The Magazine of the Harvard Graduate School of Education
IN THE MINORITY NONWHITE PUBLIC SCHOOL STUDENTS ARE NOW THE MAJORITY IN THE UNITED STATES. WHY ARE 80 PERCENT OF TEACHERS STILL WHITE?
SUMMER 2016â€‚â€‚ISSUE N 154
Editor in Chief Lory Hough LORY_HOUGH@HARVARD.EDU
Creative Director, Ed. Patrick Mitchell MODUS OPERANDI DESIGN WWW.MODUSOP.NET
Assistant Dean of Communications Michael Rodman MICHAEL_RODMAN@HARVARD.EDU
Contributing Writers Josh Moss Leah Shafer Jeff Wagenheim Illustrators Todd Detwiler Simone Massoni Riccardo Vecchio Photographers Wahaj Alley Troy Caldeira Jonathan Kozowyk Ekaterina Smirnova Walter Smith Copy Editors Marin Jorgensen Abigail Mieko Vargus
â€œTravel always changes oneâ€™s trajectory.â€?
POSTMASTER Send address changes to: Harvard Graduate School of Education Office of Communications 13 Appian Way Cambridge, MA 02138
FRANCES OLAJIDE, ED.L.D.
ÂŠ 2016 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College. Harvard Ed. magazine is published three times a year.
Alum scores with handmade soccer balls, p. 4â€‚Â›â€‚Teacher training in Haiti and Nigeria, p. 6â€‚Â›â€‚2015â€“16: School Year Rewind, p. 8â€‚Â›â€‚How digital media is giving kids a voice to become more politically active, p. 10â€‚Â›â€‚Study Skills: Frances Olajide, p. 11â€‚Â›â€‚Students in the AIE Program take to the airwaves to capture stories, p. 12â€‚Â›â€‚Orphaned elephants, p. 13â€‚Â›â€‚Why one staff member broke back into prison to teach, p. 14â€‚Â›â€‚AND MORE!
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NEWS + NOTES FROM APPIAN WAY
20 Where Are All the Teachers of Color?
Although nonwhite public school students are now the majority in the United States, nonwhite teachers are anything but. STORY BY JOSH MOSS
30 On: Bland Food, Binders, and Being Outspoken
CLOCKWISE FROM TOP: WALTER SMITH; SIMONE MASSONI; WAHAJ ALLEY
Novelist BINA SHAH, ED.M.’94, talks about growing up in two countries and how she became a writer. STORY BY LORY HOUGH
36 Credits for Kindness
CAMPAIGN . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42
A new movement is trying to refocus admissions away from purely individual academic achievement and toward something you can’t measure with SAT tests or resumes padded with public service points: real concern for others and the common good.
GRAD. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43
STORY BY JEFF WAGENHEIM
Departments CONVO. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2
JOIN THE CONVERSATION: SEND YOUR COMMENTS TO LETTERS@GSE.HARVARD.EDU.
He was a cool dude, and the ladies loved him. But even the Fonz had a hard time admitting when he was wr… wr… wrong. And he’s not alone — or without good reason. When it comes to making mistakes, and accepting them, we’re a nation that’s a little conflicted. On the one hand, we have common sayings like to err is human and learn from your mistakes. And most of us love to hear struggle-to-success comeback stories, such as the one about Thomas Edison famously trying 1,000 times before inventing the light bulb. Yet, as Kathryn Schultz writes in Being wrong: Adventures in the Margin of Error, despite the fact that making mistakes seems to be a part of who we are, mistakes are still not readily accepted. We act like they didn’t happen. We blame someone else. We feel embarrassed. Or, like Happy Day’s Fonzie, we stammer an apology. “If fallibility is built into our very name and nature,” Schultz writes, “it is in much the same way the puppet is built into the jack-in-the-box: in theory wholly predictable, in practice always a jarring surprise.” But this isn’t how mistakes should be viewed — especially in schools. “If you are in school and you don’t make any mistakes, then you aren’t really learning anything new,” says current doctoral student Maleka Donaldson Gramling, Ed.M.’11, Ed.M.’14, a former kindergarten teacher. In fact, says adjunct lecturer and former high school teacher David Dockterman, Ed.D.’88, “School is the one place that’s all about learning. It’s the one place where mistakes should be not only accepted, but expected.”
And when they’re made in a classroom? Even better. by lory hough illustrations by catherine lepage
harvard Ed. magazinE
• wintEr 2016 •
harvard graduate school of education
Our feature, “Mistakes Were Made” from the winter 2016 issue, resonated with readers because, well, who doesn’t want to feel better about making mistakes? As VEE TREVINO points out, “I must be on the right track to something great, because I made plenty of mistakes throughout my education!” SUE GROLNIC, ED.D.’01, reminds us that understanding the importance of making mistakes and learning from them isn’t new. “I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry when I read this article. This was how I taught elementary school students in the late ’60s and how the afterschool program I developed for middle school kids in the ’80s worked. We called our program a place to try new stuff — and fail. And I was not an outlier, an oddball, an exception. This was how all good teachers worked.”
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no exceptions Roland Fryer
Headline to come By Katie Bacon
A look at the life and work of one of the Ed School’s newest faculty members, Roland Fryer
by katie bacon photography by jill anderson
harvard Ed. magazinE
• wintEr 2016 •
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In a story reprinted from the Ed School’s Usable Knowledge website (uknow.gse.harvard.edu), Leah Shafer gave good tips for teachers interested in using video as a tool to observe themselves in the classroom. It’s a practice that RITA BENECKE can get behind. As she writes, “Fantastic idea. I thought that using the footage in next year’s classroom could then free up the teacher’s energy so that she/he can look for comprehension of the students more easily. You can stop the footage of yourself to ask clarifying questions, etc.”
PHILIP MANNA, ED.M.’91, has suggestions for Professor Roland Fryer, who was profiled in the winter 2016 story “No Exceptions” about his work to better understand and close the achievement gap — and the impact his grandmother had on his thinking. As Manna writes, “As a retired urban educator and veteran of a number of school improvement efforts, I would suggest that good schools cannot be mass produced or brought to scale by following a data-bound educational recipe. They are homegrown. They arise when teachers feel their school really belongs to them. They take shape when committed teachers, like his grandmother, are empowered to solve their own problems. I would encourage Fryer to use his innovative data-gathering practices to investigate this feeling of collective responsibility which drives the success of all good schools — public, private, religious, or charter. Creating a system that encourages individual schools to do for themselves taps into a level of resourcefulness and imagination capable of transforming even the neediest schools.”
Want to know what Dean Ryan has to say about all things education? Check out his weekly musings on his new Education Week blog, Making the Case: Key Questions in Education Debates. 3hgse.me/JamesRyanBlog
Past Tense In 1966, AMY KOVNER, M.A.T.’65, wrote a letter to the editor in response to a piece in the summer issue of the magazine (then called Bulletin) written by BETTY LEVY, ED.M.’64. Levy’s story, “Classroom in the Slums,” described her experience teaching fourth-graders in Central Harlem and sparked a huge number of letters, including the 1,200-word piece by Kovner, who was clearly frustrated with irrelevant curriculum and students who wouldn’t listen. As Kovner wrote: “My own classroom is a festival of bubble gum, candy wrappers, spit balls, stolen pens, whose atmosphere is one of inveterate boredom, carelessness, profound illiteracy. Scrawled obscenities cover the chairs, desks, walls, torn pages of textbooks. Although I have witnessed little premeditated malice or verbal cruelty, open warfare is the norm: insolence and shouting at the adults, sometimes really violent skirmishes between the Puerto Rican and Negro youths, fist-fighting all the time. My classes are devoted to trying to get the kids to open up their notebooks, stay seated, stop talking, stop fighting, stop exhibiting themselves, stop writing obscenities in the text, stop being so fresh to me, stop asking to go to the bathroom, stop blowing bubbles, stop, stop, stop. We have not started to learn yet.”
Behind the Story Lory Hough, Editor in Chief
This past March, we contacted Kovner, who left her school after one year to work for Vin Conroy, director of field studies at the Ed School. We asked her to reflect on her letter. Here’s what she wrote: “Fifty years ago I taught for only one year in an inner city school. A sense of impotence and hopelessness led to my retreat. [What are] remedies that might lead to fewer early teacher dropouts? Preparation by professors who truly know what the typical slum school is like. But what really needs to occur is something very unlikely: a massive new War on Poverty, as despair, ill health, poor housing, shattered home lives, and joblessness are worsening, resulting in schools in impoverished neighborhoods that can neither reach nor teach their students.”
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2016 and Some Change After The New York Times redesigned their magazine last year, editor in chief Jake Silverstein summed up the four-month process when he said, “We have used the hammer and the tongs but perhaps not the blowtorch.” They made changes — some of them pretty significant and surprising and great — but the magazine still felt familiar. ¶ Here at Ed., we’ve taken the same hammer-and-tongs-but-not-blowtorch approach with our latest redesign. As you can see with the issue you’re holding, we’ve made some big changes, most notably with the look and feel. Working with Patrick Mitchell of Modus Operandi Design, we’ve included more white space to let the content breathe, different fonts, and bold lines and photography. But the magazine should still feel familiar to readers, with shorter pieces up front, the ever-popular On My Bookshelf, and the back cover still wondering, Where’s Ed.? ¶ So without further ado, readers, turn the page. We hope you love it.
N E W S + N O T E S F R O M A P P I A N WAY
ALUM SCORES WITH HANDMADE AFRICAN SOCCER BALL STORY BY LORY HOUGH
When he met Boniface, a 9-year-old Zambian boy, JEFF DECELLES, ED.M.’08, had just moved from Zimbabwe to launch a branch of the soccer-based HIV-prevention organization Grassroots International. They were at a soccer tournament in Lusaka, the country’s capital, and both were kicking around soccer balls. The balls, however, couldn’t have been any more different — Decelles’ was a fancy Nike, the kind professionals use, while Boniface’s was homemade, pieced together from something most people throw away: old plastic bags. Decelles saw Boniface’s ball, known locally as a ragball, and knew he had to make a trade. “I loved all the ragballs I had seen in Zambia and wanted one for myself, so I offered to trade him a real Nike ball,” Decelles says. “Boniface was thrilled. I think he never really thought his ragball was something unique or special. I was thrilled to finally have my own African soccer ball.” What exactly is a ragball, and why do kids like Boniface make them? Decelles says that throughout many parts of the world, purchasing a new soccer ball is financially unrealistic, so young people make them out of readily available materials — everything from plastic bags to banana leaves to newspapers. He’s even seen some made with condoms. “I was always amazed at the resourcefulness of the young people that would make these ragballs,” Decelles says. “A ragball might not be as nice as a new Nike or Adidas soccer ball, but knowing how to make one allows people to still play the game they love.” 33 Photograph by Macduff Everton/National Georgraphic Creative/Corbis
Teach the Teachers Kickin’ it, ragball style.
Now, thanks to Decelles, it also allows them to make money. After his win-win exchange with Boniface, Decelles started wondering if friends and family would be as excited over ragballs as he was, and if they’d consider buying one to support young people. The answer turned out to be yes and led to Decelles starting a program in 2009 in South Africa, where he now lives, called Ragball International. The program helps other ragball crafters sell their balls internationally, while also participating in a 20-session financial education program that teaches them how to save and spend wisely and set financial goals. They also learn about the positive impact their recycling and reusing is having on the environment. Last February, Ragball was hired by the U.S. State Department to run soccer-based financial education camps for young people in Djibouti, on the Horn of Africa. This year, they hope to expand to North Africa and Latin America. They are also reaching out specifically to girls. “Lacking a soccer ball is one of many barriers that prevents girls from accessing the sport. If there is a soccer ball in the house, the girl will likely not be allowed to play with it,” Decelles says. “We are teaching 100 girls in Khayelitsha, South Africa, how to make ragballs from local materials, and we are researching whether this specific knowledge can help girls to play soccer.” These days, crafters each make and sell from 50 to several hundred ragballs a year through a few different channels. “We sell bulk orders to corporate clients such as South African Airways, UNAIDS, and the Corporate Council on Africa,” Decelles says. “We also sell directly to consumers via soccer.com and in artisan craft stores in Cape Town.” Crafters have been trying out new materials such as bottle caps, banana fibers, and shoelaces. Ragball is also adding a player trading card with each ball, which includes a photo and background information on the ball’s crafter. Back at his home, Decelles says ragballs have even become popular with his young children. “My four-year-old daughter loves the brightly colored ragballs,” he says, “and my one-and-a-half-year-old son actually just said ‘ragball’ for the first time today!” lh
“Teachers are leaders who can change the trajectory of students’ lives and the future of an entire community.” NEDGINE PAUL
ne organization is based in Haiti, the other more than 5,000 miles away in Nigeria. But both were started by Ed School alums and both focus on something desperately needed in their countries: better teacher training. In Haiti, NEDGINE PAUL, ED.M.’12, started Anseye Pou Ayiti (anseye pouayiti.org) because she says her native country lacks a datadriven, culturally relevant system for recruiting and training highcaliber teachers where they are most needed — in rural and underserved areas where about 70 percent of Haitians live but fewer than 30 percent of children from low-income households will complete even primary school. It is estimated that only about 20 percent of Haitian primary school teachers are formally trained. That’s hugely problematic because, as Paul points out, “teachers are leaders who can change the trajectory of students’ lives and the future of an entire community.” The first cohort of 30 teachers started last year, training for one month during the summer, plus monthly workshops during the school year, lasting for two years total. Teachers learn new skills like how to better communicate and mobilize the community. The teachers, who are already working full-time in rural or underserved schools, also receive individualized coaching in their classrooms
every two weeks. Within five years, Anseye Pou Ayiti hopes to train 250 teachers. What’s unique, says Paul, who was recently named one of the top 30 under 30 social entrepreneurs by Forbes magazine, is that the training is rooted in the Haitian culture and community. “We believe that we can look inward to push forward,” she says. “One example is prioritizing our local Haitian Creole in training and classroom instruction, which is often sidelined for teaching in French only. We also want students to value and be proud of where they come from, so we seek to integrate Haitian proverbs and folklore in how teachers are preparing lessons for any subject.” In Nigeria, NNEAMAKA ENECHI, ED. M.’11, created EdVigor (edvigor. org) to help teachers develop their skills in literacy and math by offering week-long professional development workshops with master teachers from around the world. This summer, the first cohort of 37 teachers will be trained, leaving with a deeper understanding of how to design hands-on activities for students and how to embed character education in classroom lessons. The goal is to train about 100 teachers each year. This wasn’t initially the direction Enechi planned on going after graduating from Harvard. She thought about starting a new
T W O R E C E N T G R A D U AT E S R E T U R N H O M E T O H A I T I A N D N I G E R I A T O F O C U S O N A K E Y P I E C E O F E D U C AT I O N R E F O R M : H E L P I N G T E A C H E R S B E C O M E B E T T E R AT W H AT T H E Y D O
WHAT QUALITIES MATTER?
