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the magazine of the Harvard Graduate School of Education winter 2010 | vol. Liii, no. 2

Also The Family Way Wither High School?

The Merit of Pay A look at how we recognize and reward teachers


The Magazine of the Harvard Graduate School of Education | winter 2010 | vol. lIIi, no. 2


The Family Way


How a teenaged mother determined to beat the odds stayed in school and ended up a professor.

features Right on the Money?


It’s a hot topic that never seems to fade: Should schools stop rewarding teachers for years of service and instead pay them based on how well they — and, in turn, their students — perform?

Wither High School? Is one of the nation’s oldest institutions, what former Dean Ted Sizer, M.A.T.’57, once called a “sturdy fixture of every American community,” in need of serious reform?


departments 6


3 Dean’s Perspective 4 Letters 6 The Appian Way 34 In the Media 40 Investing in Education 42 Alumni News and Notes 48 Recess


Stay plugged in courtesty of brence pernell Brence Pernell, Ed.M.’09, talks about the high school students he teaches in rural South Carolina who work the third shift, what it means to have strong colleague support during your first year in the classroom, and why he provides extra tutoring for students at their homes.



Conferences. Askwiths. Deadlines. Don’t miss a thing.


We tweet. You follow. So simple.

sesame workshop

facebook Did you know that the Ed School played a key role in the launch of Sesame Street, which just celebrated its 40th anniversary? Lecturer Joe Blatt, Ed.M.’77, director of the Technology, Innovation, and Education Program, looks back at the long-standing relationship.

We’re the Facebook friend approved by your boss.

youtube Yup, we have a YouTube channel! Ed.

• Harvard Graduate School of Education • winter 2010




The Magazine of the Harvard Graduate School of Education

senior writer/editor Lory Hough

Pay Raise

production manager/editor Marin Jorgensen

In this issue’s cover story on performance pay for teachers, we primarily explored what educators thought about the topic. The public, of course, also has an opinion. What we found interesting is that public opinion is strongly influenced by our current president. This past summer, Assistant Professor Martin West and Education Next magazine (the staff of which includes three people connected to the Ed School — Chester Finn, M.A.T.’67, Ed.D.’70, is senior editor; West and Frederick Hess, Ed.M.’90, are executive editors) conducted a survey and found that 43 percent of Americans liked the idea of basing teacher salary on student performance — a number that has held steady since they started the annual survey in 2007. However, when informed that President Barack Obama supported merit pay, public support increased by 13 percentage points.

designer Paula Telch Cooney Director of Communications Michael Rodman Communications intern Jazmin Brooks contributing writers Jill Anderson Jazmin Brooks John Conroy Amber Haskins Tricia Hurley Elaine McArdle Tim O’Brien, Ed.M.’08 Mary Tamer copyeditor Abigail Mieko Vargus © 2010 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College. Ed. magazine is published three times a year, free of charge, for alumni, faculty, students, and friends of the Harvard Graduate School of Education. This issue is No. 2 of Vol. LIII, Winter 2010. Third-class postage paid at Burlington, VT and additional offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to: Harvard Graduate School of Education Office of Communications 44R Brattle Street Cambridge, MA 02138 To read Ed. online, go to


dean’s perspective Dear Friends: For me, the issue of teacher incentives is personal — my husband has been a high school English teacher for 34 years. In this cover story, Ed. magazine explores the complex issue of teacher incentives. What does the research show about pay for performance? Is the research consistent with the federal Teacher Incentive Fund? Will these programs backfire and lead teachers to merely teach to the test? These are not easy questions to answer with the data at hand.


Several of my colleagues think pay for performance misses the point. Both Kitty Boles and Susan Moore Johnson argue persuasively that we need to rethink opportunities for career growth. In other words, we need tiered payand career-structures for teachers in order to fundamentally change how to develop the teacher work force. Why, then, has pay for performance continued to reappear as the sexy reform du jour, to quote Ed School graduate Bella Rosenberg, from 1710 up to today? Proponents believe that the devil is in the details — that we just haven’t figured out yet how to reward high-performing teachers. One thing is certain. There are well-meaning people on both sides of this issue who want the best for our children, especially those at risk for school failure. We can all agree that we need to find better ways to recognize, reward, and keep good teachers, like my husband. What do you think? Write and tell us at Sincerely,

Kathleen McCartney December 2009


• Harvard Graduate School of Education • winter 2010


letters Point Man

This is a good article, a must read for Americans with respect to the future of our education (“Will Obama’s Choice Change Education in America?” fall 2009). I believe with President Obama’s pushing of this topic, the implications will blossom.

Harvard site to read it in its entirety. Thank you for your honest portrayal of teaching and learning. When I pass it along to the teachers of this district, I am confident that many will see bits of themselves as students and as teachers. I know I did. Kathleen Baker

Stu Henderson

Another Start-Up I just read with great interest the “Construction 101” article (fall 2009). I, too, am an Ed School graduate who founded a charter school 12 years ago, the Side By Side Community School. As a school servicing children from ages 3 to 13 in Norwalk, Conn., we were one of only 12 original charter schools that opened in 1997. Like my fellow HGSE colleagues, the idealism and desire to promote truly equitable public education, particularly for minority and disenfranchised populations, has led me and my fellow founders down many interesting and unforeseen paths, including knowledge of such disparate concerns as fire codes, egress windows, and accounting principles. But the rewards of designing a school, from the days that we all sat with a glass of wine around someone’s living room saying “Wouldn’t it be great if…” to the current cramped and deeply caring place, cannot be measured. I now serve as board chair and active consultant to the school, but it is the work of which I am most proud, and most deeply committed. HGSE was a part of that willingness in all of us to take that leap of faith, to start a school with little more than a passion for kids who deserve a chance, and perhaps the gratefulness that we were some of the lucky ones who benefited from the opportunity of a quality education. Anne Magee Dichele, Ed.M.’79 Professor of education quinnipiac university



Quite frankly the problem with education in this country is the quality of the curriculum and the teachers. If American children score lower scores, the responsibility lies with the departments of education and the substandard curriculum. I do not believe President Obama has the background, attention span, nor the qualifications to be effective. Steve G

A to B Gets an A In my role as director of curriculum and communications, I am always on the lookout for books and articles to bring to the teachers of my district. I ran into your story (“The Algebra of Buried Things,” fall 2009) via a subscription service that condenses articles from dozens of publications to give people like me a quick review. Your story was so compelling that I came onto the

• Harvard Graduate School of Education • winter 2010

Very Observant I found this article extremely informative and very compelling (“Round and Round,” fall 2009). As an educator, I find the formal evaluation process used by my school district to be uninspiring, unhelpful, and uninformative. If the goal of evaluations are to challenge educators to improve, I believe this method may present more beneficial opportunities for administrators and teachers alike to collaborate and to co-define what successful teaching really means. I, like the author, hope we can find a “coherent, national model of what effective teaching is” because every day we do not have one is a day students across this country suffer. Paul Suk-Hyun Yoon

Having been fortunate enough to experience the power of collaborative reflection upon teaching practice, both at HGSE and other universities, I was much taken by this article. Anything that discourages “top down” evaluation and empowers everyone in the educational enterprise is always welcome. Brian Mac Donald

This instructional rounds model of first sharing what you see/observe, without interpretation, analysis, or judgment, is the cornerstone of good observation in early childhood education. Many educators engaged in learning with young children spend their days working very hard to capture in words, photos, drawings, and recordings the work of the

children as well as their colleagues. This documentation is then shared with the children, parents/families, and teachers as a tool for reflection and developing a deeper understanding of what is occurring within the teaching-learning relationship. The lessons learned here shine a much-needed light on the need for a stronger connection and bond between teaching practices at all levels of education. Thank you for your research, insights, and activism.

Point Taken Always welcome a pointer to a great book! Beginning, and enjoying, The Eighth Day (On My Bookshelf, fall 2009). May humanity have one.

Lori Adams Chabay

Rose Honey

I think this article has a lot of merit within teacher observation. I think that a pilot in one grade in a school to get the kinks worked out before full implementation would be a first step because it lessens the feeling of being overwhelmed by both teachers and administrators. The administrators have to be comfortable with this model for it to be used effectively. Donna Downes

Ah, the power of collective IQ! I appreciate the instructional rounds model with the evidence-based focus, use of common language throughout observations and reflections, and the restricting of personal judgments throughout the observation process. Most importantly, I am impressed with the educational plan for professional staff, knowing “that we are always learning and we don’t always have all the answers.” Great read! Mary Nardo

and therefore lack the ethnic diversity that other racial groups have. Jeff Francois, Ed.M.’94

Michael Sales

A Sixth Reason to Know Raygine DiAquoi 6. Ray is the BEST! Plus she laughs at all of your jokes, even if they’re not so funny (5 Reasons to Know, fall 2009).

Details Wanted I enjoyed reading about the work that Professor [Hiro] Yoshikawa is doing on early learning and development in low-income immigrant families (“Home Visits and Babies,” summer 2009). However, I was disappointed in the lack of precision or depth, specifically as it relates to the ethnic backgrounds of the “[U.S.-born] African American families.” Being born in the United States to black immigrant parents, such children in our society are understandably called “African Americans,” but what of their ethnicity? Why is it specific references were made of ethnic groups that participated in the study (such as Mexican, Dominican, and Chinese) but not in the case of “[U.S.born] African American families?” Are we so preoccupied by race when it comes to black immigrant families that there is no recognition of ethnicity, be it Haitian, Jamaican, or Nigerian? More detailed reporting on the ethnic makeup of the black immigrant families should be provided. Doing so would provide more accurate information and at the same time stop perpetuating the myth that all blacks in America fit only under the umbrella term “African American”


Re-Purposed First, a hearty congratulations to the author (“The Third Chapter,” summer 2009). The book is wonderful. As a 59-going-on-60-year-old man who was not at all happy about aging, I found comfort and purpose. I also realized that I am in the same process as the interviewees. I, too, am growing in new and old directions and finding a stronger “me” as I continue this process. Regarding the concept of special talents, as an artist/designer/teacher, I am always horrified when my students tell me they have no special talents. There are no “talents” — there is only the freedom and permission to try. I was encouraged always. Others never had that support. On the other hand, as an adult with ADHD, much was in conflict throughout my whole life. I only started to come to terms with this aspect of “me” two years ago. I had to give myself permission to talk about it, to deal with it, to find ways to understand and accommodate it. That is where the growth happens. Peter French

Ed. magazine welcomes correspondence from all of its readers. Send letters to:

Ed. magazine Letters to the Editor Harvard Graduate School of Education Office of Communications 44R Brattle Street Cambridge, MA 02138 E-mail: Online Comments: Please note that letters may be edited for clarity and space.

