material about the history, politics and people of the region. This crisis of critical awareness mainly materializes through two recurring narratives that circulate in mainstream media, political discourse and popular culture: “Islam as anti-Western” and conflict fueled by “ancient hatreds.”
Opportunity gaps among children in our society are growing, and part of the problem is how we assess and educate them. Michael Rodriguez, Campbell Leadership Chair in Education and Human Development, co-director of the Educational Equity Resource Center, and professor in the Department of Educational Psychology’s quantitative methods in education program, is being featured in this year’s Driven to Discover campaign for his work to close these gaps by helping schools understand how to work with diverse students, families, and communities. View the campaign.
Dr. Khalifa offers a critical historical analysis of the religious oppression of Muslim peoples. He surfaces how, with a greater understanding of historical oppression and religious persecution of Islam, educators can better understand and disrupt school practices that create unsafe learning environments for Muslim students. Further, Dr. Khalifa discusses how educators can use this information to reflect upon their own assumptions and biases about religious stereotyping and discrimination.
Dr. Demerath led a session for advisors on the internationalization of teacher education and a workshop for students on qualitative data analysis. Dr. Vavrus’ session for advisors addressed academic writing and identity formation, and her workshop for students dealt with the intersection of epistemology, methodology, and methods in the design of a dissertation.
“Political, demographic, and economic influences have fundamentally changed the state-university relationship since the “golden age” of higher education in the 1960s: a large segment of the public today views higher education primarily as a private good instead of a public good, and competing state priorities such as health care and corrections crowd out financial support for higher education.”
David Chapman, professor in Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development (OLPD), was the guest-leader for a workshop on strategies for improving education quality in Bangladesh for the education staff in the World Bank office in Bangladesh. He also presented a paper at the Bulgaria Comparative Education Society in Sofia, Bulgaria. The paper was based on his Fulbright research in Malaysia on the response of university faculty to the intensifying pressure for research and publication in Malaysian universities.
Michael Rodriguez, Campbell Leadership Chair in Education and Human Development and professor in the Department of Educational Psychology’s Quantitative Methods in Education program was recently interviewed by Minnesota Public Radio (MPR) and quoted in the Pioneer Press on the 2016 Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments (MCAs). Students’ performance on these statewide tests— which measure progress toward Minnesota’s academic standards in reading and math— remained largely unchanged over last year. More specifically, Black, Hispanic, and Native American students’ test scores continued to be roughly one-third that of their white counterparts.
Dr. Rodriguez told the Pioneer Press, although the state has made smart policy decisions to try to close achievement gaps, the MCA results don’t reflect that. “We haven’t seen it in the outcomes, and that’s really frustrating,” he said. “This is not just the Minnesota story. We see this nationally.”
“It’s really unfortunate that we expect so much from this single event test score,” Rodriguez said in his interview with MPR. “It’s telling us there’s not much movement. But I’m not convinced that single measure is going to be sensitive enough to pick of the kinds of movements that are occurring.”
When asked (by the Pioneer Press) what schools can do to improve outcomes for low-performing student groups, Dr. Rodriguez suggested communities be brought into the schools, making the instruction more culturally relevant to the students and demonstrating that education leads to greater opportunities.
Dr. Christ’s talk will focus on the importance of using research, assessment, and evaluation to guide decision-making and educational practice. During the speech, Dr. Christ will discuss ideas on how evaluation data may be used for system improvement to accelerate student outcomes. Finally, he will share the results of a recent statewide needs assessment in the areas of research, evaluation, and assessment with an opportunity to provide input on ways to respond to statewide needs.
The MDE Back to School Conference hosts education leaders and takes place August 9 -10 at the Minneapolis Marriot Northwest. This year’s theme is Minnesota’s commitment to the drivers of effective education leadership.
Theodore J. Christ’s leadership supports CAREI’s mission of improving the quality of education for all learners, and thereby society as a whole, through four service offerings: 1) evaluation, 2) research, 3) assessment, and 4) innovation and outreach. As applied researchers and evaluators, CAREI strives to have an immediate impact on communities, listening to and working with clients and partners to understand their experiences. CAREI seeks to impact 80% of Minnesota students within five years.
Research on Improving Systems of Education (RISE) — a new initiative aimed at conducting high-quality research to build evidence to enhance children’s learning throughout the world — announced today that it will begin work in Vietnam. University of Minnesota and CEHD researchers are leading this effort.
The £4.2 million, six-year undertaking will seek to understand how Vietnam “got it right” in creating an education system that has led its students to achieve learning levels exceeding those of their peers in far wealthier nations.
The project in Vietnam is one of four research endeavors being launched in countries throughout the world to shed light on ways to address a global learning crisis. Countries around the world have been remarkably successful in making progress toward universal primary (elementary) schooling, but in many places, learning levels are poor, or have declined. As a result, even when children finish many years of schooling, they still lack basic math and literacy skills. The RISE agenda emphasizes the need to make changes that can provide children with the education they need to be successful adults in their local, national, and global communities.
Research about the experiences of Vietnam offers the potential to inform policies that can help other countries enhance students’ education.
“Vietnam’s success raises key questions about how it reached such levels of learning, and whether its achievements can provide insights that help other nations,” said Paul Glewwe, one of the research team’s principal investigators (PIs). He has been engaged in research in Vietnam for 25 years and is a Distinguished McKnight University Professor in the Department of Applied Economics at the University of Minnesota. “The project is very ambitious in scope, and it takes advantage of an incredible success story in education in developing countries.”
Co-PI Joan DeJaeghere, associate professor in CEHD’s Department of Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development, is part of a team of nine experts from institutions within and outside of Vietnam that will undertake a systematic evaluation of Vietnam’s education system by analyzing the status and impacts of past, current, and upcoming educational reforms. The aim is to understand how policy levers made Vietnam’s exceptional achievements possible, and whether and how new reforms are able to build on its achievements. DeJaeghere is a Fulbright Scholar and Fulbright Specialist to Vietnam, having worked on education projects there for over 10 years.
The WPLC award is for women graduate students to recognize their achievements and successes in their field of interest. The criteria for the award includes academic achievements, community involvement, leadership, and passion for the academic and professional career of choice.
Kelsey worked as a literacy tutor through the YMCA and St. Paul Public Libraries during her undergraduate career. She credits those experiences to what sparked her interest in supporting students’ learning and development related to reading. During the past couple of years, Kelsey has worked with preschool and elementary-age children who have been diagnosed with autism, which has furthered Kelsey’s interests in reading and comprehension skills in children.
As Kelsey explores career paths, she is interested in supporting children in reading and comprehension skills. She would like to not only support children at an individual level, but would also like to offer resources to teachers to understand the best methods to support students in the classrooms. As a result in receiving this award, Kelsey will be able to present her research at the 26th Annual Meeting of the Society of Text and Discourse in Kassel, Germany in July 2016.