When students graduate from high school, what does “competent” look like? In their new book, Teaching and Learning for the Twenty-First Century, published in May by Harvard Education Press, Professor FERNANDO REIMERS, ED.M.’84, ED.D.’88, and CONNIE CHUNG, ED.M.’99, ED.M.’07, ED.D.’13, explore how priorities — including those coming from parents — often influence what nations emphasize in their teaching. The book, Reimers says, is a product of the Harvard Global Education Innovation Initiative, which includes research collaborations with colleagues in six countries, listed in the chart below. His hope is that the book will not only help readers figure out what the most important competencies are for students in the 21st century, “but it will also help us understand what kind of policy and programmatic initiatives can help teachers lead an education which is relevant to the most pressing needs of our times.” This table of percentages based on data from the 2015 World Values Study, shows how the six countries vary in terms of what adults think are important qualities to cultivate in children.
IMPORTANT CHILD QUALITIES
© CARLOS CAZALIS/CORBIS
Secondary school students from a Makoko fishing village in Lagos, Nigeria, cram together while their English teacher looks on.
school in Nigeria, but then realized she would have more of an impact focusing on the education system as a whole, beginning with new teachers training under and learning from more experienced teachers — a model that was successful at the public school where she was working in Boston. Enechi says, “Teacher training is critical in Nigeria because education reform only hap-
pens when teachers are change agents leading the change movement in their classrooms.” Although there are the usual challenges for any new startup, particularly around funding, Enechi says she isn’t fazed, thanks in part to her time at the Ed School. “I learned how to have the confidence,” she says, “to take on challenges that lead to impactful change.” lh
Chile China India
Feeling of Responsibilty
Respect for others
“It could have been me sitting for decades inside of prison, rather than walking away from one.” PH.D. STUDENT CLINT SMITH IN A PIECE HE WROTE ABOUT TEACHING AT A PRISON AND LIFE WITHOUT PAROLE. (THE NEW YORKER)
2015-16: School Year Rewind A N A -T O - Z R E M I N D E R O F T H E M E M O R A B L E E V E N T S A N D I S S U E S F R O M T H E PA S T A C A D E M I C Y E A R
low INTERACTIVE with Askwith posters that are scannable for more information, plus a gallery exhibition of artwork chosen by the Arts in Education Program that included questions shared and answered online.
The ALUMNI OF COLOR CONFERENCE, focused this year on “Educators as Architects,” included Shaun King (above), one of the leaders of the Black Lives Matter movement.
COACHE, the Collaborative on Academic Careers in Higher Education, celebrated a decade of improving faculty recruitment, development, and retention nationwide.
DIVERSITY remained a focus at the Ed School, led in part by the school’s year long community-wide conversation, Fulfilling the Promise of Diversity.
FREE COFFEE AND TEA (and sometimes even hot chocolate) saved many a student during reading and exam periods.
HIVE, the Harvard GSE Innovation and Ventures in Education group hosted the first HIVE DRAFT BUSINESS PLAN REVIEW night. Student entrepreneurs sat down with financial experts to share their ideas and get feedback.
Author and illustrator Sandra BOYNTON spoke in the Askwith Forum in February about her work, her ever-popular books, and her dad, ROBERT BOYNTON, M.A.T.’47.
The GUTMAN LIBRARY DISTINGUISHED AUTHOR SERIES continued to host book talks, including ones by Lecturers TODD ROSE, ED.M.’01, ED.D.’07, and Pasi Sahlberg, and New York Times reporter Dale Rusakoff.
E Associate Professor Marty West wrote extenseively about the EVERY STUDENT SUCCEEDS ACT, which Congress passed and President Obama signed, reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965.
J JOGGERS united this year with the launch of the HGSE Running Club, founded by Ed.L.D. student Zachary Herrmann.
L LEARN TO CHANGE THE WORLD continued to dominate both Instagram and Twitter as one of the most popular phrases shared by those on campus.
I This fall, the Ed School and the Harvard Art Museums collaborated to make the hallways of Longfel-
K KINDNESS was again a big topic on campus this year, capped off when Dean Jim Ryan interviewed students outside of Gutman as part of Making Caring Common’s #StartWithKindness campaign. Illustrations by Todd Detwiler
INTERACTIVE WALL: JILL ANDERSON/BANNER: LISA ABITBOL/MIZZOU AND PATTERSON: MATT WEBER/WARREN: IMAN RASTEGARI
In November, in their #standwithMIZZOU campaign, students at the Ed School supported students of color from the University of Missouri who were protesting ongoing racial tension on their campus.
OPEN ONLINE COURSES were examined by Professor Andrew Ho (below) in one of the largest studies to date on MOOCs, which included more than 1.7 million participants.
N NEW this year: A firsttime ever Commencement block party on Appian Way.
LANDON PATTERSON visited the school in November. Patterson, a transgender teen from Missouri, made national news after being nominated homecoming queen at her high school. The event was sponsored by the new student-run series Out Front! LGBTQ Leaders to Learn From.
QUICK, someone come up with something for Q!
R Most weeks this year, students and staff got together for the AIE-sponsored REMIX MONDAY NIGHTS to watch films and talk about interesting topics connected to art, culture, society, life, and education.
S SHIFTED, a new student group, formed to examine sexual assault and underlying cultural forces.
T The TEACHING AND LEARNING LAB launched to support new faculty ideas related to, yes, teaching and learning.
UNDERGRADS were chosen! This past winter, the Harvard Teacher Fellows program announced its first-ever cohort — 20 Harvard undergraduates who will be trained to become teachers.
WARREN, as in Senator Elizabeth, brought her fiery brand of public speaking to the school in September.
V DARTH VADER even made a visit to the Ed School during the Star Wars premiere.
X XQ THE SUPER SCHOOL PROJECT backed by Laurene Powell Jobs held its local launch at the Ed School in October. The initiative is looking at ways to rethink American high schools.
Y YAN YANG, Ed.M.’10, a beloved doctoral student, was celebrated on campus after passing away in November.
Z Recent renovations in Longfellow Hall added ZERO (ZILCH!) greenhouse gas emissions.
VOX POPULiPHONE H O W D I G I TA L M E D I A I S G I V I N G K I D S A VOICE — AND AN APPETITE — TO BECOME M O R E P O L I T I C A L LY A C T I V E
STORY BY LEAH SHAFER
ith JUSt a Twitter handle and a smart phone, a teenager’s denouncement of offshore drilling or support of transgender rights can instantly provoke thousands of people across the world. That interaction was inconceivable less than a generation ago. Visiting Professor Helen Haste is fascinated by this concept. Her interest in civic engagement has led her to explore how “new media” — the internet, smart phones, and social media — is transforming the way young people participate in civic activities. We asked Haste to talk more about what that means for civic education. WHY THE CONNECTION BETWEEN NEW MEDIA AND CIVICS EDUCATION?
I think new media is very interesting because it is a field that challenges a lot of assumptions that we’ve made in the past, particularly with regard to education; it challenges how we think about citizenship; it challenges even how we think about democracy. If we’re going to redefine civics to include a much wider range of participation than we previously did and look at what kids really are doing when they’re engaging in civic activity, absolutely central to that is the fact that they’ve got access to new media. The main thing is that civic participation is much more than voting. It always has been, but we
“They do at least have very genuinely a sense they are being heard by somebody. There is an audience out there, and they know that.”
hadn’t noticed. Now we’re noticing it, and it has enormous implications for how we categorize whether or not young people are involved in civic participation, and it has implications for how we educate people to be effective participants in the civic domain. HOW HAS NEW MEDIA CHANGED THE WAY PEOPLE COMMUNICATE ABOUT CIVIC MATTERS?
What new media has done is to completely break down the problems of distance. It has given incredibly important assistance to the opportunity for young people to feel that their voices are being heard because they are clearly reaching an audience beyond just their friends. And that wasn’t there before. There were very few opportunities for young people to feel their voices heard outside the immediate group. Perhaps the only way was taking part in a large demonstration that got press coverage, but now basically every kid can have the same sense of impact on the outside world that their parents would have had if they wrote a letter to the newspaper 30 years ago. And of course in practical terms, a young person really can initiate a demonstration of 10,000 people within less than 24 hours. And if your tweet is picked up, it can actually be incredibly viral, incredibly significant. Most are not of course. But if it is, it could hit the
HELEN HASTE VISITING PROFESSOR
spot, which could be President Obama’s Twitter account.
WHAT CAN WE DO TO FURTHER HELP YOUNG PEOPLE?
3 Discuss and practice commu-
nication, organization, and conﬂict-resolution skills. 3 Cultivate digital literacy — give students opportunities to find information, classify it, and vet it. 3 Help students reﬂect on their civic identities and values: Where do they fit in a particular issue? How are they morally involved? 3 Cultivate a strong knowledge base of history, government, and social movements — both prominent and less successful. LEAH SHAFER IS A STAFF WRITER FOR THE USABLE KNOWLEDGE PROJECT AT THE ED SCHOOL.
Watch a video interview with Helen Haste on civic participation: uknow.gse.harvard.edu. Illustration by Todd Detwiler
Frances Olajide, Ed.L.D. Frances Olajide was a junior at Xavier University in New Orleans when Hurricane Katrina hit, leaving the campus submerged in four feet of water. Like many of her displaced classmates, Olajide took refuge at another college for a semester — in her case, Bryn Mawr. While there, she went to a reading by Sonya Sanchez, the famed poet whom she had heard speak a couple other times. After the talk, Olajide approached Sanchez. “I don’t know if you remember me,” she said, hesitating. Sanchez smiled and said, “You say that every time I see you.” Olajide went on to tell her she no longer wanted to be a pediatric psychologist, but a judge. Sanchez responded in a way that not only surprised Olajide, but also changed her career and life trajectory. “My, it’s fascinating that you’re still thinking about where you want to catch them, but I think if you catch them on the bench,” she said, “it will be too late. Teach first.” So that’s what Olajide did, with stints in the Bronx and KIPP Infinity in Harlem, New York. Then she decided to go back to school herself. She applied to a few distance executive education programs and the Ed.L.D. She told virtually no one, second-guessing if she should have waited to apply. But then a conversation with JEFF RILEY, ED.M.’99, a mentor from her time working with Acceleration Academies in Lawrence, Massachusetts, where Riley is the receiver/superintendent, again changed her thinking. “The kids,” he said, “don’t have time for you to wait.” Now in her second year of the Ed.L.D. Program, Olajide spent more than three weeks during the winter break in Thailand — a dream destination since she was in high school — visiting and studying schools: three in the Bangkok area, plus two and an orphanage in a village on the northern border of the country, near Burma. Part of the trip was just to listen. “I spoke with principals and teachers about their work, their hopes, their biggest problems, and the resources and thinking they are wielding to address those problems,” she says. As a result, her wheels are now spinning on where to focus next. “Travel always changes one’s trajectory,” she says. “It’s why I took the time to take such a big trip at such a pivotal time for me.” LH Photograph by Jonathan Kozowyk
“Travel always changes one’s trajectory.”
A New Definition of Quiet, One Podcast at a Time S T U D E N T S I N T H E A I E P R O G R A M TA K E T O T H E A I R W AV E S T O C A P T U R E S T O R I E S
S T O R Y B Y ANDREW BAULD, ED.M.’16
think both of us knew we had something special we wanted to capture from the very first day we arrived at the Ed School. Sitting in our Arts in Education (aie) cohort’s orientation, we heard amazing stories from our classmates. Someone had been teaching piano in Tanzania. There were actors and musicians, writers and dancers, museum educators and arts advocates, all with extraordinary stories. And we decided we wanted to find a way to share them with the world beyond just our cohort. MIKE LIPSET, ED.M.’16, and I had lunch in the sunken garden along Appian Way during the first week of school. We discovered a shared interest: Both of us wanted to make a podcast. But what would it be about? There aren’t too many podcasts out there that cover the arts and education. But there we were, in a cohort called Arts in Education. Our theme was picked for us. Mike was a hip-hop artist who came to Cambridge with all the equipment and skill we would need to record and edit. I had a journalism and writing background, and figured that I’d listened to enough npr to do a fairly good impersonation of a host. We quickly accrued pages of notes for episodes and story ideas. We shared our idea with the cohort and enlisted classmates to help, from designing a
logo to recording music. Eventually our team grew to include fellow aie members JASMINE CHIN and JAMIE AYELET LAYTNER, both ED.M.’16. Originally the idea was to capture and share our cohort’s stories. Then it grew. It became our final project for Assistant Professor Karen Brennan’s Designing T550 course. We built a website (palettepodcast.com). We worked on social media and crowdfunding campaigns. We named the podcast The Palette. From the start, The Palette grew roots beyond the confines of Appian Way. Our first episode covered the use of arts and education in healing. We interviewed the first writer in residence at Massachusetts General Hospital, Suzanne Koven, who is using literature to train doctors in empathy. We sat in a crowded hallway at Berklee College of Music to talk with the head of the Longwood Symphony Orchestra, made up of medical professionals from around Boston. Our second episode covered crowdfunding in the arts. We Skyped with a Harvard Business School professor who studied the differences between expertfunded and crowdfunded arts projects. In January, we visited local area education nonprofits that are using interdisciplinary education and the arts to reach young people in novel ways, including an organization that works with
special education students to build small rowboats. It’s been an incredible process of tinkering. We learned a new definition of quiet after recording in a seemingly silent room only to discover the distracting creaks of the heating system and refrigerator. We learned that it isn’t always a good idea to jump into an interview without first warming up our guest. We learned that people will completely surprise you when put in front of a live microphone. We have a lot more learning to do. We’re still working on growing an audience. We’re looking for sustained funding. And, perhaps most important of all, we realized that this project might just turn into a lifelong pursuit. ANDREW BAULD IS A FORMER TEACHER AND MARINE EDUCATOR.
Mike Lipset (left) and Andrew Bauld get ready to record an episode of The Palette in a fairly quiet space, Bauld’s Cambridge apartment.
Watch the behindthe-scenes making of an episode of The Palette: gse.harvard. edu/ed/extras/. Photograph by Troy Caldeira
© IMAGEMORE CO., LTD./CORBIS
ELEPHANT, LOVE MARY BAURES, C.A.S.’86, adopted Loijuk, her first orphaned elephant, in 2006. The baby was about six months old when she was found wandering alone in northern Kenya, emaciated and weak. The area’s severe drought had taken a toll on much of the wildlife, and rescuers from the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust in Nairobi didn’t know if they could save her. By then, liquid from her lungs had begun to seep dangerously into her tiny trunk. She wouldn’t take milk — an essential part of a baby elephant’s diet for several years. “Things did not look promising at all,” rescuers reported. But then something amazing happened: Other orphaned elephants living temporarily at the center offered help. “They wrapped their trunks around her,” Baures says, explaining that this elephant equivalent of a hug is the kind a mother would have given. And it actually made a difference: Loijuk responded and in time made a full recovery. Baures, a psychologist who specializes in helping people recover from trauma, says she learned something important that spurred her to write her new book, Love Heals Baby Elephants: Elephants grieve and bounce back in ways similar to traumatized humans. “Elephants are kindred spirits,” she writes. Like humans, they show empathy as she witnessed with the orphans reaching out to help others in distress. Elephants throw tantrums and get jealous. They also thrive in families. “For an elephant,” she says, “family is all-important.”