• Harvard Graduate School of Education • winter 2010


mark morelli

the appian way

Name: Susan Moore Johnson, M.A.T.’69, Ed.D.’81 Title: professor Focus: teachers guiding teachers

“Good PAR programs provide excellent mentoring, while also enabling the district to dismiss ineffective teachers.”

On PAR 6


• Harvard Graduate School of Education • winter 2010

By Lory Hough

New teachers and experienced teachers. In some ways, they are at the opposite ends of the teaching spectrum. However, both can, and do, struggle. Who better to guide them than other teachers? That’s the idea behind the Peer Assistance and Review program, commonly known as PAR, which began 25 years ago in Toledo, Ohio. Under the direction of a panel made up of schools administrators and members of the local teachers union, qualified veteran teachers — usually called consulting teachers — take sabbaticals from classroom teaching to mentor new teachers during their first years and to support other experienced teachers who are struggling. Although the program has been established in 30 to 40 districts across the country and is widely considered to be successful — President Barack Obama even publicly endorsed it — the program has not been extensively evaluated. That’s why Professor Susan Moore Johnson and her team at the Project on the Next Generation of Teachers decided to study seven districts running PAR programs. This past fall, she spoke to Ed. about the study, the website they launched detailing their findings, and why more districts should PARtake.

The new website says that PAR “challenges” most people’s expectations about what teachers and principals should do. In what way? Under PAR, expert consulting teachers assume responsibility not only for mentoring, but also evaluating, other teachers. Most people think that the principal is always the evaluator, but many principals lack the knowledge and skills needed to supervise all the teachers in their schools. Also, few have the time needed to seriously mentor several teachers.

What else consumes a principal’s time? That list is very long. They oversee the budget, hiring, curriculum, student discipline, community relations, special education, student assessment, facilities and maintenance, professional development, and evaluation of teachers not on PAR.

Do some principals resist giving over that control?

We found that principals often resist PAR initially but over time come to see how PAR supports school improvement. All PAR programs for low-performing veteran teachers depend on principals referring those experienced teachers to PAR. We were surprised to see how many principals who had low-performing teachers did not turn to PAR, either because they wanted to provide the help themselves, avoid controversy within their schools, or not be bothered with following the procedures required for the initial evaluation and referral.

You mention that PAR is expensive for districts. Why? PAR’s biggest cost is the salaries of teachers who replace the consulting teachers. Overall, we found that PAR costs about $4,000–$7,000 per teacher served, which is about the same as

the cost of high-quality mentoring. For districts, though, the financial benefits of reducing attrition, which is about $10,000 for a first-year teacher, and avoiding dismissal hearings, which often cost more than $100,000 each, can be enormous.

PAR is divided into two parts, including the novice program where new teachers get help setting up their classrooms and navigating the first year. This type of first-year induction seems unusual. You’re right. We certainly found that the intensity of mentoring under PAR in the districts we studied far exceeded what is provided in most mentoring programs.

This approach not only helps better prepare first-year teachers, but it allows the school at the end of the year to decide if the teacher should be rehired. They aren’t “stuck” with a new teacher who isn’t progressing. Right.

Having the local teachers union as a key player from the beginning is helpful then. Unions have a legal responsibility to fairly represent teachers by ensuring that they are treated in procedurally correct ways. Under PAR, the union oversees the procedural rights of teachers throughout the process. If the teacher fails to meet standards under PAR, the union is not obliged to contest their dismissal. This saves the district and the union the legal costs of arbitrations and court proceedings.

In your study, what percent of low-performing veteran teachers being helped in the PAR program are dismissed and how many return to the classroom? Between 25 percent and 40 percent of veteran teachers on PAR succeeded. The rest either resigned or were dismissed. We have detailed data on our website for the districts we studied.

Do the mentor teachers go back to teaching after their rotation?

Most districts urge or require that consulting teachers return to the classroom once their term is over, though some continue to work as teacher leaders and take positions such as instructional coach or staff developer.

More districts should implement the PAR program because... Good PAR programs provide excellent mentoring, while also enabling the district to dismiss ineffective teachers. Good teachers resent the presence of poor teachers and they appreciate the role that PAR plays in maintaining high standards in the profession.

For details, go to Ed.

• Harvard Graduate School of Education • winter 2010


the appian way Not So Lonely at the Top

By Mary Tamer

For the 50 women and men who flock to Cambridge each July for the annual Harvard Seminar for New Presidents, one of the best lessons learned may be that life doesn’t have to be lonely at the top. But it will be different. Since 1989, such wisdom has been shared with professionals from around the United States and the world who share one common thread; all have recently assumed the helm of institutes of higher learning and — knowingly or unknowingly — are about to embark on the academic adventure of their lives. “The role of the president is different, and if you are not in the position, you don’t fully understand it,” says Lori BettisonVarga, the eighth president of Scripps College and a seminar participant this past July. “I feel really fortunate to feel so welcomed by every constituency of the college … but you don’t realize until you are sitting in the chair that you are on display to everyone … and every audience is important.” Such sentiment is exactly why this workshop began, says Senior Lecturer Judy McLaughlin, M.A.T.’71, Ed.D.’83, chair of the seminar and director of the Higher Education Program — namely to allow new presidents to “step outside of the busyness and reflect” for five days. “There is only one president on campus, no one else holds that job. We provide people in the same job with introductions to resources who are their colleagues,” says McLaughlin. “No one fully appreciates the feel of the job until he or she is in it, and everyone says you can’t appreciate the pace, the complexities, and the expectations until they are yours.” The 50 participants are also provided with a full five-day schedule that includes workshops on fundraising, governance, financial management, and strategic planning, led by faculty

No one fully appreciates the feel of the job until he or she is in it, and everyone says you can’t appreciate the pace, the complexities, and the expectations until they are yours.” — Senior Lecturer Judy McLaughlin, M.A.T.’71, Ed.D.’83



• Harvard Graduate School of Education • winter 2010

experts as well as sitting and past presidents. In addition, there are ample opportunities for the new presidents to break down into smaller groups based on the size and type of their institutions, which run the gamut from small arts colleges to significantly larger state schools. “There was a session on balancing your personal life with all of your activities as president. Hearing how other presidents have done that is helpful, but you don’t always take that advice,” laughs Bettison-Varga, the married mother of three children aged 11 to 19. “I think that my 16-year-old would say, ‘You’re not the president of me, you’re just my mom,’ but my 11-year-old is really enjoying being on campus.” As is Bettison-Varga, whose enthusiasm for her new role as president of the all-female liberal arts school is evident, as is the enthusiasm of her mother, Barbara Yunker Bettison, a member of the Scripps class of 1954. “She went to her 55th reunion last spring and her classmates dubbed her the queen mother,” says Bettison-Varga. “It was the first event where she saw me with my presidential robes on and she told me, ‘I had goose bumps.’” And when goose bumps have the occasion to turn into hives, new presidents are at the ready, thanks to another workshop where participants are presented with a “typical presidential inbox, and asked to cope with it in relatively short order,” says Kenyon College President S. Georgia Nugent, an attendee of the workshop seven years ago. “The contents of the inbox were, as I now realize, all too authentic: The local TV station seeks an interview on a sensitive topic, a faculty member is threatening revolt, an alumnus unhappy over a decision has e-mailed the entire board of trustees, an invitation to an important community event conflicts with a child’s birthday celebration, and on and on,” says Nugent. “The organizers of the seminar obviously had enormous experience in what, exactly, college and university presidents would face in their day-to-day lives.” Though the reality of the outlined expectations could be daunting to some, others, like Robert Huntington, Ed.D.’97, who recently assumed the presidency of Heidelberg University, left Harvard’s campus in July feeling “more energized” than he had on his arrival day. “Being surrounded by 50 really successful, talented people, and being exposed to sitting presidents from other schools … it just doesn’t get any better than that. It was a real honor to be in that classroom, in that opportunity,” says Huntington. “There’s a feeling you have when you know you are not alone.” — Mary Tamer is a freelance writer whose last piece for Ed. looked at budget cuts and arts education in the United States.

