Curry Education Research Lectureship Series Fall 2019

For the current Curry Education Research Lectureship Series, please visit our website.


Discussion on Ed Policy

Friday September 27th 2019
Bavaro Hall, Holloway Hall (Rm 116)
Co-sponsored by the Education Policy Seminar Series

Panelists include:
Heather Harding, Director, Policy and Public Understanding, Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation
Doug Harris, Professor, Tulane University
Susanna Loeb, Professor, Brown University

Abstract: The role of research in informing state and local education policy has been changing over the last five years. Some prominent education reform initiatives like charter schools or policies intended to improve the equitable distribution of teaching have become less popular in policy discussions. Other issues, like across the board teacher pay increases have become more prominent. For faculty and graduate students who want their work to “make a difference" for students and young adults, how should they think about the ways they use their scarce time? The panelists will be discussing these and other education policy issues.

Harding Bio: Heather is the Director, Policy and Public Understanding for Education at the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation. Based in our DC office, Heather leads a portfolio of investments that build a winning narrative about educational equity and advance policies that enable an education system that delivers excellence to all. Heather’s professional career has spanned classroom teaching, professional development, non-profit management and empirical research. She served as the founding Executive Director of a research-practice partnership at George Washington University and held several senior management roles at Teach For America. Heather was most recently a Senior Program Officer in Education at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Heather holds a master's and doctoral degrees in education policy from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and completed her undergraduate studies in Journalism at Northwestern. She retains her love of rigorous research & artful writing. She serves on several non-profit and charter school boards including the Elsie Whitlow Stokes Freedom Community Charter School in Washington, DC where her two children attend.

Harris Bio: Doug is our founding Director, Tulane Professor of Economics, and Schlieder Foundation Chair in Public Education. His research has helped inform and influence national debates over a range of education policies, especially in charter-based school reform, teacher evaluation, accountability, and college access. His first book, "Value-Added Measures in Education," was nominated for the national Grawemeyer prize in education and published by Harvard Education Press in 2011. His more than 50 academic articles have been cited more than 3,000 times by other researchers. He has advised the White House, the U.S. Senate, and several governors on education policy. He contributed to the Obama Administration's transition team on the measurement of school performance, advised the White House on college performance measures, and testified in the U.S. Senate about the TRIO college access programs. Most recently, his Brookings report on community colleges helped shape the President's recent college reform plans. Doug is also widely cited in the national media, including CNN, MSNBC, NPR, The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, National Journal, and others. He has recently been named as one of the most influential economists studying education. In addition to his role as Director and professor, Doug is the University Endowed Chair in Public Education at Tulane and a Non-Resident Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution. Previously, he was tenured Associate Professor of Education and Public Affairs at the University of Wisconsin at Madison. Doug received his Ph.D. in economics from Michigan State University in 2000.

Loeb Bio: Susanna's research focuses broadly on education policy and its role in improving educational opportunities for students. Her work has addressed issues of educator career choices and professional development, of school finance and governance, and of early childhood systems. Before moving to Brown, Susanna was the Barnett Family Professor of Education at Stanford University. She was the founding director of the Center for Education Policy at Stanford and co-director of Policy Analysis for California Education. Susanna led the research for both Getting Down to Facts projects for California schools. She has been a member of the National Board for Education Sciences, a senior fellow at the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research, and a faculty research fellow at the National Bureau of Economic Research.


An Education Politics of Place? Exploring Variation in Public Opinion Across U.S. States and School Districts

Martin West, Professor, Harvard University
Friday October 25th 2019

Bio: Martin R. West is the William H. Bloomberg Professor of Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, a faculty research fellow at the National Bureau of Economic Research, and editor-in-chief of Education Next, a journal of opinion and research on education policy. He is also deputy director of Harvard’s Program on Education Policy and Governance and a member of the Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education. West studies the politics of K-12 education in the United States and how education policies affect student learning and social-emotional development. In 2013-14, he served as senior education policy advisor to the ranking member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions. He previously taught at Brown University and was a research fellow at the Brookings Institution and the Hoover Institution.

Talk Description: In a federal system like the United States, assessing the democratic responsiveness of education policy requires evidence on public opinion in specific states and school districts. Despite recent progress in gathering data on the education policy preferences of the American public as a whole, we have little evidence on how these preferences vary geographically. In this paper, we use data from multiple waves of the annual Education Next Survey and the method of multi-level regression and post-stratification (MRP) to generate the first comparable measures of opinion on several contested issues in education policy across the 50 states and largest 50 school districts. We use these estimates to provide preliminary analysis of the correspondence between public preferences and education policies across geography. See this Education Next article presenting the main findings from a new survey.