Unfortunately, not all of the orphaned babies make it. “Some are just too compromised when rescued,” she says. “Others with minor wounds still die because they give up after watching the massacre of their famiily by poachers.” Since she first adopted Loijuk, there has been a dramatic increase in poaching and a free fall in the elephant population. “The 10 million elephants of a century ago have dropped to less than 300,000,” she says, in large part because poachers kill adults for their tusks, leaving behind vulnerable babies. Only about 3 percent of baby elephants survive when orphaned by poachers. Luckily, Loijuk is now part of a group of ex-orphans living back in the wild, orphans who remember those who saved them, who return on their own to the wildlife sanctuary in Nairobi to help. “Loijuk is like someone who goes away to college,” Baures says. “She comes home to interact with the younger orphans and helps charge wild dogs when they get too close.” How else do resilient baby elephants compare with resilient people? Baures says: 3 They grieve. She saw baby
elephants sleeping next to the dead bodies of their mothers. 3 They help others. She says, “They feel whole again by adding their strength to another.” 3 Both groups learn to adapt. “As a result of being without a herd, orphaned elephants allow other lone elephants to join them. This,” she says, “is not typical of elephant society.” LH
“SOME ARE JUST TOO COMPROMISED WHEN RESCUED. OTHERS WITH MINOR WOUNDS STILL DIE BECAUSE THEY GIVE UP AFTER WATCHING THE MASSACRE OF THEIR FAMIILY BY POACHERS.” Mary Baures
Education Behind Bars W H Y O N E S TA F F M E M B E R B R O K E B A C K INTO PRISON TO TEACH
STORY BY SCOTT RUESCHER
e MaY haVe killed his wife in a jealous rage after she jilted him in favor of his supposed best friend. Maybe he collaborated with three other young men on the murder of a rival street gang member at a party. It could be that he robbed a bank to pay for his next month of tokes on the crack pipe. Had a child porn addiction. Ran a red light when drunk and killed a young mother of two. You can just imagine. And if you’re nosy enough, you can look it up online. Whatever he’s doing time for at MCI–Norfolk, a mediumsecurity “warehouse” for nearly 1,500 convicted felons in Massachusetts, what matters now is that he is standing in front of my English class on a Wednesday evening in his t-shirt, sweats, and sneakers. He may have dropped out of high school because there was easy money to be made dealing drugs on the streets of Springfield. He may have thrived under the toughlove treatment at a parochial school in Lowell but somehow got sidetracked. Learned financial entrepreneurship — in the underground economy in Chelsea or New Bedford. Now he’s a college student, making up for botched time. It’s the same prison where Malcolm X fi rst hit the books, and since the founding of the Boston University Prison Edu-
cation Program in the 1970s, many men here have worked hard toward earning bachelor’s degrees. Every year, several file to the front of the visiting room in cap and gown to pick up their degrees. In due time, many proceed to the streets, their chances of recidivism greatly reduced by their educational experiences. Whatever his history, he is the reason that back in 2002, after 15 years away, I returned to prison to teach English. I’d started teaching at UMass– Boston’s now-defunct program, but then got work at the Ed School and stopped teaching for years. Then, the director of the BU program heard me introduce an Askwith Forum by Jean Trounstine, author of Shakespeare Behind Bars — an account of producing Shakespeare with women at MCI–Framingham — and invited me to break into prison once again. Back in class, maybe the assignment was to write a narrative demonstrating membership in a community, and the guy at the head of the class has elicited chuckles with his account of life as an underachieving painter on a construction crew. Maybe it was a “before-and-after” comparison-contrast assignment, and he has sobered his classmates up with a description of holiday fes-
About 15 percent of men born since the late 1970s will go to prison at some point in their lives if they never go to college.
70 percent of young black men who have dropped out of high school have been in prison.
tivities at his home the year before and after a cousin was killed. This semester, I’m at MCI– Framingham, the sole women’s prison in Massachusetts, in a building where Clara Barton once presided as superintendent. It’s Wednesday evening, and the young woman at the front of the class has read her description of Winslow Homer’s painting The New Novel or her analysis of Virginia Woolf’s own use of comparison-contrast in Shakespeare’s Sister. Perhaps, in response to my “slanguage” assignment, she has written about code-switching from Caribbean Spanish to black vernacular English to social media lingo. Or it’s her analysis of metaphor in Martin Luther
68 percent of inmates in state prisons lack a high school diploma.
40 percent of the more than 700,000 inmates released each year end up back in prison within three years. SOURCE: PRISON STUDIES PROJECT, BOSTON UNIVERSITY PRISON EDUCATION PROGRAM; RAND
Illustration by Todd Detwiler
M U LT I P L E C H O I C E
My Brother, My Sister, My Teacher
King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, complete with the grammatically graceful incorporation of quotations that I endorse and adore. Whoever she is, she is also the reason I continue to teach. Whether at Framingham or Norfolk, proud of their enrollment in the program, the students have painted the classroom walls the cheerful red and white BU school colors. The stenciled image of the ever-ferocious BU terrier mascot, more threatening than the warm and respectful students in the class, watches over to make sure something at least remotely resembling higher education is happening. Soon we’ll discuss essays from the textbook, study evidence of “showing” rather than “telling,” do exercises in paragraph coherence. There will be talk of thesis statements and topic sentences, extended examples versus multiple examples, effective ways of introducing and concluding essays — with, most likely, some jocularity involved. But first it’s show-and-tell time, and the student at the front of the class, in t-shirt, sweats, and sneakers, has read aloud this week’s assignment and is happy to take questions and comments. SCOTT RUESCHER IS THE PROGRAM ADMINISTRATOR FOR THE ARTS IN EDUCATION PROGRAM. HIS NEW CHAPBOOK OF POEMS, PERFECT MEMORY, INCLUDES AT LEAST ONE POEM RELATED TO PRISON EDUCATION. Photographs by Troy Caldeira
If you’ve ever seen the Disney movie The Lion King, you know that sibling rivalry can be, well, pretty rough. Luckily that isn’t the case for two doctoral students: DAVID BLAZAR, ED.M.’11, and REBECCA LEBOWITZ, ED.M.’13. This brother and sister (the only sibling team in the doctoral program) actually seem to enjoy spending so much time together on campus. That might explain why, as you’ll see below, their education paths are so similar. DAVID BLAZAR
IVY LEAGUE COLLEGE OF CHOICE
DOCTORAL PROGRAM FOCUS
CONNECTION TO SCHOOL SYSTEMS COURSE
HARVARD YARD PROCTORSHIP
New York City
URBAN SCHOOL TEACHING GIG
Ginger peach tea
GUTMAN CAFE CAFFEINE OF CHOICE
Started in education policy, moved to quantitative research
BIG MOVE AFTER STARTING AT THE ED SCHOOL
Started with interest in mid-to-upper elementary-age students, changed focus to early childhood
GOAL AS EDUCATION LEADER
Superintendent (“But ask me in a couple of years!”)
(BOTH STARTED IN WIGGLESWORTH)
THE MAKING OF
Senior Lecturer James Antony After nearly a year at the Ed School teaching higher ed classes, Senior Lecturer James Antony says his experience has definitely been a 10. “Great students who are super inquisitive,” he says, “and fantastic faculty colleagues who are collaborative and willing to share ideas for class assignments and cases.” Antony is so smitten that this Dodgers and Mariners fan is even ready to don a Red Sox hat. “The one thing these two teams have in common with the Sox is that they are rivals of the Yankees. No offense to the Yankees, but I would gladly wear a Sox hat in solidarity with my Boston sisters and brothers.”
1975 My family moved to Thousand Oaks. Our house, a fixer-upper, immediately became a construction zone as my father, a gifted carpenter, spent the next few years remodeling it to accommodate our growing family. Watching our dad work all day at his job, then come home and work long hours on the house made a lasting impression on my two brothers and me; it taught us the meaning of dedication and purpose. Unfortunately, despite our father’s best efforts to teach us carpentry skills, none of the Antony boys ever became terribly handy.
1979 In fourth grade, I was introduced to music. At first, I played the clarinet in the school band. Eventually, I became an oboe player. Being a musician opened a world of opportunity to me. Because of music, I got to travel and meet interesting and diverse people. I was also exposed to different colleges and universities where I might one day study. Music was a driving force in the socialization of my two younger brothers, as each of them also played instruments.
1987 I took my first airplane ride as part of a music trip. I loved it and vowed to travel as much as I could in life. I also took part in a music competition at UCLA and, after I graduated from Thousand Oaks High School, began my years as a UCLA undergraduate.
1988 My college years were a blur of activity, mostly shaped by my involvement in college music groups. I also found time to be on the UCLA crew team (through which I learned, for the first time in my life, about the Ivy League universities), to be a resident assistant in the residence halls, to be an orientation adviser, and to work in the admissions office as a tour guide. All of these experiences helped shape my ambition to work in a college or university.
1990 I took the most important class of my college career, called Education 180 (The Social Psychology of Higher Education), as a UCLA undergraduate. I learned about the theories of college student development, the structure and governance of higher education, and the challenges of higher education. I fell in love with the content of the course and began to imagine conducting my own research on higher education topics.
1992 I began my Ph.D. studies at UCLA. As a graduate student, I met some of the most amazing colleagues, many of whom now serve on the faculties of universities around the nation and with whom I continue to interact regularly. 1995 I started working at the University of Washington. As a faculty member I taught classes and advised students in the higher education program. I eventually served as the faculty director of the higher education program. 2001, 2004, and 2006 My son and two daughters were born in these years, respectively.
1969 I was born in Los Angeles. We lived in Glendale, California, until I was 6 years old. Neither of my parents went to college, but they were both fierce proponents of education and pushed their children to do well in school.
Illustration by John Doe
WHERE IN THE WORLD IS CATHERINE SNOW?
2006 I spent one year as an American Council on Education fellow at Yale University. This fellowship allows individuals to work closely with leaders at another institution, from whom they learn about higher education leadership in a different context. This was my first experience with an Ivy League institution, and I learned a great deal about the importance of institutional culture and the differences between the public and private sectors of higher education. I also learned that bulldogs, though very cute, drool a great deal.
2007 I returned to the University of Washington where, in addition to serving on the faculty, I held several leadership roles over the years, including special assistant to the executive vice provost, associate dean of the college of education, and associate vice provost and associate dean of the graduate school. This time back at Washington helped me to focus on the things that mattered most to me: writing things that I felt made a difference, working even harder to become a better teacher, learning how to collaborate with a very diverse array of other faculty leaders, and finding ways to create college experiences for students that were as rich and varied as the one I enjoyed so many years before. 2012 Even though Washington was an amazing university, I departed to go back to Yale where I served as an associate provost.
2015 I started my faculty role at the Ed School. I love it here. The community feels inclusive to me. It feels like a natural fit. My teaching is the strongest it has ever been because I have a host of previous experiences upon which to draw and because I am at a stage in my career where I can look back and fully appreciate what everything has meant so far. And although, even to this day, I continue to have no ability to use tools to work on projects around my new home, I know that I can work with my amazing Ed School colleagues and students to build upon the amazing successes of the higher education program that I am so honored to join.
Johannesburg! At the end of January, Professor Catherine Snow delivered a keynote address at the national conference for the South African Research Association for Early Childhood Education, held at the University of Johannesburg. Snow spoke to the crowd about how to support early childhood teachers in an effort to support learning. This isn’t Snow’s first trip to South Africa. Not only has she visited on the way to and from vacations in Botswana and Namibia, but Snow has had strong, ongoing ties to the university for years, including serving on the editorial board of their South African Journal of Childhood Education and collaborating with researchers from the university’s Centre for Education Practice Research. WISE WORDS
“Talent is evenly spread throughout our country. Opportunity is not. Right now, there exists an almost ironclad link between a child’s ZIP code and her chances of success.” DEAN JAMES RYAN, QUOTED IN THE FIRST OF A SERIES ON WHAT HARVARD SCHOLARS ARE DOING TO UNDERSTAND INEQUALITY. RYAN WAS COMMENTING ON HOW THE IDEAL OF AMERICAN EDUCATION IS EQUAL QUALITY FOR ALL, BUT THIS IDEAL HAS NEVER BEEN ACHIEVED. (HARVARD GAZETTE)
ON MY BOOKSHELF
Liz Thurston, director, Office of Student Affairs
AN EVERYONE CULTURE
Robert Kegan and Lisa Laskow Lahey CURRENTLY READING: Rosemary: The Hidden Kennedy Daughter THE THING THAT DREW YOU TO IT: I have always been drawn to history, and especially
history of the Kennedy family. I knew about what happened to Rosemary, but I wanted to learn more “from the inside” — what the family knew and didn’t know about her “secret lobotomy.” And this was probably the start of the movement for civil rights for the disabled, which is very important. FAVORITE BOOK FROM CHILDHOOD: Anything Dr. Seuss: The Cat and The Hat, Green Eggs and Ham, Horton Hears a Who! YOUR FAVORITE GENRE: Definitely history, biographies, autobiographies, books based on true events. I have always gravitated to books about real-life events and people.
In most organizations, argue Professor Robert Kegan and LISA LASKOW LAHEY, ED.M.’80, ED.D.’86, people are hiding — hiding their uncertainties and limitations. This prevents these people and the organizations they work for from reaching their full potential. In An Everyone Culture, the authors look at companies, what they call deliberately developmental organizations, which do everything in their power to help everyone come out of hiding and succeed.
PEOPLE WOULD BE SURPRISED TO KNOW I’VE NEVER READ: Harry Potter!
IF YOU WERE TO GIVE A BOOK AS A GIFT TO SOMEONE, TO WHOM AND WHAT WOULD IT BE? I would give a book to my mother because as a child, I remember her reading every single night in bed and going through book after book. She set the example for my siblings and me. My mother loved fiction of all kinds. It would be a John Grisham book — she read all of them. LAST BOOK YOU READ THAT SURPRISED YOU: Orange Is the New Black by Piper Kerman. I was surprised that I lost interest in it about halfway through and never finished it! There was so much hype in the media about the book and with the television series, but it just never piqued my interest after she was in jail. Sorry to all the OITNB fans! YOUR READING RITUALS: I went through a period in my life when I really didn’t read that much. Then I got a Kindle as a gift, and it truly has reinvigorated my desire and interest in reading. Now I only read on a Kindle! FAVORITE SPOT TO CURL UP WITH A GOOD BOOK: Definitely reading on my bed. I also like
to read while traveling and on vacation.