Lead the Leaders It’s being called “groundbreaking,” a degree that will “shake up the status Education quo.” In September, just as Sector classes were kicking off for the fall semester, Harvard announced the launch of a new doctoral program in education leadership that is tuition-free and based in Leadership & real-life practice. Management Called the Doctor of Education Leadership Program, or Ed.L.D., the three-year program will begin in August 2010 with an initial group of Learning & Teaching 25 students. The goal is to give students a deeper A look at the curriculum, which focuses on three broad areas: education sector, leadership and management, understanding of teaching and learning and technology. and learning, as well as a solid grasp of management and leadership skills that will allow research. Students will spend the first two years on campus, them to become top leaders in school districts, government with a new customized curriculum that includes modules agencies, nonprofits and NGOs, and the private sector. and both core and elective courses. The third and final year “Our goal is not to develop leaders for the system as it curwill be spent in a residency, getting hands-on, paid experirently exists,” says Dean Kathleen McCartney. “Rather, we aim ence with a partnering organization. These include large to develop people who will lead system transformation.” urban school districts like Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Denver, One of the unique aspects of the degree is the curriculum. Philadelphia, and New York, and nonprofit educationAlthough based at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, focused groups such as Achieve, Jobs for the Future, KIPP, faculty members from the Harvard Business School and the New Teacher Project, the New Schools Venture Fund, Harvard Kennedy School of Government will also take part, and Teach For America. Instead of a traditional dissertation, emphasizing the belief that for superintendents, education students will lead a significant improvement project for the policymakers, nonprofit/NGO education leaders, and others to partnering organization. Academic Dean Robert Schwartz, really succeed in making change, they need to master not only C.A.S.’68, says the time is right in education for this kind of teaching and learning, but also management, organization, degree, which is funded in part by the Wallace Foundation policy, and politics. and gives a full-tuition fellowship and a cost-of-living stipend Harvard President Drew Faust says this kind of collaborato accepted students. tion at Harvard is exactly what is necessary to create strong “The Obama Administration and large private foundations leaders in education. are about to make unprecedented levels of investment in edu“One of the core missions of Harvard’s professional schools cation reform,” he says. “It is critical that states and districts, is to prepare leaders who can guide organizations in a rapidly and the national organizations they count on for support, have changing environment. No sector has a greater need for such access to a pipeline of leadership talent equipped with the transformational leaders than public education,” she says. “I knowledge and skills to ensure that these investments produce am delighted that professors from three outstanding profesdramatic improvements in the performance of our schools.” sional schools are combining their knowledge and experience to create this groundbreaking program.” Go to to read a list of Based in practice, the new degree is also different from frequently asked questions about the degree, or for the traditional Ed.D. degree, which tends to emphasize more information. Ed.

• Harvard Graduate School of Education • winter 2010


the appian way A TO B: Why I Got into Education

I bought my first science project on the school bus for five bucks when I was in 10th grade. I bought it from an 11th-grader after the school science fair ended. For five bucks I got a bottle of jam, a stick of rock candy, five pages of writing about the importance of pectin, and some diagrams on a poster. I crammed the whole rig into my closet and relished in the work I would not have to do a year later. The slope was a slippery one and my cheating escalated: tiny scrolls of paper rolled up under the eraser of mechanical pencils, miniscule essays taped to the inside of my blazer’s cuff, definitions penned in precise letters on the back of my tie. Bus rides and recess were spent on a black market I had not been privy to as a freshman. Steady streams of exams trickled down from the seniors to the sophomores. The multiple-choice questions hadn’t changed in years; our teachers were recycling the tests. All one needed was a list of letters: D, B, E, B, C, A. … All this chicanery was propelled by one infuriating exam — a 50-question, multiple-choice test on Dick Francis’s Dead Cert. My 16-year-old angst finally had a machine to rage against — 50 questions worth two points apiece about the various characters and plot twists in a murder mystery. “What’s the point of it all!” I fumed through my teeth after earning a 46 of 100. I had never done so poorly on an exam in my life. I was furious; English was my favorite class. Why was my time being wasted trying to memorize how a bunch of gambling horse enthusiasts killed a jockey? I wanted to learn about Shakespeare. I wanted to write something majestic. The resentment consumed my days and nights as I kept a tally of the frustration: 25 logic problems the teacher didn’t even collect, 40 definitions marked with a meaningless red check, a B+ on a poster full of facts about Morocco I copied from an encyclopedia. I started determining the worth of all my assignments and exams before picking up my pen. Nearly nothing warranted any effort. I wanted a challenge. At that point, buying science projects, kissing up to upperclassmen for old exams, and smuggling miniscule essays in my necktie was a truer test of my mettle. I proudly recount my history of cheating with many of the educators I work with now. Most are appalled. “How would you feel if your students cheated in your class?” they ask. If my students are cheating, then I know I am not doing my job. I know I have not engaged, challenged, or presented my students with an assignment that demands legitimate effort and work. I



• Harvard Graduate School of Education • winter 2010

jeff Hopkins, ed.m.’05

Learning to Cheat By Tim O’Brien, Ed.M.’08

tripped up several times as a young teacher with worksheets that asked for specific answers, or essay assignments with no room for interpretation. My instruction improved with The Tempest when I required groups of students to interpret the play in their own words. The country western, mobster, and Star Trek adaptations of the play left no doubt that each member of class wrestled with the meaning of every line. Groups clashed over Shakespeare’s intentions and word choice; they argued for and against each other’s interpretations. It was impossible to cheat on the following writing assignment: Explain the strengths and weaknesses of your group’s interpretation of the play. How would Shakespeare respond to your interpretation? How do you know? What revisions would you make given the opportunity to perform again? Day after day our students are being graded on simply completing an assignment that is never scrutinized by their teacher. Too many of our young people are mindlessly filling in blanks and summarizing books for an A+ that offers no real indication of a student’s ability. Report cards are based simply on whether or not “work” is “done.” My foray into the academic underworld was more challenging and more rewarding than my schoolwork. Many of our students are lured away from boring classrooms by far more complicated and engaging work: joining gangs, stealing cars, dealing drugs, or earning honest paychecks. Despite the legality or wisdom of some of these decisions, one thing is

certain — they are more difficult and rewarding than anything that happens in the classroom. Our students are much brighter than our assignments give them credit for and unless we teachers step it up in the classroom, we are bound to lose what students we have left.

— Tim O’Brien is a professional development specialist with Washington, D.C., public schools, where he is working with instructional coaches to help teachers craft rigorous and relevant work for students. Neither his mechanical pencil nor blazer cuff have been able to help him with this responsibility.

In the fall of 1960, 13 men traveled to Cambridge to pursue their doctoral degrees in what was then called the Administrative Career Program. They were required to study in residence at Harvard for two years before completing a final project in education administration that would serve as their dissertation. They came from around the country, many already married with families. They spent long hours in classes, at the library, and in the local school systems, trying to better understand the role of the education administrator. They went on to distinguished careers in schools, districts, community colleges, universities, and government agencies. And they also became lifelong friends. In the nearly 50 years since the 1960–62 cohort began their studies, they have celebrated each other’s personal and professional achievements, including promotions, birthdays, and weddings. They have served as godparents and, more recently, attended the funerals of two of their classmates, Daryl Pelletier, Ed.D.’63, and Albert Benson, Ed.D.’64. In an effort to keep in closer touch, the cohort has been formally organizing its own reunions since 1999. Every two years they choose a city to meet in. The most recent one was held this past October in Dearborn, Mich. Ten of the original 13 attended, along with five wives and one daughter, to celebrate nearly five decades of friendship. “We were boot camp buddies,” recalls Edward Yaglou, M.A.T.’57, Ed.D.’68, of his classmates. “Everyone worked hard, but rather than being competitive with one another, we tried to help each other out.” This spirit of camaraderie extended beyond the classroom and into their social lives. The families coordinated babysitting services so that they could help each other with work and study hours. There were carpools to campus and even organized social outings on the weekends to the Boston Pops and local art museums. “There was an instant bonding,” says Nancy Dolce, who was five months pregnant with her first child when she and her husband Carl Dolce, C.A.S.’61, Ed.D.’63, arrived in Cambridge from New Orleans. “It was such a small group, but we had so much in common. Even though the wives weren’t taking the classes, we were involved in their program vicariously.” When the residency period concluded in 1962, the group went their separate ways to complete their dissertation projects, begin their administrative careers, and raise their families.

Left to right, top to bottom, circa May 1962: Lloyd Nielsen, Jack Greenawalt, Jim Mauch, Paul Kirsch, Carl Dolce, Dave Ponitz; Al Benson, Tom Hasenflug, Fred Dippel, Rita Jennings, Daryl Pellitier, Ed Yaglou, Robert Binswanger

Although they remained in touch as conferences and travel would allow, they did not formally reunite as a group until much later, in 1983, when their classmate Lloyd Nielsen, Ed.M.’55, Ed.D.’63, was elected president of the American Association of School Administrators (AASA). To celebrate, the group decided to travel down to the AASA conference in Atlantic City and organize a dinner in his honor. It was the first time in a long time that the group reunited and, in a speech at the conference, Nielsen made it a point to recognize his classmates, recalls Robert Binswanger, Ed.M.’59, Ed.D.’64. Although the conference offered the group the chance to see each other, it wasn’t until the late 1990s, as many were retiring or reducing their workload, that the idea to hold more formal reunions came about. At Binswanger’s urging, Carl Dolce went online to look up each of the members and to propose a get-together. The idea was met with great enthusiasm and fellow classmate David Ponitz, Ed.D.’64, and his wife, Doris, stepped up to help him plan the first reunion, which was held in Williamsburg, Va. This year, in addition to the social dinners and museum tours, there was the topic of whether the group should continue these reunions. The group voted overwhelmingly in favor of doing so. “When the topic came up,” says Paul Kirsch, M.A.T.’52, Ed.D.’63, “the general response was, ‘Why are we even asking the question? Of course we’ll be meeting!’” — Tricia Hurley works in the Development and Alumni Relations Office.

courtesy of paul Kirsch

Decades Later By Tricia Hurley

the appian way

jeff Hopkins, ed.m.’05

Repetition, Repetition, Repetition

Need a refresher course on advanced cardiac care? An introduction to music theory? A lesson on making a mean cocktail? All this and more is yours for the taking on SpacedEd, a new online learning site that utilizes the benefits of spaced education, a patented methodology developed by B. Price Kerfoot, Ed.M.’00, after years of research and trials on his medical colleagues. Based on the theories of German psychologist Hermann Ebbinghaus, whose work in the late 1800s focused on memory, Kerfoot’s own exploration into spaced education began in earnest toward the end of his medical residency when he received a grant to investigate online education. The goal was twofold: could online learning, delivered and repeated in spaced intervals, be used as an effective teaching tool; and could it improve knowledge retention beyond the typical classroom experience? As Kerfoot discovered, the answer was yes on both counts, and he now has a wealth of documented research to prove it. Harvard patented the spaced education method in 2006 and SpacedEd, the company, launched as a start-up two years later. In July, the first batch of online courses — the majority of which are free — were opened to the public in 30 topic areas, with names like iPhone Tips, Swine Flu Facts, and Physical Exam Essentials. Another 170 offerings are currently in development. “Spaced education methodology is content neutral,” says Kerfoot, a urologist at VA Boston Healthcare and an associate professor of surgery at Harvard Medical School. “It can be used to teach Arabic to troops in Iraq or to teach a variety of subjects to schoolchildren.” For that reason, SpacedEd CEO Duncan Lennox calls it democratized learning. “Everybody who signs up as a learner is also an author,” he says, “and anyone can come and build a course.” (He created a couple, including one called SAT Basic Algebra.) And they have. In the first four months since its launch, SpacedEd has attracted educators, physicians, and firefighters to its site, offering a $100 incentive payment to all who create



