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at the Center for Education



The Center's research activities carry our influence to the national level.  Books by Center researchers represent cutting-edge scholarship on key issues facing the nation's schools: the growing Latino population, standardized testing, the shortage of science teachers who have a real understanding of science, and the challenge of integrating technology into meaningful learning.  Teachers and administrators, parents and community groups, journalists and policy makers increasingly rely on Center researchers for reliable data, for their long-term documentation of what is happening in schools, and for their ability to make scholarly findings intelligible to the larger public.

The Center is home to several research activities with an invaluable record of scholarly productivity - not only in the number of books and articles and presentations but in their import and impact - on key issues addressing the nation's schools and children.  The work is grounded in classrooms as well as considering the "big picture" in education.

Linda McNeil, Contradictions of School Reform: Educational Costs of Standardized Testing, a book that is influencing policy, informing the public and being used in graduate courses in a wide range of specialties in the preparation of the next generation of school professionals (teachers, teacher educators, curriculum leaders, administrators, education policy makers, and assessment professionals). "Faking Equity: High-Stakes Testing and the Education of Latino Youth" addresses issues of equity, learning, and policy. With Eileen Coppola, has published "Official and Unofficial Stories: Getting at the Impact of Policy on Educational Practice," in the Handbook of Complementary Methods in Education Research, on the implications of using multiple methods to capture the impact of policy on children's education.

Elnora Harcombe, Science Teaching/Science Learning, addressing three critical issues in American education: the quality of teachers and teaching, the barren content of much of public school science - especially in the middle grades and in urban schools, and the critical needs of middle school students for authentic learning if they are to stay in school and find purpose there. Elnora Harcombe is also the co-author, along with Neal Lane, of “"The University as a Partner in Transforming Science Education," in Science Literacy for the 21st Century.  She has also written on the link between teacher learning and teacher retention.

Eileen Coppola, Powering Up: Learning to Teach Well with Technology, shows that successful use of technology in school instruction requires teachers to learn to put technology at the service of pedagogical needs, and requires school leadership and policy that supports teachers as they innovate and develop specific and relevant uses of technology for their classrooms. With Linda McNeil, has published "Official and Unofficial Stories: Getting at the Impact of Policy on Educational Practice," in the Handbook of Complementary Methods in Education Research, on the implications of using multiple methods to capture the impact of policy on children's education.

Angela Valenzuela, Subtractive Schooling: US Mexican Youth and the Politics of Caring, an award-winning study of Latino kids' experience in American high school - addressing the most urgent issue in terms of the changing demographics that will soon make the nation's schools mirror the Texas population of school children. In Leaving Children Behind:  Texas-Style Accountability and the Education of Latino Youth (Fall, 2004), Valenzuela edited a volume comprised of chapters by Texas and California researchers examining the impact of high stakes standardized educational policies on a student population that is increasingly culturally and linguistically diverse.  The volume includes Linda McNeil’s analysis, “Faking Equity:  High Stakes Testing and the Education of Latino Youth,” which examines the reasons for the gap between children’s rising scores on state tests and their weak performance on other measures of educational performance such as the SAT and ACT.

Ronald L. Sass, Thinking in Science, a brief analysis of the pursuit of scientific learning, written for teachers, that illustrates the value of providing students with greater opportunities for observing natural phenomena both within and outside the classroom, and engaging in measuring, experimenting with, and communicating data from the surrounding world. As active rather than passive participants in the learning process, students can strengthen their full range of mental processes, from formulating hypotheses, explaining observations, and interpreting data to other thinking skills used by scientists in their efforts to build understanding.

Patsy Cooper, When Stories Come to School, a seminal work on early childhood literacy, used by teacher education and teacher development programs nationally; a highlighted title in the catalogue of the National Council of Teachers of English and the national early childhood organization.

Marvin Hoffman, Chasing Hellhounds, influential among teachers and teacher educators at the middle school level and in language arts and national writing project.

All of these books are issued by major presses (Teachers College, Routledge, SUNY) and are having national impacts, either in their special fields or across a wide range of educational policy and practice.  In addition, the Center's scholarly papers and studies on dropouts, the effects of standardization on school organization and internal practices (including teaching and learning), on small schools and other urban school reform initiatives are well known and widely cited.  Center researchers have also written on the education of migrant youth, students marginal to classrooms, resilience in immigrant children, methodologies for analyzing the impact of policy on classroom practice, and scarcity as a barrier to comprehensive transformations of reforming schools.

 Publications emerging from the Center’s teacher development programs contribute to the fields of multicultural teaching, early literacy, teachers’ learning to use technology in the teaching of science, the role of teacher learning in improving children’s instruction, the use of children’s own stories in their language development, and Asian culture in curriculum and in teachers’ world views.