NEXT UP: Good question! Definitely an autobiography or biography. LH
FOR A FULL LIST OF BOOKS FEATURED IN THIS ISSUE: GSE.HARVARD.EDU/ED/EXTRAS IF YOU’RE PART OF THE ED SCHOOL COMMUNITY AND YOU’VE RECENTLY PUBLISHED A BOOK, LET US KNOW: BOOKNOTES@GSE.HARVARD.EDU
Photograph by Ekaterina Smirnova; Styling by Evan Michael
TEACHER LEARNING IN THE DIGITAL AGE
Chris Dede, Arthur Eisenkraft, Kim Frumin, and Alex Hartley
RESTORATIVE JUSTICE IN URBAN SCHOOLS
More and more, professional development for teachers can be done online, but not all of it is effective. How do teachers know what works and what doesn’t? Professor Chris Dede, KIM FRUMIN, ED.M.’01, ED.M.’15, ED.D.’19, and their co-authors examine a range of online and blended teacher development models, including MOOCs and video-based courses, and offer teachers practical advice and lessons learned.
As ANITA WADHWA, ED.M.’09, ED.D.’13, points out in her new book, schools are filled with conflict between students, between administrators and teachers, and between students and adults. And when this happens, unfortunately, students of color, especially black males, are more likely to be suspended or expelled. Using real-life stories, Wadha shows how educators can address disciplinary problems in a more constructive and less punitive way.
BEYOND THE TIGER MOM
TELL ME SO I CAN HEAR YOU
Eleanor Drago-Severson and Jessica Blum-DeStefano
We know that students need feedback from teachers in order to improve. So it shouldn’t be a surprise that teachers also need feedback in order to get better at their jobs — and they do sometimes get it but often not in a way that is truly effective. In Tell Me So I Can Hear You, ELEANOR DRAGOSEVERSON, ED.M.’89, ED.D.’96, and Jessica Blum-DeStefano show how leaders in education can differentiate feedback to meet people where they are — not just where they want them to be.
As a mom and teacher who has lived and worked in both the United States and Asia, MAYA THIAGARAJAN, ED.M.’01, has seen firsthand the differences in how families view childhood, parenting, and ultimately, education. There are strengths and weaknesses in the various philosophies, she writes, but in order to raise truly successful children in a global world, parents need to blend the best of both East and West. Beyond The Tiger Mom is filled with tips for parents, such as how to build a languagerich home and how to really get to know your child.
Where Are All the Teachers of Color 20
ALTHOUGH NONWHITE PUBLIC SCHOOL STUDENTS ARE NOW THE MAJORITY IN THE UNITED STATES, NONWHITE TEACHERS ARE ANYTHING BUT.
STORY BY JOSH MOSS P H O T O G R A P H S B Y WA LT E R S M I T H
“There were so many kids wearing bowties like mine. Even if they don’t realize it at the time, your students are always watching your moves, and I’m very cognizant of that and always watching what I’m doing.” EDVERETTE BREWSTER, ED.M.’16
All teachers are white.
That’s what ESTEFANIA RODRIGUEZ believed as a kid going to school in Hartford, Connecticut. When she was four years old, she and her family fled violence in their native Colombia and moved to the United States. “Pretty much life or death,” she says. Her father, a bench jeweler (“My dad fixes jewelry; I don’t have any”), and housekeeper mother settled in Hartford. “Housing projects, very dangerous neighborhoods. I know what gunshots sound like,” says Rodriguez, who is getting her master’s in the Learning and Teaching Program. Her favorite thing was going to the library with her mother. “We didn’t have a lot,” Rodriguez says, “but I always had books.” One thing she never had, as far as she can remember, is a white classmate. “I don’t want to exaggerate,” she says, “but I don’t think there was one in the schools I went to.” It was nearly the opposite with teachers. Her kindergarten teacher was a Puerto Rican woman who spoke Spanish and English, but “besides that, all teachers were white in elementary school, all of them were white in middle school other than, I believe, my PE teacher. In high school, same trend,” Rodriguez says. In public schools today, minority students are — well, it’s probably time to stop referring to them as the minority. According to the U.S. Department of Education, about 50 percent of the public school student population is nonwhite (a percentage that’s expected to increase for years to come). The statistic that concerns many, from the federal government to states to districts to schools to individual teachers, is that 80 percent of public school teachers are white. Why does it matter if most minority students have white teachers? For starters, a Center for American Progress study titled America’s Leaky Pipeline for Teachers of Color reports that minority teachers have higher expectations of minority students, provide culturally relevant teaching, develop trusting relationships with students, confront issues of racism through teaching, and become advocates and cultural brokers.
Lecturer Sarah Leibel, a master teacher in charge of the English/language arts strand and overall recruiting for the Ed School’s new Harvard Teacher Fellows (htf) Program, mentions how, in literature, students need “mirrors and windows,” meaning they can see them themselves in stories and also experience unfamiliar worlds. “I see people similarly,” she says, noting that in her recruiting for htf, they actively look for a diverse cohort of students who will then become teachers. “It’s really important that students have people who reflect back to them their language, their culture, their ethnicity, their religion. It doesn’t mean all the people in their lives have to do that mirroring, but they should have some. And we know that in the teaching profession, there really are not enough mirrors.” In other words, not enough role models. “When I was a teacher in the Bronx, I would get off the train with my little tie on and my khakis and would walk into the neighborhood to go to the school,” says Lecturer Eric Shed, director of htf. “Everybody else with a suit and tie was going the opposite way, to hop on the train to go to downtown Manhattan to go make some money. That image of a man of color walking into this neighborhood to serve the community has subtle but unbelievably profound effects.” EDVERETTE BREWSTER, also a master’s student in the Learning and Teaching Program, has his own tie story from his time as a middle school English teacher in Boston. During one “switch-up day,” students came to school dressed like their teachers. “There were so many kids wearing bowties like mine,” he says, laughing. “Even if they don’t even realize it at the time, your students are always watching your moves. I’m very cognizant of that and always watching what I’m doing” — to the point that he would never buy a bottle of wine in the neighborhood. “If I did, it would have to be a covert operation; I’d have to wear a hoodie so the kids don’t see Mr. Brewster walking into a liquor store,” he says.
“As dedicated and passionate as my white teachers were, there was always that last layer that they never understood, which comes with life expereinces and cultural backgrounds.” ESTEFANIA RODRIGUEZ, ED. M.’16
“I’ve had to prove or argue how I’m in education because I’m a woman of color, not because I’ve settled on education.” ESTEFANIA RODRIGUEZ
Will Hayes shares a funny moment with students at the East Camden Middle School in New Jersey.
Rodriguez focused on special education at Boston University as an undergraduate and, most recently, taught middle school social studies at a turnaround school, what she describes as “the lowest-achieving school for over 25 years in Hartford,” where 100 percent of students were black or Latino and qualified for free or reduced-price lunch. “I really wanted to do this for my community. It’s my home,” she says. “As dedicated and passionate as my white teachers were, there was always that last layer that they never understood, which comes with life experiences and cultural background. I don’t ever make the argument that only teachers of color can teach students of color. Not at all. But eventually you realize, wow, there are a lot of things I was never taught. You start to realize your people have a history and a story in this country, and so do blacks and Asians and pretty much every ethnic minority.” As a student at the Ed School, she wanted to learn how “to fix this problem of not having teachers of color.” She knows some of the challenges, like how black and Latino students are far less likely to graduate from high school or college or pass teacher-certification exams than their white counterparts, which results in a shallower candidate pool. Still, she wonders: How do you recruit teachers? And, once you do, how do you support them so they don’t leave the profession?
like many districts, boston public Schools (bps) has initiatives to encourage minorities to become teachers (14 percent of bps students are white, compared with more than 60 percent of bps teachers). Assistant Superintendent of Human Capital EMILY KALEJS QAZILBASH, ED.M.’97, ED.D.’09, mentions recruitment trips to historically black colleges and universities, a “community-to-teacher” program that offers college graduates with a four-year degree a pathway to becoming teachers, getting successful high school students to consider careers in the classroom, and hiring teachers beginning in March instead of the summer like many other districts. “It’s not quite chicken-and-egg, but it’s a cycle,” she says. “You’re a black student or you’re a Hispanic student, you don’t really see black or Hispanic teachers, so it’s not really on your mind to go into teaching. We say the pithy statement, ‘You can’t be what you don’t see.’” Professor SUSAN MOORE JOHNSON, M.A.T.’69, ED.D.’81, and her colleagues at the Project on the Next Generation of Teachers interviewed 142 teachers and administrators in six highachieving but high-poverty schools in Massachusetts. “One school was having trouble recruiting teachers of color because the teachers of color they had were leaving, so then the remaining teachers would feel isolated and leave too,” she says. “In schools that have very few teachers of color, they are treated — the word token is really alarming to a lot of people, so I’m careful about using it. But it means that individual teachers are being asked to speak for an entire race.” (One of the interviewees said being the sole black male teacher “almost feels like I’m in someone else’s house, intruding.” Another, talking about recruiting strate-
“We’re not afraid to articulate: You are black, you are Latino; it’s not going to be easy for you, but we want you to be successful despite living in a society that doesn’t necessarily honor that.” WILLIAM HAYES, ED. M.’08 Illustration by John Doe
Hayes walks the halls with a student at East Camden, which includes middle school grades 6–8.
gies, mentioned looking for clues on resumes. “We would be like, ‘Oh, my God, I think this is a person that … Look at her last name! She speaks Spanish! Let’s try to get her in here right away.’”) A study released last September, The State of Teacher Diversity in American Education by the Albert Shanker Institute, examined nine cities across the country and found that only in Los Angeles were minority teachers the majority. Historically, the gulf wasn’t always so vast. Before Brown v. Board of Education, primarily black teachers taught black students. Following the 1954 ruling that desegregated public schools, however, many schools serving black students closed, and those students started attending schools that had been white only. Tens of thousands of black teachers and principals were out of work. By the late 1980s, the Ford Foundation, partnering with the DeWitt Wallace-Reader’s Digest Fund, made a widely cited commitment of more than $60 million for recruiting minority teachers. And it helped — a bit: Today, the federal government and more than half of all states have initiatives in place to recruit minorities to teach in public schools. The challenge is keeping them in the profession. According to one estimate, some 47,600 minorities became teachers in 2003–04. Un-
fortunately, by the end of the school year, more than 56,000 minority teachers overall had left the profession. And that, many say, is a big part of the problem. As the Shanker Institute study points out, “It makes no sense to put substantial effort into recruiting minority candidates to teach in schools serving disadvantaged students if large numbers of those same teachers then leave those schools in a few years.” Johnson agrees. “We’ve made progress over the last 15 years in recruiting more teachers of color, but I think the real story is that turnover becomes this big undertow,” she says. “Virtually everybody concludes that this has to do with the fact that high-minority schools — which is where teachers of color want to be — are on average more dysfunctional as organizations.” Johnson says minorities who are unhappy in their schools are more likely to leave the profession than white teachers, who are more inclined to transfer to wealthier schools. “I think it’s really important to keep it clear that there are really successful schools serving high-poverty student populations that actually are supportive workplaces,” Johnson says. “It’s just, there aren’t enough of them.” While growing up in Memphis, Tennessee, Brewster always imagined he was an elementary school teacher like his mom, with his Power Rangers figurines morphing into his students. “Weird, I know,” the 25-year-old says, laughing. Yet for a sixth-grade project about careers he picked … law. “Usually when people label you as smart, your career options become lawyer or doctor or engineer,” he says. Brewster studied public policy at Vanderbilt and then planned to do a two-year Teach For America (tfa) stint before attending law school. tfa took him to Boston. He never got around to the whole law school thing. “Yes, I want my students to write better,” Brewster says, “but a lot of the reason I became a teacher was to show them there is an alternate reality to some of the things they’re dealing with. “I think it’s important for students to see people who look like them. It’s going to be easier for them to listen or understand where a person is coming from, to a certain degree. But any teacher — no matter the race or age — you have to build relationships and get to know your students. I think that’s why I’ve had success. Not just because I’m black.” Rodriguez says she was more “second mom” than “history teacher” at her school in Hartford. “I wish I could say I stuck to teaching, but I’ve had to help students get through really traumatic experiences, just kind of giv-
ing them the love and attention they require in the moment,” she says. “And when I did teach, I really didn’t teach history because my students couldn’t read. I had to incorporate literacy skills and math skills and science skills into my lessons because the students were failing in so many different areas.” Choosing education as a career baffled her parents. “My dad, he always said that teaching was important work, but his expectations were higher: ‘You’re going to be a teacher? You could be an astronaut!’” she says. “People think of medicine and engineering as these highly professional careers that involve a lot of training, a lot of knowledge, a lot of intelligence, a lot of integrity,” Leibel says, “but people don’t always think of teaching that way. The more that we can do to show people that teaching is complex, that’s it’s admirable, and that it’s really a profession that involves a lot of skills and knowledge, the more we can raise the standard for what teaching looks like and who’s attracted to it.” Or as Brewster puts it: “I think paying teachers more money could attract more people to the profession, but I don’t think anybody will solve this problem until, on a global scale, there’s an appreciation for the craft of teaching.” Rodriguez says that, too often, “one exceptional kid is labeled as the one who’s going to make it out of the ’hood. Why would that person become a teacher? There has to be an understanding that this is a profession that takes you into the community to do good work. Unfortunately, success is usually framed by what kind of job can get you out of the community. “There is this connotation that, as a person of color, you’re already less intelligent, so of course you would go into work that people perceive as not as hard compared to being a doctor or lawyer,” Rodriguez says. “I’ve struggled with that. I’ve had to prove or argue how I’m in education because I’m a woman of color, not because I’ve settled on education. I actually chose education.” With the new htf Program, following an intensive summer training program, the 20 Harvard College graduates in the first class of fellows will take teaching residencies at urban public schools in Brooklyn, New York; Denver; and Oakland, California, then make a four- to seven-year commitment to stay in the classroom. “By making this a high-profile program where Harvard College students — ‘the best of the best’ — are committing to this career, we think it can have a profound ripple effect and implication about what it means to be a teacher,” Shed says.