• Harvard Graduate School of Education • winter 2010

By Mary Tamer

a course. For those courses that charge a fee, which currently range from $1.99 to $9.99, 60 to 80 percent of the proceeds return to the author. How it actually works, Kerfoot explains, is fairly simple. Users who sign up for a medical course, for example, may receive clinical case scenarios along with a series of questions via e-mail. Once the information is read and the posed questions answered, users are immediately able to learn whether their response was correct, as well as how their fellow participants fared on the same question. Information and questions are sent at regular intervals, such as two questions sent every two days. Once the questions are answered correctly twice in a row, he says, the queries are retired and no longer repeated. If answered incorrectly, the questions are repeated every 12 days until the information is committed to memory. “With the spacing effect, if you take information in small amounts and repeat it, it encodes that information in your memory. The second part is the testing effect, and some interesting papers show us that just by presenting people with information and then testing them on it, it encodes the information,” says Kerfoot. “The repetition adapts to the learner based on whether they answer their questions correctly. The focus is on mastery and retention of the material.” Among the compelling research uncovered along the way, Kerfoot cites a study of 85 care providers that showed spaced education could reduce their inappropriate cancer screenings by 26 percent over a 36-week course period. In another trial of 720 urology trainees in the United States and Canada, Kerfoot was able to demonstrate “a good transfer of learning” as a result of the spaced education program, with 78 percent of participants stating a preference for spaced education over another online education module. Eventually, Kerfoot sees other educational benefits. The site could help prevent summer learning loss, he says, or supplement the curriculum teachers are using in class. It could also be used by teachers to help assess student knowledge and learning patterns. Currently, blogs on the SpacedEd website allow learners and educators to converse with one another, which serves Kerfoot’s goal to “harness” the collaborative component of this educational environment. “What we have found is that spaced education is remarkably well accepted by learners, from students to practicing physicians,” says Kerfoot. “We know it works. Other websites have bells and whistles, but nothing to prove their efficacy. We have that.” Go to to learn more.

STUDENT impact


Reasons to Know ... David Dixon

Master’s student Special Studies Program

martha stewart

For some people, there’s a day that forever stands out, a day that literally changes life’s course. For David Dixon, that day was December 18, 2006. The airbase he was stationed at in Al Anbar, the largest province in Iraq, was suddenly attacked. His mentor, a fellow Super-Cobra combat pilot who had taught him how to land on an aircraft carrier and get over his initial fear of battle, was killed instantly by a rocket in the spot where, only minutes before, Dixon had been standing. “It was a surreal and disorienting moment that every Marine emotionally prepares for, but prays will never happen,” Dixon wrote in his Ed School application. The experience inspired him to do for others what his captain had done for him: mentor and teach. Now, after two tours of duty in Iraq, he is at the Ed School on sabbatical from active duty for a year. His goals: to learn how to better educate internationally deployed Marines and how to get other young Choctaw Indians into public service.

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After he graduates in 2010, he will transfer to Washington, D.C., where he will develop curriculum and teach. Specifically, he will train the trainers who educate Marines on the democratic process, culture, language, and the laws of Afghanistan and Iraq. He says he has sworn his life on defending the Constitution and wants to continue to learn how to lead. Last year he started a financial aid and mentoring scholarship program for Choctaw undergraduates who show interest in public service and national security. In return, each recipient will mentor two Choctaw high school students. Just back from completing the Great Wall Marathon in China, he hopes to run in the Boston Marathon in the spring and eventually become part of the Seven Continents Club honoring runners who complete marathons on all seven continents. This Texas native says his strong faith led him to get involved with the Harvard Graduate School Christian Fellowship and to mentor Christian ROTC students at Harvard, Boston College, and other local schools. Ed.

• Harvard Graduate School of Education • winter 2010


the appian way No Strength in Numbers

By Lory Hough

Imagine you thought you were competing in a race against “The people who thought they were competing in a pool of 10 people of similar ability. Would you try your best? What if 10 finished faster than those who thought they were competthat number increased to 100? Would you still try your best? ing in a pool of 100,” Garcia says. “This showed us that the Probably not, according to new research published in the actual presence of others isn’t necessary to affect the results.” journal Psychological Science by Stephen Garcia, Ed.M.’02, and To further prove their point, Garcia and Tor asked another Avishalom Tor. Based on a series of studies, Garcia and Tor group of undergraduates to imagine they were competing found that as the number of competitors (real or perceived) in two five-kilometer races: one with 50 runners of similar increases, the motivation to compete decreases. abilities, another with 500. On a scale of one to seven, they This “N-effect,” as they call it, can have a profound imhad to say to what extent they would run faster than normal. pact on education, says Garcia, an assistant professor at the Participants also answered a series of questions related to University of Michigan who met Tor, a Harvard Law School social comparison theory — how much people compare graduate, while they were both students. For example, using themselves to others. SAT scores from 2005, they found that the more people there “We found that people running in a race of 50 would try were taking the test at a site, the lower the average SAT score. much harder, the fastest in their lives,” Garcia says. This They wondered, Were students preoccupied by the sheer num- was especially true of people who scored high on the social ber of other test takers they were “competing” against or by comparison questions. “Those who scored low, it didn’t matter distractions that might occur in a larger space — more noises, if they raced against 50 or 500 — they tried the same. Social for example? Because they were analyzing data at the state comparison is a necessary precondition for the N-effect.” level, not detailed data on each individual, they also had to Garcia says educators and education policymakers could take into consideration other factors that could explain high use the results of their study in several ways. First, he says, it or low scores such as population density and parental educacould help inform the class-size debate. tion. They also analyzed results of the Cognitive Reflection “Traditionally the debate has focused on how much atTest, which is correlated to the SAT, from a homogenous tention teachers can give to students,” he says. “The N-effect sample of University of Michigan students. The same pattern suggests that the motivation to do well is affected by the emerged: the more students that showed up to take the test, number of students in a classroom. Motivation goes down as the lower the average score for the session. the number of students goes up. Students impact each other, Still, says Garcia, these regardless of the teacher’s atten“correlation-based studies” tion. Educators could, therefore, pay have limitations. more attention to class design and “That’s why we moved the number of students per class.” to another experiment. We Second, he says the study could recruited 74 undergraduimpact the debate about teacher pay ates at the University of being linked to student performance. Michigan to take a short, “This research suggests that easy quiz. We told them teachers with larger class sizes that if they finished in the are more likely to have lower test top 20 percent in terms of scores,” he says. speed, they would get $5,” Last, there are implications for he says. The quiz wasn’t fair testing practices, he says, espea test of their knowledge — Stephen Garcia, Ed.M.’02 cially on such important tests as the — questions were intenSAT, which is used by many colleges tionally designed to allow everyone to easily answer all of and universities as an admissions tool. them (the name of the president of the college, for example). “Testing providers do their best, but the discovery of Students took the test by themselves in a room. Some were the N-effect suggests that the number of test takers affects told they were competing against 10 others; some, against 100. results,” he says. “This really could be a big fairness issue.” Again, like with the SAT results, Garcia and Tor found that the number of competitors — this time perceived — affected Go to the outcome. n-effect.pdf to download the study.

The N-effect suggests that the motivation to do well is affected by the number of students in a classroom. Motivation goes down as the number of students goes up.”



• Harvard Graduate School of Education • winter 2010

CAMPUS BRIEFS A Sixth Reason to Know

Ed Tech

Doctoral candidate Shimon Waronker, Ed.M.’09, the 5 Reasons to Know profile in the 2009 issue of Ed., was one of four New York City principals upon whom the French government bestowed knighthood at a ceremony in October. Waronker received the honor for his efforts to create a welcoming environment for students from French-speaking Africa.

Professor Chris Dede and Lecturer David Rose, Ed.D.’76, were among 14 educators, state and district education technology leaders, policymakers, and researchers tapped by the Department of Education to draft a National Education Technology Plan. The document is intended to provide a vision for how information and communication technologies can help transform American education.

A Little Help Goes a Long Way

Letter of Interest

In a new report released in the fall, Professor Bridget Terry Long and her colleagues from Stanford University and the University of Toronto found that cumbersome financial aid forms and lack of information about higher education costs are significant barriers to higher education. Simply helping parents of high school seniors fill out the lengthy financial aid form and apply to schools increased college enrollment rates by 30 percent. Early details about this study were reported in the fall 2007 issue of Ed.

In November, Professor Howard Gardner received an honorary doctor of letters from the University of Sofia, the oldest university in Bulgaria. In conjunction with his visit to the Bulgarian capital, Gardner also delivered three lectures related to his work.

Silk Road Meets Appian Way For three days in October, the Silk Road Project with Yo-Yo Ma was in residency at the Ed School. The program of lectures and demonstrations concluded with a concert and presentation of the first Goldberg Arts in Education Award to the project and the Grammy-winning cellist.

Policy Implications A new study coauthored by Dean Kathleen McCartney found that the effect of quality childcare programs is greater for low-income children, suggesting that targeted government spending would be the most effective use of limited early childcare resources. The researchers found that the impact on math and reading abilities lasts at least through the fifth grade.