This Generation’s Integration: Leadership, Policy and Practice for Diverse, Equitable Schools

Genevieve Siegel-Hawley, Associate Professor, VCU
Friday November 15th 2019
Co-sponsored by Youth-Nex
This talk is available online

Bio: Genevieve Siegel-Hawley, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor in the School of Education at Virginia Commonwealth University. She examines the scope and dynamics of school segregation and resegregation in U.S. metropolitan areas, along with policies for promoting more integrated schools and communities. Siegel-Hawley has published numerous articles dealing with these topics in journals like the American Educational Research Journal, Teachers College Record, Harvard Educational Review, Educational Researcher and The Urban Review. She is the author of When the Fences Come Down: 21st Century Lessons from Metropolitan School Desegregation (University of North Carolina Press, 2016) and a forthcoming book, A Single Garment: Creating Intentionally Diverse Schools that Benefit All Students (Harvard Education Press, winter 2020). Siegel-Hawley received her doctorate in Urban Schooling from UCLA and her masters in Educational Policy and Management from Harvard. She is a Richmond native and a proud graduate of and former teacher in Richmond Public Schools.

Abstract: This talk, based on a forthcoming book called A Single Garment: Creating Intentionally Diverse Schools that Benefit All Children, will explore the leadership, policies and practices supporting contemporary school integration. I'll focus on lessons from four Richmond area schools, ranging from pre-k to 12th grade and from urban to suburban to regional. The schools illuminate a range of concrete aspects related to integration inside the school building, including how students are assigned to classrooms and how families are engaged, who gets access to what curricula and which teachers, how often students experience cooperative activities, how racial tensions are arbitrated and how discipline is meted out. But I'll also delve into what it takes to bring students together in the first place, using the four schools to illustrate how issues like student assignment and school choice policy, transportation, word-of-mouth and outreach work to support or undermine integration. All told, the trajectories of the schools offer a window into the shifting racial and economic dynamics of U.S. metros—and what those shifts mean for integration. In an era of rising diversity, inequality and division, the talk will present a strong argument for collectively creating and maintaining a commitment to integrated schools, institutions that can benefit all children in deeply important ways.


The Effect of Performance-Based Financial Incentives on Teacher Employment Decisions

Veronica Katz, Assistant Research Professor, University of Virginia
Friday December 6th 2019
This video is available online

Bio: Veronica has a longstanding interest in understanding factors that can improve teacher quality, especially in low-performing schools. She believes all students should have access to effective teachers, and this belief has driven her to focus much of her research on teacher evaluation and teacher retention, with an eye toward addressing the following question: what can be done to keep the best teachers in the schools that need them the most? To this end, Veronica co-authored a study evaluating the effects of differentiated teacher turnover on student achievement. She is currently working on a paper that examines the relationship between performance-based financial incentives and teachers’ decisions to teach in low-income and low-performing schools. In addition to studies that employ rigorous, quantitative methods, Veronica has contributed to literature reviews on teacher evaluation and teacher retention. Ultimately, Veronica seeks to use her methodological training to inform policies that will improve student outcomes.

Abstract: Although high-performing teachers in District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) high-poverty schools have always been eligible for larger financial incentives than high-performing teachers in low-poverty schools, the contrast in financial incentives offered to high-performing teachers in low versus high-poverty schools was amplified during the 2012-13 academic year (hereafter AY1213) when the district nearly eliminated financial incentives for high-performing teachers in low-poverty schools and reserved the largest financial incentives for high-performing teachers in the forty lowest-performing high-poverty schools. This work employs a differences-in-differences approach to examine whether the revised financial incentives encouraged high-performing teachers to teach, and stay, in high-poverty schools. Descriptive and quasi-experimental results indicate that the revised financial incentives are associated with improved retention in high-poverty schools and a small increase in teacher mobility from low-poverty to high-poverty schools. On the other hand, these improvements did not redound to the forty lowest-performing schools in the district. These results suggest that performance-based financial incentives may improve teacher quality in high-poverty schools, but that additional reforms may be needed to improve teacher quality in the lowest-performing schools.

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