having spent the last year at harvard as a student, Brewster says, “It’s so much easier than teaching because I’m only concerned about myself for a year and not 50 students.” Teacher “burnout,” he says, “is real.” It’s easy to see why as Brewster describes his job title at his middle school: “English teacher, counselor, mentor, father, spiritual adviser.” (Shed mentioned a similar list from one of the readings in the course he taught this past spring: “One of the authors says, ‘Teachers must be expert psychologists, cops, rabbis, priests, judges, gurus, and, paradoxically, students of our students.’”) Brewster would knock on doors after answering a phone call from a parent saying, “I don’t know where my child is. Can you please help?” Driving students to and from school, giving them money for food, mentoring boys who were never even in his class. “I’m not their parent, but I feel responsible,” Brewster says. He calls one former student his son. “He goes to church with me on Sundays. He got baptized last year,” he says. But “there were days when I’m in the [school] parking lot like, ‘I can’t do this.’ But I’d say, ‘If I don’t do this, who will?’” Rodriguez says she cooked meals, purchased winter coats, helped parents fill out job applications, visited juvenile detention centers, attended funerals. “I don’t think these things don’t happen in more affluent schools, but this was like a daily thing,” she says. When she got to the Ed School, she realized, “I don’t have any money in savings. Where did it all go? Oh, my students.” She points out that while all of the students in her school in Hartford were black or Latino, she estimates she was one of only five minority teachers. “Five teachers out of an entire building is just not enough,” she says. “If you’re the only teacher of color in a school, you become the house mom for all the students of color. It’s not sustainable if there’s one of you to meet the needs of so many.” Plus, being labeled
“And when I did teach, I really didn’t teach history because my students couldn’t read. I had to incorporate literacy skills and math skills and science skills into my lessons because the students were failing in so many different areas.” ESTAFANIA RODRIGUEZ
“I think it’s important for students to see people who look like them. It’s going to be easier for them to listen or understand where a person is coming from, to a certain degree. But any teacher, no matter the race, the age — you have to build relationships and get to know your students. I think that’s why I’ve had success. Not just because I’m black.”
the “Latina teacher” gave her a sense that she needed to outperform her colleagues, who were mostly white, middle-class women. Rodriquez was athletic director, coached basketball and volleyball, ran student council, and wrote curriculum for the district. WILLIAM HAYES, ED.M.’08, is principal of a Camden, New Jersey, charter middle school, and he understands the challenges affecting teachers in high-poverty urban schools. Some of his students are in gangs or victims of sexual assault or have witnessed drug usage. “Any murder that occurs in the city of Camden, it’s likely that our students are one to two degrees of separation away from the person who was the victim,” he says. One way to prevent minority teacher burnout, Hayes says, is to make sure one or two people aren’t shouldering the social-justice load. At his school, white, black, and Latino/bilingual teachers each make up a third of the staff. The front office workers are Latino. Assistant principals are black, white, male, female. “I think it’s important that staff can have a personal connection with students,” Hayes says. “As a black male, I have experienced what it is to go out into society and nobody cares what you know, to go into college and it’s assumed you don’t know much, or to have people make stereotypical comments. Those are things that aren’t going to be written into the literature books or the math books, but they need to be part of the conversation. We’re not afraid
to articulate: You are black, you are Latino; it’s not going to be easy for you, but we want you to be successful despite living in a society that doesn’t necessarily honor that.” Johnson says that, in general, the issues of the workplace that matter — to teachers of all races — are much the same: strong principal, instructional autonomy, decision-making influence. “I don’t think districts for the most part are successful because they deal with the issue of diversity itself apart from the other challenges of making sure that all their schools work well for all kids,” she says. In December, Hayes and colleagues in Detroit and Washington, D.C., incorporated the Philadelphia-based Fellowship, an alliance of black educators that will organize a convening four times a year. More than 120 participants signed up for the first one held last year. Some discussed what it was like, in Hayes’ words, “to be the sole advocate for students of color at their school. It was an opportunity to think, share, and vent. And also to motivate and encourage.” Across the country, there are other groups. One in Boston called meoc, or Male Educators of Color. There’s the mister Initiative (Mentors Instructing Students Toward Effective Role Models) in South Carolina, the Minority Teacher Identification and Enrichment Program in Illinois, Teach Tomorrow in Oakland, and too many others to list. The federal government’s teach campaign, which included recruitment visits to colleges cam-
RACIAL/ETHNIC ENROLLMENT IN PUBLIC SCHOOLS
5949+ 46 1715+ 1826+ 29 4+56+ 1+1+ 0+34+ Just as the overall number of students enrolled in public elementary and secondary schools has increased, so too has the percentage of nonwhite students.
AMERICAN INDIAN/ALASKA NATIVE
TWO OR MORE RACES
2002 2015 2024 (PROJECTED)
* DATA NOT COLLECTED. SOURCE: U.S. DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION, NATIONAL CENTER FOR STATISTICS, COMMON CORE DATA (CCD), STATE NONFISCAL SURVEY OF PUBLIC ELEMENTARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION, 2002-03 AND 2012-13; AND NATIONAL ELEMENTARY AND SECONDARY ENROLLMENT PROJECTION MODEL, 1972 THROUGH 2024.
puses like Morehouse by film director Spike Lee, has a goal of recruiting 1 million teachers in the next 10 years, with an emphasis on diversity. Hayes even met with Secretary of Education John King last November about how better to recruit and retain minority teachers. “In some instances,” Hayes says, “this movement is in its grassroots phase. But all students, white students — I think that this country — can benefit by viewing people of color in positions of power that they trust and respect and grow to love.” For exactly this reason, writes Gloria Ladson-Billings, a black professor at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, in a recent essay in Ed Week, “There is something that may be even more important than black students having black teachers, and that is white students having black teachers. It is important for white students to encounter black people who are knowledgeable. What opportunities do white students have to see and experience black competence?” And white students, Rodriguez says, are ready. She mentions a friend, a minority teacher in an affluent district, who teaches her white students about racial inequality and institutional racism. “I say, ‘Wait, you did a lesson on what?’ But white students want to talk about these issues.” Looking ahead, Brewster recently agreed to return to his school in Dorchester for at least a year after graduating. That’s as much
TEACHER DIVERSITY A breakdown of teachers, by race, in the United States.
82% NONLATINO WHITE
7% NONLATINO BLACK
SOURCE: NATIONAL CENTER FOR EDUCATION STATISTICS, DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION, FOR 2011-12.
as he knows right now. But there is that pull. He mentions a minority friend who teaches in the suburbs. She has told him about the guilt she deals with because she left a high-poverty school for a more affluent one. “I left my kids, and I don’t feel OK with that sometimes,” she’ll tell him. Has he considered a similar move to a suburban school? “Honestly? I don’t know if I could. I really don’t.” But has he thought about it? “It’s something I have possibly thought about, yes.” Johnson, the Harvard professor, pauses when asked if minorities will make up a larger percentage of public school teachers 10 years from now. “I don’t even know how to answer that. I honestly don’t,” she says. “It’s not gone in a good direction lately. And I don’t feel at all confident that public education is going to attract and retain teachers of color unless schools where they want to teach become better places for them to work.” Rodriguez says she isn’t sure what she’ll do after graduating from Harvard. “My heart’s in the classroom, but my role as a teacher for the last four years was unsustainable,” she says. “I’d hate to be one of those statistics, one of those teachers of color who burn out.” Many of her Harvard colleagues are also from lowachieving state turnaround schools. “We’re all thinking, ‘Can I go back into the classroom? Or should I make an impact in education some other way?’” JOSH MOSS IS EDITOR OF LOUISVILLE MAGAZINE. IN 2010, FOR ED., HE WROTE ABOUT HOW YOUNGER PRINCIPALS WERE HANDLING THE JOB.
Hayes says all students benefit by seeing teachers of color at the front of the classroom. 29
READ SUSAN MOORE JOHNSON’S PAPER THE CHALLENGE OF RECRUITING AND HIRING TEACHERS OF COLOR ON OUR WEBSITE: GSE.HARVARD.EDU/ED/EXTRAS.
Illustration by John Doe
On: Summer 2016
Novelist BINA SHAH, ED.M.â€™94, talks about growing up
in two countries and how she became a writer.
Bland Food, Binders, and Being Outspoken
STORY BY LORY HOUGH PHOTOGRAPHS BY WAHA J ALLEY
It was early evening in Karachi,
“Once I decided I was going to go for it, I always thought I’d go for it in a big way. I always hoped I’d be known internationally. I always had that kind of attitude: I’ll do it myself and figure it out as I go along.”
and BINA SHAH, ED.M.’94, was settling down with a cup of tea. Dinner was hours away, and she had a phone interview lined up with an American reporter. She was taking a break from work on her seventh book, a feminist dystopian novel in the tradition of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale but with what she calls a “distinctly Asian phenomenon” — that of the rising maleto-female birth rate and the consequences for society. As any talented writer will tell you, Shah isn’t sure the novel is any good. “Every time you write, you’re taking a gamble,” she says. “I am plagued by fears that it’s a ridiculous premise or that it’s completely unbelievable.” By that measure, Shah takes a lot of gambles. Not only has she published four novels and two short story collections, but she’s also a journalist, contributing regularly to The International New York Times, Al Jazeera, and Dawn, Pakistan’s oldest English-language newspaper. She posts regularly on her blog. She’s active on Facebook and Twitter. Her writing, it seems, is everywhere. Pretty impressive for someone who never really planned on being a professional writer. When she came back to Pakistan after her year at Harvard, where she had been drawn
to the Technology, Innovation, and Education Program (tie) and to professors like Eleanor Duckworth and Gerald Lesser, and a year writing medical manuals for a software company outside of Boston (plus four at Wellesley as an undergrad psychology major), she had no idea what she was going to do. “I was dislocated. I was very lost,” she says. And so she started to write. For two technology publications, using her tie skills. For cultural websites and literary journals. And then for herself: short stories, which led to her first collection, Animal Medicine, and then a year later, her first novel, Where They Dream in Blue. “The writing really helped me find myself.” And so, she jumped in headfirst. “Once I decided I was going to go for it, I always thought I’d go for it in a big way. I always hoped I’d be known internationally,” she says. “I always had that kind of attitude: I’ll do it myself and figure it out as I go along.” the first time shah had to figure it out as she went along. Just after she was born in 1972, her parents took her to live in the United States while her father, Shafqat, was getting his master’s degree in foreign affairs at the University of Virginia. The initial plan was to live abroad for two years. “He decided to stay on and complete his Ph.D. That decision was influenced in part by political events,” she says. Her uncle, Zulfiqar Ali Shah, had been jailed by then-Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, (the father of future Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto), for his association with Pir Pagara, a spiritual leader of the Sunni Muslim order of the Hurs. It was feared that Shah’s father might be next. “So he made the swift decision to stay on in Virginia,” she says. As she wrote in a piece published on Medium, the decision was not only swift, but also nerve-wracking. “In a midnight escape more thrilling than the screenplay of any movie, my father, mother, and I fled to the airport, where friends arranged for us to be driven straight onto the tarmac, avoiding passport control and Bhutto’s cronies in the immigration department,” she wrote. “We boarded a plane
to go straight back to the United States, where my father had been invited to continue his studies and earn a Ph.D. We arrived in New York City 24 panicked and frightening hours after we had left Pakistan. My father did not even have a valid student visa, but the immigration officer let him into the country on the strength of my father’s still-valid student ID card from the university. It was a gesture of generosity my father has never forgotten.” They stayed until 1977, when Bhutto was deposed and it was safe to come back. It was a tough transition for a five-year-old who loved her home in America. “Virginia was idyllic: The area is green, in the Blue Ridge Mountains, lots of horses and farms everywhere,” Shah says. “Charlottesville is a charming university town with lots of international students whom my parents were all friends with. They were raising their children together, so it was a community within a community in which we socialized.” Times weren’t always easy — the curriculum was challenging and political uncertainty at home stressful — but there was a built-in support system among the graduate students, who helped one another with babysitting and through illness, Shah says. “I remember a lot of dinners and get-togethers, everyone celebrating each others’ holidays. My parents are still friends with all the people they knew there, even though they’re spread all over the world now. For me it was very tranquil and a time of utter freedom and happiness.” And then the move back to Pakistan. “I suffered tremendously from culture shock. I was never happy about being here and always wanted to go back to the United States, which I considered my home,” she says. In Karachi, she was teased for having an American accent and not being able to speak Urdu. She missed the bland American food she had come to adore. “I missed so many brandname foods, the stuff you grow up with: Kraft marshmallows, Ruffles potato chips, Jell-O, Kool-Aid.” Occasionally she got to taste them again: The Americans in town had access to a commissary where these brand names were sold. Shah remembers that at her school, the Karachi American School, the commissary food was valued similarly to gold. “Sometimes we had school picnics and we’d get fed with food from the commissary. I remember a picnic where we got Oscar Meyer beef franks and grape soda. I told my teacher it was the best meal I’d ever eaten.” For this westernized girl, the culture shock those first few years might have been even
harder if it hadn’t been for her mother, Nasreen, the woman she describes as the first feminist in her life. “My father’s family was very socially conservative. The women of the family observed purdah, which is a type of seclusion practiced mainly by people who consider themselves descendants of the Prophet Muhammed,” Shah says. “They wouldn’t go to school. They wouldn’t go outside of the house unless heavily veiled and accompanied only by male family members. They would never work. So I saw this extreme environment, and while my immediate family did not practice this, we were affected by the restrictions for women.” As a result, she grew up hearing a lot about what girls could and couldn’t do — but not from her mother. “My mother insisted on me being allowed to travel on school trips and participate in extracurriculars like sports, music, and drama. But there was always tension in the house, not because my dad minded those things, but because the extended family might disapprove.” Shah, too, might have accepted things as the way they were for certain members of the family if her mother hadn’t protested so vociferously about them. “My mother was a big influence on my father, too, giving him the courage to oppose a lot of the restrictions and not apply them to his own family. But with family pressure he might have just carried on with the traditions.” Still, as she wrote in a blog post explaining why she calls herself a feminist, “no matter how visionary or open-minded my parents were, they still had to make compromises for the restrictive environment in which we lived, and I was the victim of those compromises.” As Shah got older, when visiting her father’s family in Sindh, about two and a half hours from Karachi, she was no longer allowed to play freely or visit the men’s section of the house. The family farm was off limits because it was improper for women to be seen by “ordinary laborers.” She started wearing baggy shalwar kameezes — loose pants and tunics. When it was time to think about college, there was pushback when she suggested applying to schools outside of Pakistan. “Going to college in the United States was a very contentious subject and almost didn’t happen. It took a lot of convincing for my father to agree to send me,” she says. She considered the Ivy Leagues and the University of Virginia, but her family finally said yes to Wellesley for one big reason: It was a women’s college. She was elated. She was going back to America, the country she longed for. Yet, as is
A mix of the personal, the political, and the historical, Shah’s latest novel takes place during the last three months of Benazir Bhutto’s life. The book’s cover, she says, is based on the ceiling of the Shah Jehan Mosque in Thatta, Pakistan, built in 1647.