We’re Honored

Carnegie Chair

Assistant Professor Tina Grotzer was recently given a five-year CAREER award by the National Science Foundation’s Division of Research on Learning in Formal and Informal Settings. Professor Paul Harris won the 2009 William Thierry Preyer Award for Excellence in Research on Human Development from the European Society for Developmental Psychology.

The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching named Professor Patricia Alberg Graham as chairperson of the board. Graham, who served as dean of the Ed School from 1982 to 1991, is a leading historian of American education.

To learn more about these briefs, go to news_events.

Book It Lecturer Rick Weissbourd’s book, The Parents We Mean To Be, was included in The New Yorker’s list of the best books of the year. Weissbourd provides guidance for parents concerned about their children’s moral and emotional development.


• Harvard Graduate School of Education • winter 2010


Right on the money? by elaine McArdle

illustrations by James Yang

Despite repeated efforts to reward teachers based on performance — both theirs and their students’ — many experts say this incentive doesn’t improve education.

Offering financial incentives to improve education — providing money rewards to students, teachers, schools, or districts as a way to motivate them to try harder and do better — is one of the hottest topics in education today. On the student side, schools in cities like New York, Chicago, and Washington, D.C., are experimenting with financial rewards, including cash payouts to students who make good grades or show other achievement. The new competitive incentive grants from the federal Department of Education — the so-called “Race to the Top” money — hand out financial remuneration to states that comply with certain requirements, including improving academic results. But the greatest focus has been “pay for performance” initiatives for teachers whose students make the most academic progress, typically measured by results of standardized tests. The concept is simple: A series of influential studies in recent years have shown that teacher quality is one of the most important factors in student achievement, so “good” teachers — as reflected in growth in student test scores — should be paid more than their less able colleagues. Financial incentives will encourage teachers to try harder in their jobs, the theory goes, and those who don’t should leave the field and seek other careers. Pay for performance will rid schools of mediocre teachers, proponents say, leading to higher student achievement, betters schools, and, in the long-run, a more productive workforce in the United States. In the ongoing effort to address the complicated issue of improving American education, pay for performance seems to make sense, and so the movement has caught on across the country. In the past decade, at least 20 states and a large number of districts have instituted some form of pay for performance for teachers, including California, Florida, Minnesota, Texas, and the cities of Cincinnati, Denver, New York, and Charlotte, N.C., according to Donald Gratz, Ed.M.’76, author of the new book, The Peril and Promise of Performance Pay. And President Obama has announced that the federal Teacher Incentive Fund, a competitive grant program to support pay for performance plans, will increase five-fold, from $97 million to $483 million. But does pay for performance really work? According to many experts, the answer is a resounding no — especially when teacher ability is measured solely or primarily on student scores on standardized tests. “There has never been any research that shows that this works, although it’s very fashionable to think that it should work,” says Richard Rothstein, the former education columnist at The New York Times and the author of a number of books on education, including Grading Education: Getting Accountability Right. “When it comes to the sexy reform du jour — basing teachers’ pay on student performance — the research doesn’t support it at all,” concurs Bella Rosenberg, Ed.M.’72, an inde-



• Harvard Graduate School of Education • winter 2010

pendent education consultant based in Washington, D.C., who worked for more than 20 years for the American Federation of Teachers. This year, Rosenberg did a project that required her to read “just about every piece of research available on this, including from the advocates,” she says. She found no evidence that pay for performance improves education. “It’s not there — it’s just not there,” she says. Indeed, since the idea of pay for performance first was born, in the 18th century, it has failed every time it’s been tried, says Kitty Boles, Ed.D.’91, a senior lecturer at the Ed School. As early as 1710, in England, teachers were paid based on their students’ test scores in reading, writing, and arithmetic. But problems with this approach quickly became apparent, she says. The curriculum narrowed as arts and science classes were no longer taught. Teachers focused on drills aimed at improving test scores, and “teaching to the test” was born. There were even scandals with teachers faking test scores. For these reasons, pay for performance — also known as merit pay — was abandoned. Over the past three centuries, it has been resurrected numerous times, and in each instance, Boles says, it has failed to improve education and was eventually dropped. This cycle has been repeated each time a merit pay system has been launched, including one championed by President Richard Nixon but declared a failure not long afterwards, Boles says. Professor Susan Moore Johnson, M.A.T.’69, Ed.D.’81, agrees. “There have been waves of merit pay initiatives in the past, and every time someone recommends it anew, it’s as if it’s never been done before,” says Johnson, who recently coauthored Redesigning Teacher Pay: A System for the Next Generation of Educators, a book garnering much attention in the education world by advocating a radically different approach to teacher pay that encourages teacher career development through a four-tier system of promotion. Despite the history of merit pay, these plans continue to be reborn, including in various waves in the United States over the past century. Most recently, the passage in 2001 of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act reignited the movement. By mandating that all states develop annual standardized tests to measure student performance, NCLB created objective standards that could be used for other purposes, too — including as an ostensible means of judging teacher effectiveness. Merit pay gained real traction when the federal government instituted the fund that distributes awards to states and districts that create pay for performance plans in high-needs schools. Proponents, insisting that tying teacher salaries to measurable standards will improve schools, have instituted a wide variety of incentive plans across the country: Some evaluate teachers based solely on standardized test scores, some on teacher skill development; some offer more pay to teachers working in at-risk schools or with at-risk children, or for

teaching certain subjects. Some favor subjective measures such as a principal’s evaluation of the teacher, which has its own critics who fear favoritism, and some rely on a combination of these and other factors. To Boles, the format doesn’t matter, whether it’s purely objective or not; merit pay misses the point. “I’m not ready to say it will never work, but I doubt it will work because it’s not the way we should be assessing teachers’ abilities or skills,” says Boles, who instead advocates better teacher training and a career path that involves mentoring and being mentored. Plans that rely solely on student test scores have the most opponents, including many parents, who scorn “teaching to the test,” in which students are drilled to increase their test scores rather than taught to understand the underlying material and learning skills to last a lifetime. Teachers’ unions are strongly against these plans for a variety of reasons, including that they say it’s nearly impossible to accurately measure an individual teacher’s contribution to a student’s success, since a child’s achievement is cumulative over a period of years and the result of the efforts of many people. Some plans only reward the teachers whose subjects are tested; namely, reading and math teachers, thereby excluding others who also influence student achievement. “We are opposed to any form of merit pay where pay goes to individual teachers based on student test scores,” says Ed Doherty, Ed.D.’98, assistant to the president of the American Federation of Teachers in Massachusetts, which has 20,000 members. Not only is this the official position of the union, Doherty says, but in a survey of the 40,000 teachers in Massachusetts, about 90 percent oppose merit pay. A related problem is the emphasis on subjects in which student performance is easiest to measure; namely, math and reading. “There’s no way to measure performance other than in math or reading, other than by observing teachers in the classroom, but that’s extremely expensive, so no one is talking about that,” says Rothstein. By focusing on math and reading to the exclusion of other subjects, he says, “you create incentives to further distort and narrow the curriculum, which is disastrous.” He adds, “In any institution, if you have multiple goals and you create incentives to pursue only one or two, you get people abandoning other things they should be doing in order to focus on things for which they’re held accountable.” In his opinion, he continues, “this is one of biggest shortcomings of No Child Left Behind — schools have abandoned science, social studies, history, arts, and physical education, which is particularly disastrous in low-income communities.” Teachers and many others are particularly offended by the underlying assumption of merit pay: namely, that teachers would work harder if only they were rewarded with even a minor financial bonus (the pay differential in most plans is typically quite small, only a few thousand dollars tops.)

Most people who go into teaching are motivated by intrinsic rewards — the value of the work they do — rather than extrinsic motivators, such as money, many educators believe. “There’s an assumption under this that teachers would try harder if they were paid more,” says Gratz. “The corollary is that they’re not trying hard enough now, which means they care more about money than kids. Frankly, teachers find that insulting.” Rothstein agrees. The flawed theory behind pay for performance is “that student achievement is not as high as you’d like it to be because teachers, to use the economists’ term, are shirking, are not doing as well as they could, so they need incentives to work harder or better. That assumes that reason student achievement is poor is that teachers know what to do and just aren’t doing it.” To the contrary, Rothstein says, poor achievement in school is a larger problem that can’t be laid in the laps of teachers. “The assumption is that all our problems are due to teachers, so we don’t need to pay attention to social conditions students come from,” he says. Johnson concurs. “The essential assumption of pay for performance is that pay for performance is about effort, and that teachers who are offered a small sum of money — and it’s really very small, when you look at these plans — will somehow redouble their efforts and solve problems [of student achievement] they don’t know how to solve,” she says. Rob Stein, C.A.S.’93, Ed.D.’01, also believes that teacher motivation is not the core issue. Stein was named principal of an inner-city Denver high school when it reopened two years ago after being shut down for being the worst-performing school in the district. Denver’s merit pay system, known as the Professional Compensation System (ProComp), is currently touted as the model system for merit pay because it had widespread support, including from teachers and parents when it passed about five years ago. “Denver may be leading the nation, but it’s still not a very good model,” insists Stein, who describes himself as “agnostic” with regard to performance pay for teachers because he doesn’t oppose it, per se, but believes it doesn’t work. “Teachers probably are not drawn to the profession for financial incentives,” says Stein, whose faculty receives additional pay because they work in his high-needs school. “These are people who already take a pay cut just by deciding to teach. Giving them a five or 10 percent bonus — when they could earn much more in another field — isn’t a real incentive. Financial stakes aren’t what they’re in for, and the amount isn’t enough to make a real difference anyway.” He says, “What I see is that people have a missionary zeal to want to work with kids who need them the most. I’ve never heard anyone say, ‘I’m applying to your school because of the extra pay incentive.’” Still, he adds, if the district is going to offer rewards for things his teachers would do anyway, he’s happy to ensure they receive them. Ed.