“Americans might be uncomfortable with me because of my Muslim and Pakistani background, but they trust my opinion when they learn how westernized I am.”
To read more from Shah herself, go to @BinaShah or binashah.blogspot.com.
often the case with things we desperatly want, the return didn’t quite start out the way she expected. “I had a rebellious attitude, but it was so suppressed and repressed that I felt guilty for wanting to do all the things that other kids, especially boys, got to do,” she says. Mixed with guilt was a new longing — to be back in Karachi. “I felt disloyal for being homesick for Pakistan, rather than America. I had for 12 years considered America home and felt homesick for it while I was in Pakistan. I wanted to return to America like a salmon going back to its birthplace. But now, at 17, I was separated from my family and my friends and Pakistan. That felt so antithetical to what I expected.” shah began to love america again, with Wellesley’s ideals of freedom and sisterhood easing the transition. And it was at Wellesley that she eventually found her voice. “Being away from the suffocating environment of Pakistan, because it was nowhere near as progressive as it’s become today, at least in the intellectual circles I move in now, helped me to find my voice,” she says — the voice that would allow her, decades later, to plunge into writing that covers taboo and divisive topics like women’s rights, beggars, Muslim male privilege, honor killings, and head coverings for women. A voice that allowed her to write in her newest novel, A Season For Martyrs, about Benazir Bhutto — the daughter of the man who wanted to jail her uncle, and herself a controversial figure in Pakistan. Surprisingly, despite this history, Shah was distraught when she heard the news in 2007 that Bhutto, the first female prime minister of a Muslim nation, had been assassinated. “I was at home, it was about 6 p.m. in the evening, and it was flashed on the news,” she says. “I ran out of my room into the living room and stood and watched. It was awful.” By then, Shah says she no longer had conflicted feelings about Bhutto. “In a way I worked them out when she returned to Pakistan for the last time to try and fight the elections. I felt she’d changed, become more mature, and learned from her past mistakes. She’d also distanced herself from her husband, who had been accused of the corruption… . What happened to my uncle was because of her father, not her. She was a different person from him, and I don’t think she would have done the same thing.” Since then, Shah’s strong voice has also allowed her to become the go-to person in Pakistan on issues related to education and girls
and learning. In The New York Times, she recently talked about teaching liberation to girls in her country and girls being left out of sports. Al Jazeera interviewed her about Boko Haram and a girl’s right to go to school. And on the BBC, where she is a frequent guest, she has talked about genocide, provocative photos of women in the media, and another controversial figure in her country: Malala Yousafzai, the young Pakistani girl who was shot while on her way to school and eventually awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. The criticism swirling around Malala isn’t surprising, Shah says. “There’s always a backlash against anyone feted by the international community, read: the West,” she says, “and anyone who exposes the darker side of Pakistan to be picked over by the world, which she did by virtue of being shot just for wanting her education. What happened to Malala says very bad things about Pakistan, which people were ashamed of, and they deflected by turning her into a villain. The more she accomplishes, the more they’ll continue to hate her. Pakistanis are very conflicted about people who succeed in our society, especially on their own terms, or at least on terms that are not set by the ‘chattering classes.’ What a great phrase!” Shah, too, faces criticism, sometimes quite personal, not only for being outspoken, but also because of her link to the United States. “Anyone with a Western outlook is treated with suspicion even as Pakistanis have a fascination/admiration for the West, as a result probably of our colonial past and then the very close client–patron relationship we’ve had with the United States since 1947,” she says. “We’re repelled by the very thing we are attracted to. I think this is really a colonial legacy.” Still, she never shies away from her bicultural upbringing or education — or for continuing to identify, as she has over the years, with both homes. “I’ve always had two time zones in my head, Pakistan and the United States,” she says. “Somehow I always find myself thinking about what time it is in Pakistan and America. I think I exist in two spaces in my head, Pakistan and America, almost all the time.” It’s why she tells people she’s a “bridge” for both cultures. “But a bridge encourages traffic in both directions,” she says. “Americans might be uncomfortable with me because of my Muslim and Pakistani background, but they trust my opinion when they learn how westernized I am.” Asked if she’s ever worried about her own safety, given that a close friend of hers, Sabeen
Mahmud, the owner of a progressive cafe in Karachi where Shah wrote two of her novels, was gunned down in her car one night last year for being outspoken, Shah says not any more than anyone else. “Living in Karachi, everyone’s worried about their safety. It’s a big, lawless city with a lot of crime,” she says. “Lots of armed guards everywhere with automatic weapons, guarding the airport, the malls, the cinemas. It’s comparable to Johannesburg or Rio de Janeiro in terms of street crime. But I watched Sicario, [the movie] about the drug cartels in Mexico, and that struck a chord with me, too, the organized violence, which we have a lot of as well. Much of ours is politically motivated. It’s second nature to be conscious of security or lack of it when you live in Karachi, not necessarily because of the work I do.” In any case, Shah says nothing will stop her from being outspoken. “Do you remember the phrase they used back in the early ’90s to make people aware of AIDS? ‘Silence = Death.’ I guess that’s how it feels for me,” she says. “If I don’t get to speak out and express myself, I’ll die.” And so she continues to write and edit, with her own style. “When I’m writing a first draft, the writing is all over the place. It might happen early in the morning or late at night. Whenever inspiration strikes,” she says. “But when I’m editing, then it’s much more dreary: from 10 a.m. until about 1 or 2 p.m. in the afternoon, then I quit for the day. I’m a restless writer. I’m always getting up to walk around and trying not to get distracted. I drink a lot of water when I write. I become very crabby and I don’t want to be around people very much, so there’s very little socializing.” There are, however, binders. “There is a group on Facebook called Binders Full of Women for women writers, after that famed statement by Mitt Romney in the U.S. election. I keep trying to exit the group and someone always adds me back in,” Shah jokes. “But in my own writing, I do use binders. I print out the whole manuscript after I’ve written it and then divide the pages — there are more than 300 of them usually — between three different binders, and I edit with a pen.” It’s a skill she learned when she interned at Oxford University Press in Pakistan in 1991. “The classic way to edit a manuscript was with editors’ marks, which I learned while I was there. I still use a very corrupted version of them when I edit my own work. You can scribble notes in the margins, write out different versions of
sentences. You have no idea how good it feels to just strike through a paragraph you don’t want anymore with a red pen. Clicking the computer keys isn’t nearly as satisfying.” As Shah finishes the interview and heads back to slog away again on her new novel, she laughs when asked if it’s harder to write the beginning of a novel or the ending. “Getting started isn’t easy, but by the time you’re near the end, I’m near a nervous breakdown,” she says. “Something people don’t realize is how exhausting it is to write a book, how much it takes out of you. Remember how you felt at the end of your first-year exams? Like that. I do it to myself over and over, which must mean that I like it.” LORY HOUGH IS THE EDITOR IN CHIEF OF HARVARD ED.
Under the watchful eye of Napolean Bonaparte and Notorious B.I.G. lyrics, Shah works on her dystopian novel at Cote-Rotie, a new cafe in Karachi.
A NEW MOVEMENT IS TRYING TO REFOCUS ADMISSIONS AWAY FROM PURELY INDIVIDUAL ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT AND TOWARD SOMETHING YOU CAN’T MEASURE WITH APPTITUDE TESTS OR A RESUME PADDED WITH PUBLIC SERVICE POINTS: REAL CONCERN FOR OTHERS AND THE COMMON GOOD. Story by Jeff Wagenheim Illustrations by Simone Massoni
Recommendations from Turning the Tide, focused on family contributions and daily kindness.
1 WEIGHING DAY-TODAY CONDUCT The admissions process should seek to assess more effectively whether students are ethically responsible and concerned for others and their communities in their daily lives. The nature of students’ day-to-day conduct should be weighed more heavily in admissions than the nature of students’ stints of service.
on’t throw away those No. 2 pencils, the kind you used to fill in all the little ovals back when you took the Scholastic Aptitude Test. If your parents went to college, too, they probably secured their places on campus by completing the sat with the same type of lead pencils. (It’s not lead inside, actually, but nontoxic graphite — maybe that should be one of the multiple choice questions on the test.) And if your children grow up with post-secondary schooling aspirations, they’ll also most certainly use trusty old No. 2s to write their tickets to the future. But through the generations, practically everything else about the standardized tests used for college admissions has undergone incremental changes. Just two years after the College Board introduced the sat in 1926, for instance, math questions were removed. They were absent for just a couple of years before returning in a different form, but disappeared again in the mid-’30s and weren’t reinstated for good until 1942. Grammar and writing skills became a focus in the 1970s, and along came an essay section in 2005. This spring saw the unveiling of a new version of the sat, following the most sweeping overhaul in two decades. There were changes to the format — no more penalties for guessing, so if you’re feeling lucky, go for it — and also shifts in content, from the addition of an optional essay to a more plain-spoken focus in the vocabulary testing. The College Board trumpeted the latter of those changes in a press release with this playful headline: “The College Board Elegizes Anachronistic Verbiage with Recondite Panegyric; Celebrates Final Administration of the Extant sat on Jan.
23.” So no more need to memorize the meanings and usages of ten-dollar words you’ll never again pull out of your billfold. All of this is happening at a time when college admissions in general are being reevaluated. More than 850 colleges, including many top-tier liberal arts institutions, have made it optional for applicants to submit scores from the sat or act, which was originally known as the American College Test. “One of the things we found out at Smith from careful study is that our own assessment of candidates was a better predictor of how students will do here at the college than the sat,” says Kathleen McCartney, president of Smith College. The women’s college went testoptional in 2008 (before McCartney became president; she was dean at the Ed School at the time). As Harvard Law School Professor Lani Guinier points out in her book The Tyranny of the Meritocracy: Democratizing Higher Education in America, “I have argued for years that the sat is actually more reliable as a ‘wealth test’ than a test of potential.” She cites a study by two former admissions officers at Bates College — one of the first institutions to go satoptional, some 32 years ago — that showed that students who performed well in college were the ones who had gotten strong grades in high school, regardless of their sat scores. Students who did well on the sat but had poor high school grades didn’t do as well in college. Luckily, standardized tests and high school transcripts are not all that factor into admissions decisions. Colleges review a candidate’s common application, which sums up the student’s demographic information and includes some expository writing, and letters of recommendation are also part of the mix, just as a personal interview can be. But there’s now a movement to refocus admissions away from purely individual academic achievement and toward what McCartney calls “a more holistic view of candidates.” In January, she was one of 85 endorsers from a wide swath of academia for an ambitious report, Turning the Tide: Inspiring Concern for Others and the Common Good through College Admissions. As RICHARD WEISSBOURD, ED.D.’87, senior lecturer at the Ed School and co-author of the Turning the Tide report, points out, “The college admissions process is one of the only rites of passage we have in this country. It’s a powerful place for adults to have thoughtful conversations with young people about values, exchanges about what’s most important to them,” he says. “But too often the admissions process ends up reinforcing just the achieve-
ment message, with ethical engagement and concern for others being marginalized.” As he explains, Turning the Tide grew out of a meeting hosted in the spring of 2015 by Making Caring Common, an Ed School project he co-directs. A year earlier, the project had surveyed 10,000 middle and high school students from diverse backgrounds from across the country about what is most important to them, and the results were startling. Given three choices, almost 80 percent of the students ranked either high achievement or personal happiness as most important to them, with only around 20 percent saying that caring for others was their top priority. “We’re not the first ones to recognize this. People have been lamenting the ‘me generation’ for a long time. But these are concerning trends,” says Weissbourd. “It doesn’t mean there aren’t a lot of wonderful young people. There are. But there is an excess of cultural messages that focus on individualism over investment in others. That has not been true to this degree at other times in our history.” So Weissbourd and his colleagues convened a meeting of a couple dozen admissions officials from colleges around the Northeast. The goal was to arrive at a consensus on a unified message about ethical engagement being just as important a factor in admissions as intellectual engagement. The meeting also delved into how admissions officers could more fairly assess the strengths of students of all races, classes, and cultures. In the end, Turning the Tide offered recommendations crafted to benefit students from backgrounds across the board. For example, those in low-income homes often need to be acknowledged and validated for their necessary contributions to their families — supervising younger siblings or working at the family store, for example. More affluent young people sometimes require relief from achievement pressure that contributes to the high rates of stress, depression, delinquency, and substance abuse in their communities. Then there were the recommendations that were essentially universal, such as the reassurance that college applicants need not list a dozen extracurricular activities and Advanced Placement courses. “These recommendations are a call for high school students to lead more balanced lives, lives in which they’re academically engaged and challenging themselves with some hard courses, certainly, but also lives that give them time to be engaged in their community, contributing to others as good citizens do,” Weissbourd says. “We’re hoping to make a
positive effect on the high school experience and send a message to students about what colleges value.” The messages that colleges send to high school students and their parents are especially important to those helping guide families through the application process. SARAH STYLE, ED.M.’07, C.A.S.’08, is a counselor at Newton South High School, a high-performing public school outside Boston. She starts talking to some kids about college as soon as she meets them in freshman year. Style tries to ease their minds and encourage a balanced approach, she says, “but the challenge is getting the students and their parents to believe me. They can be skeptical when I tell them that colleges aren’t going to reject them because of any one thing. They picture their transcript on a table next to the transcript of another student, and they have a C but the other student doesn’t. They panic, thinking that one grade is going to ruin them.” While Style is in her third year at a school that sends 85 percent of its graduates to college, she arrived there fresh off a stint in the Boston Public Schools. During those five years, she worked with many students for whom college seemed a faraway concept. “Students who are first generation going to college have a different point of view than kids whose grandfather went to Duke or great-grandmother went to Harvard,” Style says. “So I try to meet the kid where they’re at. If I’m speaking with a kid who is very, very stressed at the beginning of freshman year, thinking ‘What do I have to do to get into Harvard?’ — if they have that narrow mindset — my work with that student is to encourage them to follow their passions.” The person who can answer the question of what it takes to get into Harvard College perhaps better than anyone, WILLIAM FITZSIMMONS, ED.M.’69, ED.D.’71, is on board with the call to broaden young people’s education. Fitzsimmons, dean of admissions and financial aid at Harvard College, was instrumental in helping the Making Caring Common team assemble the admissions personnel who created Turning the Tide, and he appreciates that the report advocates for quality over quantity. “Even the most advanced students may benefit from avoiding course ‘overload’ and devoting more time for scholarly work that allows unstructured reflection and encourages the development of intellectual curiosity,” he says. “Our admissions process greatly values the quality of students’ academic work and not the quantity of their courses and examination results.” This approach to excellence has a way to go in spreading through the world of college ad-
2 CONTRIBUTIONS TO ONE’S FAMILY The admissions process should clearly send the message to students, parents, and other caregivers that not only community engagement and service but also students’ family contributions, such as caring for younger siblings, taking on major household duties, or working outside the home to provide needed income, are highly valued in the admissions process. Far too often there is a perception that highprofile, brief forms of service tend to count in admissions while these far more consistent, demanding, and deeper family contributions are overlooked. Students should have clear opportunities to report these family contributions on their applications.
“In my work in the Boston schools, I had some students who regularly spent many hours a week going to doctor appointments with a parent because the parent didn’t speak English. There also were students who worked in their families’ businesses— they didn’t get paid, it just was an expectation that they help out the business. These were valuable contributions, but not the kind of extracurricular activities that one might typically be guided to mention on an application for college admission or a scholarship.” SARAH STYLE, ED.M.’07, C.A.S.’08
missions. As Guinier writes, “In the current environment … moving away from merit by the numbers takes guts.” So stress relief for students is slow in coming. “As a developmental psychologist, as a mother of two adult children, and now as a higher education administrator, I am very aware of the stress that young people are under,” McCartney says. “And I think we need to do what we can to eliminate the needless stress and try to evaluate college applicants not as numbers but as whole people.” There can be stresses at both ends of the spectrum of applicants. Kids from families with a history of high academic achievement can wilt under the pressure of living up to their forebears. Those in families with no collegiate past can feel adrift in an uncharted sea and also might be unaware of not just what various colleges have to offer, but also of what they bring to the table themselves. “In my work in the Boston schools, I had some students who regularly spent many hours a week going to doctor appointments with a parent because the parent didn’t speak English,” says Style. “There also were students who worked in their families’ businesses — they didn’t get paid, it just was an expectation that they help out the business. These were valuable contributions, but not the kind
of extracurricular activities that one might typically be guided to mention on an application for college admission or a scholarship.” It’s exactly these kinds of contributions that the Turning the Tide folks want students to be able to report on their college applications. However, Senior Lecturer Mandy SavitzRomer, a onetime school counselor whose work now focuses on the readiness of lowincome and first-generation college students, has doubts that the recommended changes in admissions will level the playing field. High schools in less affluent communities don’t have the means, she says, to ensure that their counselors receive the ongoing professional development training to remain up to date with what college admissions officers are looking for in applications. Savitz-Romer, coauthor of the book Ready, Willing, and Able: A Developmental Approach to College Access and Success, also is skeptical that colleges truly will view a low-income applicant’s necessary work in support of family members in the same light as, say, a more affluent student’s social service trip to Central America. “And I even feel a little uncomfortable with kids being asked to exploit their family’s needs on a college application,” she says. While she views Turning the Tide as a step in the right direction, which is why she signed on to the report in support, Savitz-Romer has concerns that some of the messages might be misinterpreted by students as one-sizefits-all. “It’s great that we’re trying to relieve the pressure that exists in affluent schools by telling kids it’s not necessary to load up on AP courses,” she says. “But that’s not necessarily a problem that exists in lower-income schools, and we don’t want to send those kids a message that might steer them away from taking ap courses. We want to encourage kids in that environment to challenge themselves and be engaged in school.” Kevin Kelly has worked the admissions process from both sides of the fence. He and his wife, a high school counselor, have a small firm offering independent college counseling to high school students. But for the 10 years prior to this school year, Kelly was director of admissions at the University of Massachusetts. And in a career spanning more than 35 years, he worked in admissions at several New England colleges. The biggest difference Kelly sees between the college admissions of today and the process in place when he began at Boston University in 1981? It’s the same advance that has changed everything in practically all facets of life: the internet.
“The admissions process wasn’t exclusively word of mouth back then, but for most students, you knew about schools that were near you,” says Kelly. “You might have vague knowledge about some big-name colleges or schools that were football powerhouses, but students by and large tended to stay close to home.” Technology, combined with changing demographics, changed all that. There was a decline in the number of college-going kids in the Northeast, so schools had to look elsewhere. The internet made that recruiting more sophisticated, far speedier, and with a wider net being cast. The marketplace of today for students is worldwide, yet recruiters need not travel to the extent that they used to. And rather than massive mailings of materials, information can be dispersed with a click of a mouse. “When I started, no one could have imagined it would come to this,” says Kelly. “The competition for students is greater than ever.”
he competition between prospective students has been ramped up as well. Kelly recalls a night three winters ago when he was invited to a college admissions panel at a high school outside Boston. It turned out to be a rainy, sleety night, “and I schlepped out there from Amherst thinking, ‘If there are 50 people there, it’ll be a good night.’ Well, more than 700 people packed the place. I was stunned.” It wasn’t merely the numbers that were eye-opening. Kelly also watched students and parents swarm fellow presenters from the admissions departments at Harvard and mit, peppering them with questions. Are my sat scores good enough? Should my daughter take a fifth ap course? “That’s why I see this Turning the Tide report as a noble effort,” Kelly says. “There’s a lot of momentum built up toward hyper-preparing kids to get into the right college.” Indeed, the tide might be a tsunami. Working with high school students regularly provides Kelly and others a reminder that college applicants can be as fluid as the admissions process itself. “These are young people,” says Kelly. “They’re still growing and still changing.” Kelly’s most heartfelt advice for students: “Take back senior year.” Too often, applying to college becomes an all-consuming obses-
sion and spoils what could be the best year of a young person’s life. “So many cool things happen in senior year,” Kelly says. This is not to suggest that senior year is a two-semester party. McCartney sees it as a year for expanding horizons. “One of the things I see today in some young people is a too-narrow focus — students are so intent on having a great gpa that they won’t take any courses outside their comfort zone,” she says. “It’s also not a good thing when young people are doing their best in the classroom but getting stressed because they got one B. I hope that we can take the suggestions in the Turning the Tide report and align them with what happens in reality. That’s the next step.” That is the intention of the Making Caring Common team, which envisions the report as the jumping-off point in a two-year process. The project plans to bring together admissions leaders and parents for a summit this summer to try to enact the report’s recommendations at colleges across the country. Weissbourd believes the ball is already rolling. “I think admissions departments are a lot more alert than people think to packaged applications and packaged community service,” he says. “They’re quite good at telling what’s authentic and what’s inauthentic. That’s really the heart of the matter, in a way.” Authenticity might seem to be in the eye of the beholder, but it’s really in the heart of the doer. And even those college applicants who initially work in a food pantry or homeless shelter as a means to pad their resume might be in for a surprise. Weissbourd cites research showing that whether community service is mandatory or voluntary matters less than the quality of the service. “If kids have choices,” he says, “and if there’s good supervision, good structure, time to reflect, even if the service is mandatory, a lot of kids are going to benefit from it.” He suggests that young people set their sights on something that interests them and is bigger than themselves. “Do something meaningful in your community. Become intellectually engaged. Develop some passions,” Weissbourd says. “The idea is that if you focus on those things, if you choose a community service opportunity that’s authentic, that’s something you’re interested in, there’s a much greater likelihood that you’re going to learn. It might even be transformative for you.” JEFF WAGENHEIM IS A COLUMNIST AT SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, FOUNDING EDITOR OF WONDERTIME, AND A FORMER EDITOR AT THE BOSTON GLOBE.
3 TRUE PUBLIC SERVICE It’s vital that the admissions process squarely challenges misconceptions about what types of service are valued in admissions. Some students seek to “game” service by taking up highprofile or exotic forms of community service, sometimes in faraway places, that have little meaning to them but appear to demonstrate their entrepreneurial spirit and leadership. The admissions process should clearly convey that what counts is not whether service occurred locally or in some distant place or whether students were leaders, but whether students immersed themselves in an experience and the emotional and ethical awareness and skills generated by that experience.
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“Part of what frustrates me is that there is real science; there is real knowledge. Getting it from the theoretical to the practical is a reason I always loved this institution. It wasn’t just about writing a thesis and getting it published. It was about putting your money where your mouth is. Actually get in the tough places and demonstrate why you’re so brilliant.” GEOFFREY CANADA, ED.M.’75, PRESIDENT AND FOUNDER OF THE HARLEM CHILDREN’S ZONE, SPEAKING AT THE ED SCHOOL, NOVEMBER 2014 Illustration by Riccardo Vecchio
IN MEMORY 1930–1939 CARL HOWARD, GSE’32 1940–1949 ANNA IRWIN, ED.M.’48 1950–1959 ATHENA KUTRUBES, ED.M.’51 JO ANNE MCFARLANE, M.A.T.’52 SANDRA GLICK, M.A.T.’53 FRANCES HESS, M.A.T.’54 ROBERT STANTON, ED.D.’57 WALTER VORSE, C.A.S.’58 HUBERT HERSEY, ED.M.’59 IRWIN HOOGHEEM, GSE’59 1960–1969 MARGARET HORNBAKER, M.A.T.’60 JAMES CASE, GSE’62 PAULA SHAUD, M.A.T.’62 KARL JAEGER, ED.M.’58 44
MARJORIE MALLEY, M.A.T.’63 PETER REES, ED.D.’64 ALTHEA PEARLMAN, ED.M.’65 LYN EGSGARD, ED.M.’66 PETER ELKIN, ED.M.’66 CAROLINE HELMKAMP, M.A.T.’66 LILLIAN ACTON, ED.M.’67 CAROL SAFRAN, M.A.T.’67 EILEEN MCSWINEY, ED.M.’62, ELOISE TOMPKINS, ED.M.’69 1970–1979 CATHERINE ENGLAND, M.A.T.’72 1980–1989 TIMOTHY COMSTOCK, GSE’81 LARRY TORGERSON, ED.M.’74, CATHERINE KRUPNICK, M.A.T.’71, ED.D.’84 MAUREEN MAHONEY, GSE’84 MARGARET ROTHSCHILD, ED.M.’84 1990–1999 MARK HOMINUKE, ED.M.’91 2000–2009 JAYSON ROME, ED.M.’04
CHARLES SALTZMAN, M.A.T., reports that he taught at two independent schools and became head of three others: Hannah More Academy, Metairie Park Country Day School, and Madeira. He writes, “Fifteen years of school-heading were enough, and I stopped in 1988 to become a headhunter for nonpublic schools and an adjunct instructor in English at Gettysburg College, where I taught part time for 25 years. Getting back to teaching was a joy.” Now retired, he lives with his wife, Cornelia, on a farm north of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, which, he writes, “I bought for a pittance in 1964.” Their children and five grandchildren live in Austin, Texas, and Palo Alto, California.
ARCHIE BEAUVAIS, ED.D., of the Rosebud Sioux reservation in South Dakota, was inducted into the North Arizona University College of Education Hall of Fame on October 22, 2015, in Flagstaff, Arizona. The university previously awarded Beauvais an Alumni Achievement Award in 1987 and a Distinguished Scholar Award in 1989. He also received the Harvard Alumni of Color Conference alumni award in 2006.
1976 SANDRA STOTSKY, ED.D., former senior
associate commissioner in the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, recently published An Empty Curriculum: The Need to Reform Teacher Licensing Regulations and Tests, based on the changes she made in Massachusetts that contributed to the “Massachusetts education miracle” and to increased academic achievement for all demographic groups.
1980 THERESA ROGERS, ED.M., is currently a professor of literacy education and associate dean of the faculty of graduate and postdoctoral studies at the University of British Columbia– Vancouver, Canada. She recently published Youth, Critical Literacies, and Civic Engagement, a book focused on how youth in schools and communities draw on resources of the arts, media, and literacy to engage in public discourse and critical conversations about homelessness, violence,and their lives in a global city.
IBIPO JOHNSTON-ANUMONWO, ED.M., a professor in the geography department at SUNY Cortland for nearly three decades, received the 2016 AAG Distinguished Teaching Honors award from the Association of American Geographers in April. Born in Nigeria, Johnston-Anumonwo has also served in a leadership role for the Educational Testing Service human geography advanced placement exam. JOAN HELLER MILLER, ED.M., is a bereavement counselor for children and families in schools and com-
munity settings, and author of a new memoir, Healing Grief: A Story of Survivorship. joanhellermiller.com ROBERTA TENNEY, C.A.S., an educator from Concord, New Hampshire, was honored in November 2015 with the installation of a permanent plaque at the New Hampshire Department of Education in recognition of her designation as the 2015 N.H. Outstanding Educational Leader. The honor was given by the New Hampshire Edies Program. For 27 years, Tenney taught and served as an administrator for St. Paul’s School. She is currently an administrator in the New Hampshire Department of Education’s Bureau of School Standards and Innovation.
1985 ALEC LEE, ED.M., co-founder and executive director of Aim High, a San Francisco-based education nonprofit, was honored in February by President Obama’s Office of Public Engagement as a “champion of change” for his leadership in expanding summer
WANT TO CONNECT WITH EDUCATOR ALUMS ACROSS HARVARD? The Kennedy School isn’t the only school at Harvard with students interested in public policy. The B-School isn’t the only school where students are interested in business. And the same is true here: The Ed School isn’t the only school where students are interested in education issues. Which is exactly why a handful of alums, including VANESSA BEARY, ED.M.’11, ED.D.’14, and NELL O’DONNELL WEBER, ED.M.’10, recently started a shared interest group for alumni across the world who are working in education or who are interested in education issues. The idea is that the group will be able to connect with like-minded Harvard graduates and then find ways to collaborate and share ideas. O’Donnell Weber, who is also a current doctoral student, says the idea for the group actually began a few years ago. “Vanessa and I started working together in 2013 to lead the student organization, now called HIVE, that convenes all Harvard students interested in innovation in education.” They want to create the same convening opportunity for alumni. “Our vision is even bigger,” Beary says. “We are trying to create opportunities for connection and collaboration among all 250,000 Harvard alumni interested in education.”
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aspect of the district’s instruction and operations. JIANPING WANG, ED.M., recently joined Mercer County Community College in West Windsor, New Jersey, as the school’s president. Before joining Mercer, she was vice president of academic affairs at Ocean County College in New Jersey and dean of the division of arts and humanities at SUNY Westchester Community College.
Assistant professor SARAH DRYDEN-PETERSON, ED.D. (left) recently conducted fieldwork in the northwest region of Botswana with doctoral student BETHANY MULIMBI, ED.M.’12, on a project related to national identity and peace-building that she has been working on for the past three years. @drydenpeterson
learning opportunities for underserved students in the Bay Area.
New Jersey. Beedy has two dogs adopted from New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina: Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker.
1986 RICK ELY, ED.D., recently led a series
of technology classes aimed at people with vision loss at the Forbes Library in Northampton, Massachusetts. When Ely was 12, he lost much of his vision. While at the Ed School, he researched computer access for people with vision loss. He has since worked at the WGBH National Center for Accessible Media, the Perkins School for the Blind, and the Carroll Center For the Blind. CORNELIA “BURCH” VALLDEJULI,
ED.M., director of program development at the Yale School of Public Health, recently became co-owner of a health and fitness center in New Haven, Connecticut.