• Harvard Graduate School of Education • winter 2010


Gratz also believes merit pay doesn’t incentivize teachers. But, he says, educators in Denver find that ProComp has some real benefits in getting all stakeholders — teachers, principals, and parents — focused on student success. In other words, he says, the schools benefited not from improved teacher commitment but as a consequence of everyone searching for ways to help students. Merit pay may not compel teachers to try harder. But on the specific issue of attracting high-quality teachers to teach in at-risk schools or with difficult student populations, Jennifer Steele, Ed.D.’08, says financial rewards have an impact. Steele works for the Rand Corporation on projects related to pay for performance and teacher effectiveness; at Harvard, she wrote her dissertation on whether a $20,000 cash incentive in California would induce academically talented teachers to go to disadvantaged schools. In fact, it did. The bonus increased by 28 percentage points the likelihood that gifted teachers would enter a low-performing school. “So far, we’ve found that you can influence the career choices of teachers with financial incentives,” Steele says. Still, that’s a different issue than rewarding teachers for student performance, she says. While test scores can be one measure, it’s critical that they not be the sole measure. Rather, a broad set of factors should be evaluated in assessing a teacher’s performance, including his or her lesson-plan portfolio. Another measure should be a principal’s subjective evaluation of a teacher, which Steele says is a pretty good predictor of a



• Harvard Graduate School of Education • winter 2010

teacher’s effectiveness. While there are many critics of the subjective approach, it has an important role in order to balancing out the “teach to the test” and other negative consequences of relying solely on test scores.

What to Reward

Eric Anderman, Ed.M.’86, and his wife, Lynley Hicks Anderman, who teach at The Ohio State University, are researchers who’ve studied and published in the area of educational motivation for 20 years. In their new book, Classroom Motivation, they argue that incentives can work in motivating students — and teachers, too — if they are properly structured. That means incentives should be awarded only if they are informational, meaning the student has really learned something, and if the reward is not perceived as controlling but provides the student some choice, such as deciding to read a book when not specifically asked to do so. “You get rewarded not for doing something but learning something,” says Anderman. “For example, you’re rewarded for demonstrating to me that you know how to add a series of two-digit numbers and understand the process behind it, versus just completing a worksheet.” The same principles apply to teachers: “If teachers are simply rewarded for following some kind of protocol or rule according to how it’s mandated, that’s not effective. But if the teacher did something creative, innovative, that would be great because it’s coming from the teacher,” he says.

The other kind of reward will work, he stresses, but has serious negative consequences. “The danger is people start doing things just to get the reward and lose interest in the activity itself. So the teacher might go through the appropriate behaviors in order to get a bigger paycheck instead of because he or she wants to teach kids. The same with kids: they’ll do the worksheets in order to get the reward, but get bored with math and rule it out as a career,” he says. Of course, it’s more time-consuming to base rewards on a larger portfolio of factors including subjective evaluations, which is why relying on test scores is popular. But in the end, it will backfire — if the goal is to produce educated children. “If you keep rewarding for teaching to the test, teachers will keep doing that,” says Anderman. “What would be a good thing would be if teachers were rewarded not just for making students achieve, but for specific ways of making them achieve” including learning critical thinking and other things harder to test but more valuable in the long run. Like Boles, Stein, and others, Anderman believes higher salaries across the board for teachers would be more useful than merit pay, as would better teacher preparatory programs, mentoring, and other ongoing supports.

A Multi-Tiered Approach Johnson is director of the Project on the Next Generation of Teachers, where she studies teachers’ work and careers. Her latest book, Redesigning Teacher Pay: A System for the Next Generation of Educators, cowritten with John Papay, Ed.M.’05, an advanced doctoral student at the Ed School, is gaining attention from educators searching for better ways to approach teacher pay. The book grew out of two studies, the first of which took a broad look at pay for performance in four urban districts: Houston; Minneapolis; CharlotteMecklenberg, N.C.; and Hillsborough County, Fla. Without assessing these programs per se, Johnson explains, the book examines how these systems are set up, including whether they use student performance on standardized tests, professional evaluations, a hybrid model, and whether they used individual or group assessments. But it’s the second part of the book that is gaining attention in education circles. It offers a new and comprehensive approach for teacher pay that focuses on helping teachers develop their skills throughout their careers in order to benefit students and schools. Johnson and Papay’s concept states that since money is not the primary motivating factor for teachers, it will neither attract nor retain them in the field. What’s needed to cultivate good teachers — and by extension, better students — is a range of support including mentorship and the ability to learn and grow in a formal way, they believe. “Teachers generally don’t go into teaching for money, especially in these days when they have access to all other lines of work,” in contrast to years past when women and men of color

went into education because they were blocked from some fields, Johnson says. “Today, people who are choosing to teach are really choosing to teach, and it’s with awareness of the limitations of salaries. No one expects to get rich. You hear this again and again in interviews with teachers.” As most teachers will explain, she says, they’re drawn to the field because they want to help students. “They’ll say that again and again: It’s the kids,” she says. For that reason, Johnson and Papay propose a system that would replace the common single-salary scale in teaching with a four-tiered pay structure that sets out goals and provides rewards in the form of substantially higher pay when teachers achieve them by being promoted to the next tier. Each of the tiers — probationary teacher, professional teacher with tenure, master teachers and school-based leaders, and school and district leaders — provide opportunities for career growth. And the system emphasizes career support that helps all teachers improve. Johnson and Papay also propose what they call a “Learning and Development Fund,” created by diverting resources from the single-salary scale, to finance new learning opportunities for teachers, provide stipends for special staffing assignments, and give other support to assist teachers and schools. Johnson believes that such an approach — with its emphasis on investing in teachers’ careers — is the answer to a stable and successful teaching corps. “Districts that implement the tiered pay-and-career structure and its companion Learning and Development Fund will fundamentally change how they recruit, compensate, assess, and develop teachers,” she and Papay write. “As a result, their schools should achieve greater stability, steady improvement, and increased student success.” — Elaine McArdle is a freelance writer based in Cambridge. Her last piece in Ed. explored rural education. Ed.

Gifts for Grades When we initially started this story, we wanted to look at incentives overall in schools — for teachers and students. That turned out to be a huge undertaking, too huge for one short magazine story. In addition, Harvard Professor Roland Fryer’s new research on student incentives wasn’t being released until after the publication of our magazine. For those reasons, we decided to tackle the topic with two stories — teacher incentives in this issue of Ed. and student incentives in a web-exclusive, which you’ll soon be able to read online at As always, let us know what you think!


• Harvard Graduate School of Education • winter 2010


Pregnant at 15, Jeannette Mancilla-Martinez could easily have dropped out of high school and become another tragic statistic. But she always had her eye on the future. Now an assistant professor at a top urban university with two Harvard degrees under her belt, she has proven that risk factors can be balanced out by other strengths: resilience, hard work, and family members willing to babysit and drive you back and forth to class. The Family Way By john conroy Photography by Alex GArcia


September 8, the third week of the semester at the University of Illinois at Chicago, a university that 50 years ago was the dream of Mayor Richard Daley and the nightmare of hundreds of working-class Italian, Greek, African American, and Mexican families who ultimately saw their homes leveled and their communities destroyed. If there are ghosts here, they are not friendly. I’m an interloper in Room 304 of Stevenson Hall, where at 5 p.m., Jeannette Mancilla-Martinez, Ed.M.’04, Ed.D.’09, begins her class, Studies in Literacy Research and Teacher Inquiry. She faces 15 graduate students, all of them teachers who, having put in a full day in their own classrooms, are now confined to another one for three hours, one they had to fight rush hour traffic to get to. Making matters more challenging is the fact that the readings this week are the most demanding on the syllabus. Throw into the mix the fact that Mancilla-Martinez, her Harvard Graduate School of Education doctoral diploma only three months old, took up residence in Chicago only two weeks ago. She has chosen this job, one of four she was offered last spring, in part because she was impressed with the university’s mission to serve the urban poor, particularly the African American and Latino communities. But it’s a city she doesn’t know; her son, Danny, is in a new school; and Oscar, her husband of six years, is still back in Boston, finishing an MBA. In short, it’s a time of considerable upheaval in her life. A betting man might wager a considerable sum that this group of students will be tired, unresponsive, and perhaps even resentful; that the teacher will succumb to their attitudes and the great stress in her own life; that the class will be a bomb. Mancilla-Martinez, however, is not someone you should bet against. Clad in a grey suit and white shirt, she commands in a subtle way, with the authority of an old hand and the face of a new recruit. She speaks rapidly with a calm enthusiasm, her hands moving constantly. After working her way through various theories on teacher research, she sums up why teachers often resent it. “The predominant sense is that research imposes procedures and the procedures don’t work when they are implemented. When it is forced on you, it doesn’t hold much meaning for you. You take it as a chore, not as a desire to implement something.” Teachers’ resentment, she says, is often born in the feeling that the research isn’t applicable to their particular students, that it will lead to poor outcomes, and that those outcomes will be blamed, not on the imposed procedures, but on the teachers stuck with them. No drama, no fireworks, no bells, whistles, or jokes, but within the first 20 minutes, nine of the students have had something to say, and the remaining six are fully engaged. The professor clearly expects no less of them, no less of herself. Sitting