1988 JEFF BEEDY, ED.M.’84, ED.D., is head of the Purnell School in Pottersville,
1990 LEE COFFIN, ED.M., was appointed to the newly created position of vice provost for enrollment and dean of admissions and financial aid at Dartmouth College, starting July 1. Since 2003, Coffin was dean of undergraduate admissions and enrollment management at Tufts University. He has been an adjunct lecturer at the Ed School since 2006, most recently teaching a course called Principles and Policy Issues of College Admissions.
1992 BECKY SHUSTER, ED.M., was named assistant superintendent of equity this past November for the Boston Public Schools. In this role, she leads efforts to prevent and address bias and discrimination in every
DAVID BEARE, ED.M., has been the dean of faculty at Keystone Academy, a day and boarding school in Beijing since 2013. The dual language school (English, Chinese) officially opened in 2014. His wife, RACHAEL (SCOTT) BEARE, ED.M.’95, also works at the school as dean of admissions. Before Keystone, he worked several private schools, including the Hotchkiss School, the Lakeside School, Phillips Exeter Academy, and Loomis Chaffee.
JOAN DABROWSKI, ED.M., recently published a how-to book, Interactive Writing Across Grades: A Small Practice with Big Results, PreK–5, along with KATE ROTH, ED.M.’04, ED.D.’09. She is a literacy consultant and curriculum writer and former grades K–2 and 4–5 teacher. DENISE JUNEAU, ED.M., the state superintendent of public schools in Montana, formally announced her intent to run for Montana’s lone seat in the U.S. House of Representatives in the 2016 election. Juneau was first elected to the superintendent’s post in 2008, then re-elected in 2012. As an enrolled member of the Mandan Hidatsa Tribes and a descendent of the Blackfeet Tribe, Juneau was the first American Indian woman in the country to be elected to a statewide office. @denisejuneau
1995 RACHAEL (SCOTT) BEARE, ED.M., has been the dean of admissions at Keystone Academy, a day and
THE 1-QUESTION INTERVIEW: DAVID & RACHAEL BEARE Q
STUDENTS HAVE TO LIVE ON THE KEYSTONE CAMPUS STARTING IN GRADE 9. WHY IS THAT IMPORTANT?
We feel boarding is one of the best ways to help students develop the independence and self-assurance that they will need to be successful in university. Boarding also gives us an opportunity to do some of the character education that we feel is so important. Many of our students are only children, and our boarding program helps them to better understand how to create and nurture a positive community. Much like boarding schools in the United States, where students come from all over the country and all over the world, we wanted Keystone to be a national school with an international outlook. Boarding allows us to consider applicants from different provinces in China rather than just Beijing and to recruit students from around the globe. While most of our students are Chinese, we want them to appreciate the ethnic and cultural diversity within their own country as well as develop a broader perspective from international peers. The first time that students live away from home and have to take more responsibility for themselves can be a powerful one. Having the guidance and support of their teachers as they go through this experience will help them to achieve with greater confidence when they go away to college.
SUE KIM, ED.M., was appointed last fall as vice president of development at the Boston Children’s Museum. Most recently she was director of the Harvard Kennedy School Fund.
2000 EMILY DEXTER, ED.M.’90, ED.D., was elected this past November to the Cambridge School Committee. Dexter was one of 11 candidates running for six slots. Dexter is an
educational research consultant. Prior, she was director of research at Lesley University.
2001 IAN RUDERMAN, ED.M., recently published The Peculiar Grace of a Shaker Chair, a satirical novel that looks at what happens on a day-today basis inside a small boarding school. He currently teaches in Winchester, Massachusetts. ianruderman.com, @IanRuderman
THE 1-QUESTION INTERVIEW: IAN RUDERMAN TELL US THREE THINGS THAT HAPPEN IN YOUR NOVEL THAT YOU “BORROWED” FROM YOUR OWN TIME WORKING, TEACHING, AND LIVING AT A BOARDING SCHOOL.
I can’t remember jokes, the funny things people said, or what I ate for breakfast most days. A suspect memory is the main reason I write stories and why I “borrow” so liberally from the world around me. The things I remember most vividly from my four years at the Darrow School in New Lebanon, New York — and which I had to record or forget — are 1) working in a dorm full of teenage boys, 2) developing close relationships with peers, and 3) enjoying the beauty of a school graced with Shaker buildings, acres of woods, and some of the prettiest sunsets you’ve ever seen. Working in a dorm, I got to be with kids at some their best and most vulnerable moments. During a study hall, I once praised a boy for “venturing into the realm of the abstract” in his reading analysis. He laughed and replied, “Great, now how do I get out?” Another time on a cold Saturday morning I accompanied a brave young man to the hospital for a battery of scary tests. And finally, being young and adventurous, I once chaperoned a weeknight trip to a heavy metal concert. Sure the dormlings bought my ticket, but as we rolled back onto campus at 1:30 in the morning with our ears ringing, I had to ask myself, “What were you thinking?” My peers at Darrow — always entertaining, scary, ambitious, innovative, and unpredictable — were my teachers. Our little boarding school in the middle of nowhere was the place, as it is for many of the characters in my novel, where I found myself as a teacher and slowly started to think and act like an adult. Finally, Darrow was and is a beautiful place. From day one I was smitten with the rugged oak floors in my drafty apartment and the possibility of seeing turkeys and deer when I’d walk to class in the morning. The beauty was a counterpoint to the daily challenges of living and working so closely together. So many wonderful and strange things happened to us that we were always surprised but never surprised, always striving and wonderfully content, always with friends and occasionally lonely. And that’s why I wanted to write a novel about a teacher who loves his school but also knows that it’s time to leave.
ERIN (BALDWIN) DILEVA, ED.M., is a lower school science teacher at the Berkeley Carroll School in Brooklyn, New York. She and her husband welcomed their first child, Charlotte Mae, on May 6, 2015.
boarding school in Beijing since 2013. The dual-language school (English, Chinese) officially opened in 2014. Her husband, DAVID BEARE, ED.M.’94, also works at the school as dean of the faculty. Before joining Keystone, the Jamaica native worked at a number of private schools, including the Hotchkiss School, the Lakeside School, Phillips Exeter Academy, and Deerfield Academy. Until she was 8, she also lived on a boarding school campus in Jamaica, where her father served as headmaster. MICHAEL GARY, ED.M., was named head of the Friends Select School
in Philadelphia, effective July 1. Gary was director of admissions at Phillips Exeter Academy. He is the president and founder of Inner City Lacrosse, a nonprofit access program that connects local youth with university lacrosse players.
1997 JILLIAN GREEN DIGIACOMO, ED.M., recently published Codename Cupcake, a novel about a stay-athome mom recruited by a superspy agency to infiltrate her school’s PTA and save the world. jilliangreendigiacomo.com
2002 JULIE KATZ, ED.M., joined Smarty
Pants, a market research and consulting company focused on young people and families, with a unique title: insights jedi. Prior, she was a consumer insights manager with the LEGO Group.
school’s first principal since 2013, when the position was eliminated. Last year, Barksdale was assistant principal at Philip W. Sugg Middle School in Lisbon, Maine. CASEY LOZAR, ED.M., was appointed to the board of regents of higher education for the state of Montana by Governor Steve Bullock.
2003 2007 KIM BARBERICH, ED.M., became the
COURTESTY OF ERIC OBERSTEIN
new director of career services at Rider University in New Jersey in September. Before joining Rider, Barberich spent eight years as the director of career and leadership development at Columbia University School of Social Work.
2006 SCOTT BARKSDALE, ED.M., joined the Monmouth Middle School (grades 4–8) in Monmouth, Maine, in November 2015 as principal. He is the
EYENGA BOKAMBA, ED.M., recently was named executive director of Intermedia Arts, a multicultural arts organization in Minneapolis that encourages artists and community leaders to use arts-based approaches to solve community issues. Prior, she was executive director of Sprockets, a network of afterschool and summer programs in St. Paul. @eyenga_bokamba PUAY YIN LIM, ED.M., was appointed
master teacher for geography at the Academy of Singapore Teachers.
ERIC OBERSTEIN, ED.M., won the best instrumental composition Grammy in February for his work on Arturo O’Farrill’s album Cuba: The Conversation Continues. Oberstein (third from left) served as the album’s producer. This follows his Grammy win last year for O’Farrill’s and the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra’s album The Offense of the Drum. @ericoberstein
The academy’s mission is to build a teacher-led culture of professional excellence centered on the holistic development of students. For several years, she was assistant director of professional development at the Ministry of Education. Last October, she writes that she was “delighted” to help host a delegation of Massachusetts educators led by Professor FERNANDO REIMERS, ED.M.’84, ED.D.’88, in Singapore.
2009 FRANK COSTANZO, ED.M., joined Norwalk Public Schools in Connecticut as chief of school operations. Since 2009, he was principal of New
Haven’s Cooperative Arts & Humanities High School. He is currently a doctoral candidate in organization leadership at Columbia University, Teachers College. RYAN MILLER, ED.M., was awarded the Dissertation of the Year Award for Intersections of Disability, Gender, and Sexuality in Higher Education: Exploring Students’ Social Identities and Campus Experiences. The award was given by NASPA, an association that supports student affairs professionals. His University of Texas–Austin dissertation adviser was RICH REDDICK, ED.M.’98, ED.D.’07. Miller is the director for inclusion and equity at the University of Texas–Austin.
EXCERPT: KATE ROTH From Interactive Writing Across Grades: A Small Practice with Big Results Students need multiple opportunities to learn how to write. They develop as writers when they routinely do the following: 3Write for a wide range of purposes and audiences. 3Learn about the craft and conventions of writing. 3Practice the writing processes of plan, draft, revise, edit, and publish. 3Read and analyze models of well-crafted stories or informational writing. 3“Listen in” on the expert thinking of a writer in various stages of crafting a piece. 3Learn and practice the rules and nuances of the English language.
KATE ROTH, ED.M.’04, ED.D., recently published Interactive Writing Across Grades: A Small Practice with Big Results, PreK–5, along with JOAN DABROWSKI, ED.M.’94, a former classroom teacher now working as a literacy leadership consultant. Roth has taught kindergarten, first grade, and reading recovery.
2010 CHIKE AGUH, ED.M., was promoted from chief program officer to CEO of EveryoneOn. Prior, Aguh was an education policy person for New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a second-grade teacher in New York City, a Fulbright scholar, and a Teach For America corps member. EveryoneOn is a national nonprofit working to eliminate the digital divide by making computers, free digital library courses, and quality high-speed, low-cost
internet service available to all unconnected Americans. NELL O’DONNELL WEBER, ED.M., recently cofounded Harvard Alumni for Education (HAEd), a Harvard Alumni Association shared interest group designed to create a strong, connected, collaborative community of Harvard University alumni who are practitioners, researchers, and leaders in the field of education around the world. She invites you to join: email@example.com. (See page 44 for more information.) O’Donnell Weber is currently a doctoral student at the Ed School. MELISSA WALSHE, ED.M., is currently
teaching a series of workshops in collaboration with Auburn Public Libraries and Lewiston Public Library designed to help local Maine writers hone their craft and explore selfpublishing. She self-published her first novel, Autumn’s Daughter, in
2014. Walshe also runs ReadMaine, a website that supports writers currently living and working in the pine tree state. readmaine.com
DAVID DIXON, ED.M. , recently wrote and published Goodnight Marines, a children’s book about the culture and traditions of the United States Marine Corps. Dixon is an Iraq War veteran currently stationed in New Orleans. facebook.com/goodnightmarines/
PROFESSIONAL LEARNING BEYOND YOUR DEGREE HGSE provides transformative adult learning experiences to more than 7,000 educators and administrators each year. CREDIT HERE
Join us on campus or online. www.gse.harvard.edu/ppe Illustration by John Doe
MATTHEW GOETZ, ED.M., was awarded the University of Chicago Outstanding Educator Award for 2015. The award is given to teachers, nominated by first-year university students, who have made a difference in their lives. Goetz was nominated by a student who attended the Beijing National Day School in China. Goetz currently teaches English and literature at Beijing National. MATT WEBER, ED.M., recently published his second book, Operating on Faith: A Painfully True Love Story. Weber is the director of digital communications strategy at the Ed School and the host of his own 30-minute show on CatholicTV called The Lens. In April, Weber was nominated for a New England Emmy. @MattWeber_
2012 MAYA BIALIK, ED.M., cofounder
and associate director of The Peoples Science, a nonprofit that improves the relationship between science and society, recently published a book with Charles Fadel, a visiting practitioner at the Ed School, called Four-Dimensional Education: The Competencies Learners Need to Succeed. thepeoplesscience.org or @MayaBialik JUDY JARVIS, ED.M., was chosen to
lead Princeton University’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Center. Since 2012, she was director of Vassar College’s LGBTQ Center and Women’s Center. While at the Ed School, Jarvis was cochair of the QueerEd student group.
MEGAN MARCUS, ED.M., was recently elected as a fellow by Ashoka, a worldwide network of social entrepreneurs with fellows in 70 countries. Marcus is the founder and CEO of FuelEd, a Houstonbased nonprofit that she launched while a student at the Ed School. FuelEd’s mission is to improve student outcomes by equipping educators with social and emotional skills necessary for building secure relationships in school.
2013 AMANDA PLASENCIA, ED.M., was appointed to the California Volunteers Commission by Governor Edmund Brown in November. She has been a coordinator at Sacramento Charter High School since 2013. From 2009 to 2012, she was a science teacher in the Chelsea Public School District in Massachusetts.
2014 VANESSA BEARY, ED.M.’11, ED.D., recently completed her Franklin Fellowship at the U.S. Department of State, where she served as senior adviser on youth entrepreneurship in the Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs. In February, she was accepted in to 1776’s global incubator and will be working out of their Washington, D.C., campus as an entrepreneur in residence. Beary recently cofounded the Harvard Alumni for Education (HAEd), a Harvard Alumni Association Shared Interest Group designed to create a strong, connected, collaborative community of Harvard University alumni who are practitioners, researchers, and leaders in the field of education. She invites you to join: harvardaed@gmail. com. (See page 44 for details.) @vbeary
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Where’s Ed.? In her Pursuit of Hipponess, children’s book author Sandra Boynton was also clearly in pursuit of Ed. when she visited the Ed School this past February and devoured the magazine’s latest issue. Boynton, who started writing children’s books in 1977 with Hippos Go Berserk!, spoke in the Askwith Forum about her long career, flying pigs, and her English teacher dad, ROBERT BOYNTON, M.A.T.’47. As Dean James Ryan tweeted after her talk, it was “quite moo-ving.” Want more? Watch Boynton’s talk at gse.harvard.edu/ed/extras.
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Published on Jun 14, 2016
The alumni magazine of the Harvard Graduate School of Education, summer 2016 edition. Stories include a look at why 80 percent of public sch...