• Harvard Graduate School of Education • winter 2010

in class, watching this unfold, and knowing a little about the professor, I find myself thinking of the families displaced from this site a half century ago. If there are ghosts here, they must like Mancilla-Martinez. They would do so with good reason. is nearly impossible to write about Mancilla-Martinez without starting with her family, and ultimately, that’s the point. Her father, Felipe Mancilla, was born in a village in Jalisco, Mexico, in 1954, his actual birth date in dispute (officially February 20, unofficially February 5) because it took more than two weeks for it to be recorded in a larger village some distance away. Felipe’s father abandoned the family after a second son was born a year later. The boys’ mother, Angela Mancilla, worked as a maid, found she couldn’t make ends meet, and left for a similar job in Texas in 1957, leaving her two toddlers behind with relatives. Eleven years later, having found better paying work in Los Angeles, she sent for her sons. The two did not have visas and crossed the border in the back seat of a car, pretending to be the sons of the woman in the front seat, a friend of their mother’s whom they’d never set eyes on until that morning. By the time the Mancilla boys established legal residency in 1970, Felipe thought that school was out of the question. “I was already 16 years old. My brother started going to high school. I saw the situation, my mother didn’t have money for the rent, so I decided to go to work and help her, and also take my brother on my shoulder. He needed all the stuff for school and clothes. After that I couldn’t do anything but work and work.” His mother had given up her job as a maid for betterpaying work at Moldex, a factory that manufactured foam for the bra cups of bathing suits. Felipe landed a job there cutting rolls of cloth. “I took a second job in a gas station. Got off work at Moldex at 3 p.m., would pump gas until 8 or 9 p.m. and go home,” he says. “Then I started throwing the L.A. Times. Got up at 1:30 a.m., throw 450 papers, and report to Moldex at 7 a.m.” He gave up the newspaper route after a friend hired him as a gardener, and not long after he built up his own landscaping business. He’d get up at 6:30 a.m., work until 1:30 p.m., then report to Moldex at 2:30 p.m. for the second shift. Though he only had a seventh-grade education, he picked up English gradually, informally, everyone he met his teacher. Thirty-nine years after he started at Moldex, he now supervises 76 employees on the factory’s second shift and, at 55, still works his landscaping route of 60 homes. In 1974, Felipe married Jovita Garcia, an immigrant from a village in Sinaloa, whom he’d met on the factory floor. She too had only seven years of schooling, but unlike her husband,


Clockwise, top to bottom: Jeannette and Danny, finally in Chicago; in their new apartment; on campus with a student; teaching the teachers.


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she’d never taken to English, and it remains a foreign tongue even today. (Spanish was, and is, the language spoken in the Mancilla household.) The two settled in Inglewood, an affordable if not always safe community. Jeannette, the second of their three daughters, was born in 1978. And thus the future Harvard doctorate had a most unlikely start. She says she never considered the family poor and never had a sense that they were “doing without,” an attitude she realizes only in retrospect was the byproduct of her father’s hard labor. Her mother, she recalls, was intimately involved in their lives at home and helped at school whenever she could, limited by her poor command of English. In Mancilla-Martinez’s sophomore year of high school, the family story took a sharp turn south. “I was a really strong student throughout my elementary school years. I was in honors classes in junior high and high school,” she says. “So when this news was told to my family, it was devastating for everyone. They just couldn’t believe this had occurred.” A few weeks after turning 15, Mancilla-Martinez had come home pregnant. “I had always had a good relationship with my parents. Particularly close with my father,” she says. “That to me was the most difficult part, being unable to look him in the eye.” The hardworking Felipe, the son of a teenage mother, saw history repeat itself. Mancilla-Martinez’s boyfriend, the father of the child, eventually pulled the same vanishing act that Felipe’s father had. “It was a devastating time in our lives,” Felipe recalls. “My wife was so upset — and then all the comments. Even relatives did not make very good comments. ‘Look what happened. She is taking the kids to school every day and now this.’ We got some ugly comments from teachers at school. ‘This is going to be bad; she will not be able to keep going to school.’ I sat up with Jeannette and we talked about the situation. She told me she wanted to keep the baby. I said, ‘We are raised to be responsible for our doings. We just have to face it and go forward.’” At the time, Mancilla-Martinez was working as a paid tutor in an afterschool program at Beulah Payne Elementary School, the grammar school she’d attended, situated across the street from the Mancilla home. About three months into the pregnancy, before her pregnancy was visible or widely known, she was called into the school office. The principal and assistant principal had somehow found out she was pregnant. “I was 15, I was totally unprepared for any of this, and I was told I had to resign as a tutor, which quite frankly, I did understand,” she says, “but it was really hard to swallow at that age — to hear two adults telling you that you are not a good role model for the children.”



• Harvard Graduate School of Education • winter 2010

She decided not to tell her parents she had been fired. “I just said I wouldn’t be doing it anymore, because I was too ashamed to say what they’d told me,” she says. “I think my parents were still so shocked by the news that I was pregnant that not tutoring at the elementary school was the least of their concerns.” She recalls that throughout her pregnancy, her parents were “completely supportive. …They just wanted me to stay in school, make sure I was cared for, and provide whatever they could so I could move forward.” At about the same time, riots between African American and Latino students were breaking out at Inglewood High School. Her parents pulled her out and arranged for her to attend a public school for pregnant students. In the end, she missed no school at all. Her son, Daniel, was born in August, and when school began in September, Mancilla-Martinez was behind a desk, a transfer student at Santa Monica High School, eligible to attend because of her stellar academic record. Her father recalls the baby’s arrival as a blessing, an event that “turned our lives around.” Jovita watched Danny while Mancilla-Martinez attended school. “It was very difficult and odd to have a newborn starting my junior year. But because of the family support I had I could really focus on my schoolwork,” Mancilla-Martinez says. “My mom was driving me to and from school. I know in retrospect that I wasn’t the one providing for him.” She attributes her deep-seated motivation to succeed to her parents, “who had worked so hard to provide for us without even speaking the language.” The cutting words of the principal who’d fired her from her tutoring job, she says, also “fueled my desire to make something of myself.” She graduated with honors from Santa Monica and became the first in her family to attend college, choosing nearby Mount Saint Mary’s. Jovita drove her to classes the first two years. She graduated in 2000, summa cum laude.


graduation, she taught grades K through 4 at two different schools (including the elementary school where she had tutored). Though she had given some thought to attending graduate school, it was a small group of fourth-graders who sparked her application. Although they were fluent readers, they couldn’t understand the meaning of the words. “They made me realize I was not as equipped as I wanted to be,” she says. A mentor at Mount Saint Mary’s encouraged her to apply to the Ed School. She was accepted in 2002, and two months before starting classes in 2003, she married Oscar Martinez, a descendent of migrant farm workers whom she’d known in an honors math class in junior high in 1992, lost touch with, and

then bumped into at a party in 2000. In August, Jeannette, Oscar, and 10-year-old Danny moved from Inglewood to Cambridge. Mancilla-Martinez’s interests were in language and literacy development and, not long into her five years at Harvard, she unexpectedly fell in love with research. She has since worked as project coordinator with Professor Catherine Snow on a word-generation pilot study, with Associate Professor Nonie Lesaux on predicting Spanish-speakers’ growth in reading, and with former Lecturer Barbara Pan on developing methods for tracking the language development of bilingual children. She is the author or coauthor of three soon-to-be-published articles on minority learners and three articles now under review, and has addressed conferences in Prague, Chicago, Washington, D.C., Vancouver, Cambridge, Asheville, N.C., Los Angeles, and Egmond aan Zee in the Netherlands. In gathering data for the Lesaux project, Mancilla-Martinez worked closely with current doctoral student Almudena Abeyta, Ed.M.’04, Ed.M.’09, then-principal at the Donald McKay K–8 School, described by Abeyta as “90 percent Hispanic, 90 percent free and reduced lunch, 50 percent second-language learners.” Abeyta recalls Mancilla-Martinez as a different breed, a partner in education, concerned about the students, who repeatedly met with the school faculty to explain what the research was indicating. “It gave us another way to diagnose what our students were lacking,” Abeyta says, “and what we needed to be teaching them.” The benefits of having someone with Mancilla-Martinez’s background doing such research can’t be underestimated, according to Pan. “Because of her language background, she is able to communicate with the parents in our study directly,” she says. “She can speak with credibility about the challenges and the potential of kids from language-minority and low-income backgrounds. No one is going to accuse her of being an ivory tower academic who comes in from outside to point out what is wrong and what needs to be fixed.” According to Pan, Mancilla-Martinez seems to be completely unable “to waste time being discouraged in the face of criticism or difficulties of any kind. She immediately moves on to, ‘This is what we have, so what are we going to do about it?’ rather than get mired down in a blue funk for a few days engaging in ‘Well, if we’d done this instead of that,’” she says. “That approach to learning and to her work is one of her extraordinary strengths. I think her work ethic and her sense that high achievement is possible are probably things that she got from her parents and her family.” Current doctoral student Armida Lizaraga, Ed.M.’08, met Mancilla-Martinez when the latter served as a teacher’s assistant in a class on reading, and then went on to work with

her on Lesaux’s research project. She remembers, “Jeannette always said, ‘People tell me, “You work so hard, you come in so early.” I am not working hard. I come in, I drink coffee, it’s comfortable, it’s a nice office. My dad, he works hard. This is not hard.’” Michael Kieffer, Ed.D.’09, now assistant professor of language and education at Columbia University, recalls looking for Mancilla-Martinez at the end of their graduation ceremony last June. He found her surrounded by Oscar, Danny, Felipe, Jovita, and Angela — Felipe’s mother, who’d traveled from Mexico for the occasion — her maternal grandmother, her two sisters, and seven other relatives. “Her dad was hugging her so hard, for four or five minutes,” he says. “He had tears running down his face.” I asked Felipe to describe that day. “I guess it was just the best part of our life,” he says. “It was everything we have dreamed of. It was like going to heaven smiling.”


what are the odds here? The odds that a child of non-English-speaking immigrants with seventh-grade educations, a child raised by factory workers in a low-income community, a child who was pregnant at 15, would now have a doctorate from Harvard? Kieffer suggests that a surface analysis might indicate the odds would be a million to one, but anyone who meets the child in question would find that wildly inaccurate. Lizaraga says the story is completely unlikely, until you meet the child’s parents. Christopher Howard, an Afghanistan veteran who met Mancilla-Martinez when his son played with her son on a soccer team in Cambridge, says, “I don’t care what the odds are. I am going to bet on her every time.” Pan answers by pointing out the lesson in this. “All of those factors you just listed are statistically speaking risk factors, and the cumulative effects of multiple risk factors is considerable,” she says. “Generally individuals who have more than one of those risk factors are at a higher risk for academic difficulties.” But development is a very complex thing, she says, and she and Mancilla-Martinez have demonstrated in their research that there is immense variability among children from lowincome backgrounds, that risk factors can be balanced out by other strengths, and teachers should always be aware that low-income children are not destined to fail academically. Mancilla-Martinez did have some early challenges, Pan says, but she also has a strong, close-knit family and personality characteristics that are sources of resilience. “We want to keep the resilience side of ‘risk and resilience’ in the picture.” — John Conroy is a freelance writer from Chicago. This is his first piece in Ed. Ed. Ed.

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Wither High School? Many educators are saying that today’s American high school is outdated and obsolete. Does one of the nation’s oldest institutions really need a complete overhaul?

By lory hough illustrations by tim Walker

Was Bill Gates right: Are America’s high schools obsolete? It’s an odd question to ask — outrageous even. How could one of the nation’s most recognizable institutions, what former Harvard Graduate School of Education Dean Ted Sizer, M.A.T.’57, once called a “sturdy fixture of every American community,” no longer be useful? When Gates made this remark in 2005 at a national education summit in Washington, D.C., he said he didn’t mean that high schools were broken or underfunded — although that is often the case. His meaning echoed a point that educators around the country have been arguing for decades now: High schools are not, by their mere design, teaching kids what they need to know to be capable, successful adults. As Gates pointed out, “Training the workforce of tomorrow with the high schools of today is like trying to teach kids about today’s computers on a 50-year-old mainframe. It’s the wrong tool for the times.”



ow did high schools get so off course? Initially they didn’t have to serve many students, and certainly not the diverse pool that we have today, starting with the first public school, founded in Boston in 1635 to prepare a tiny group of the nation’s elite sons to enter the ministry or, eventually, further study at Harvard. These small numbers continued through World War I, when only about 5 percent of American children went to high school and eighth grade was the culmination, says education historian and former dean Patricia Albjerg Graham. “Most people didn’t graduate from high school until World War II,” she says. By the 1960s, virtually all high school-age Americans were in school. “No other nation had ever accomplished as much. Many educators felt utopia was at hand,” reported The New York Times in 1981. And although the numbers were rising, for those who finished, even with modest skills, the work world was eagerly waiting. “At the time, there were lots of jobs available for high school graduates,” says Bill Symonds, director of the school’s Pathways to Prosperity Project (formerly called the Forgotten Half Project). “It was completely conceivable that you could have just a high school diploma and get a good job.” However, by the time Sizer wrote his seminal 1985 report, A Study of High Schools, and A Nation at Risk warned of education failure and the need for deep reform, that earlier sense of utopia was slipping away. Manufacturing jobs started to disappear, other countries were bypassing the United States in math and science achievements, and the boom in technology started to demand higher skills. As a nation, we came to realize that if you wanted to get anywhere in life, Graham says, you had to go to college. High school was an interim stage, not the final stage.

Forgotten Half So where does this leave high schools today? In need of a serious design overhaul, said Gates at the summit, a sentiment echoed by many at the Ed School. And until they do change, Gates said, “We will keep limiting, even ruining, the lives of millions of Americans every year.” In today’s knowledge-based economy, high school students — the nation’s future workers — need what has become known as “21st-century skills” in order to earn the kind of comfortable living that their high school diplomas alone once allowed. These skills include the obvious, like the ability to keep up with rapidly changing technology, as well as so-called “soft skills,” like creativity and the ability to collaborate. As President Barack Obama told a group of librarians recently, “In this new economy, teaching our kids just enough so that they can get through Dick and Jane isn’t going to cut it,” he said. “Over the next 10 years, the average literacy required for all American occupations is projected to rise by 14 percent. It’s



• Harvard Graduate School of Education • winter 2010

The actual term “high school” originates in Scotland, with the world’s oldest, the Royal High School in Edinburgh.


The first public school in the country is founded, Boston Latin School. In 1821, the first solo high school starts, English High School. Both are still functioning in Boston.

not enough just to recognize the words on the page anymore. The kind of literacy necessary for 21st-century employment requires detailed understanding and complex comprehension. But too many kids simply aren’t learning at that level.” The result is that the ones who don’t go on to college, this “forgotten half,” as they were dubbed, are falling further behind. According to the Census Bureau, the median earning for a full-time worker with a bachelor’s degree in 2007 was about $47,000. For someone who started college but didn’t graduate, the number dropped to about $33,000; someone with just a high school diploma earned about $27,000. For dropouts, the economic picture is even bleaker: According to Northeastern University’s Center for Labor Market Studies, over a working lifetime from ages 18 to 64, high school dropouts are estimated to earn about $400,000 less than those with diplomas. This knowledge and wage gap is especially wide during sluggish economies, when employers have their pick of bettereducated applicants. As one Denver employment agency owner told the Denver Post in the spring, “If I had a light labor job, I’d have a Ph.D. do it,” noting that she had recently hired two people with bachelor’s degrees to remove sticks from the sidewalk. Even during the best of times, employers now say they want educated applicants. “There’s a story that the former governor of North Carolina likes to tell,” says Joel Vargas, Ed.M.’97, Ed.D.’03, program director at Boston-based Jobs for the Future. “He realized how much the labor market had changed when he went to visit a local flooring company and the owner told him they needed people with associate’s degrees. The nature of the work is much different now.” In his talk to librarians, Obama said this doesn’t bode well for the forgotten half. “Every year we pass more of these kids through school or watch as more dropout,” he said. “These are kids who will pore through the help-wanted section and cross off job after job that requires skills they just don’t have. And others who will have to take that help-wanted section, walk it over to someone else, and find the courage to ask, ‘Will you read this for me?’”

1917 Smith-Hughes Act, commonly known as the Vocational Act of 1917, passes.

1944 The GI Bill signed into law by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, sending nearly 8 million World War II veterans to college.

College for All? Which brings us to the question that is at the heart of the current debate on secondary school reform: What then should be the focus of high school? Different camps say different things, but perhaps the loudest voice has been the one saying that the only way to close the gap is for every student to go to college. Symonds argues that although the college-for-all mantra may sound good — who doesn’t want a highly educated workforce? — the reality is that only 30 percent of young adults actually get a B.A. by the age of 27. The majority never even start down that road — they aren’t motivated to do so or don’t have the confidence to try — or start college but don’t finish. The latter, he says, is a particularly huge issue that doesn’t get much attention. “Many young people are not prepared to succeed in college,” he says. “That’s a key reason the United States has one of the highest college dropout rates, especially at the community college level. Well under half going to community college earn a degree.” Senior Lecturer Paul Reville, the current secretary of education in Massachusetts, agrees that many students come to college not ready to do the work. “Thirty-seven percent of our graduates in Massachusetts needed remediation when they got to college,” he says. According to a 2009 study by ACT, a nonprofit assessment organization, less than one-quarter of graduating high school seniors nationwide are college ready, based on English, math, reading, and science scores. Twentyfive percent of students at four-year institutions fail to return for their sophomore year, a number that grows to 47 percent for students at two-year institutions. Partly to blame, says Reville, is that most high schools are designed to be one-size-fits-all. “Can we do it all with one-size-fits-all?” he says. “No. I think we’re at the end of the era of thinking that will work. It’s outmoded at this point. We have some students coming into ninth grade ready to do highly challenging work, and others still at an elementary school level in areas like math and reading. We’ve got to develop a differentiated model of learning at that stage.”

Reville acknowledges that all people, in order to succeed, need to be lifelong learners, “but not everyone needs to go to an Ivy League university. That’s not what we need in society. What we need is for everyone to have some level of postsecondary learning. We need to prepare our students to be ready for a challenging career or trade where the procedures and equipment constantly change. They need to be ready to master new skills. High schools, therefore, need a range of options to meet that.” Academic Dean Robert Schwartz, C.A.S.’68, says it’s also time to end the grip that higher education has had on how secondary schools operate. “I accept the idea that the condition of life in this economy is that kids who are 17, 18, 19 years old will need to be able to continue to learn new things,” he says, “but what I argue is that there are lots of different ways and higher education shouldn’t hold the franchise.”

Options Still, says Vargas, this doesn’t mean we shouldn’t have high expectations for all students. “The expectation that everyone should be aiming for a postsecondary credential of some sort is not hardwired into the traditional high school,” he says. “The traditional high school was set up to meet diverse needs by sorting students into different curricular paths — many of which did not lead to college prep. Those schools were built for an old economy. All paths must lead to and through some postsecondary education. That’s why it’s important to make college a presumption in schools.” The way for high schools to do this, he says, is to offer more options for students beyond the traditional approach to learning, referred to as “multiple pathways” in academic circles, he says, because everyone should have an opportunity at a good job, not just a job. “It’s important but not enough to surround students with a college-going culture. It’s going to take aggressive, innovative approaches to bridge the academic, social, and financial chasm that low-income students face between high school and college,” he says. Options include increasing access to community colleges, such as the plan by Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick to offer free tuition at the state’s 15 community colleges. (The plan was derailed by the economy.) Schwartz says we should also be offering individualized education and training accounts to all students that can be used postgraduation for college or a high-quality training program. “If you’re a poor kid and you say you want to go to college, there’s a Pell Grant waiting for you,” he says. “If you’re a poor kid and you don’t want to go to college, you’re on your own. This type of account sends a message to all kids: Not only do we need you, but we trust you to figure it out.” Ed.

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1957 Vargas says another option, one that has been gaining traction, is to open more early-college high schools. “Why not automatically enroll students in college-level courses, as they are ready, even if they’re still in high school? Dual enrollment and early college arrangements can serve this purpose, depending on state policies,” he says. Targeted primarily to those who come from households where college-going is not the expectation, these schools are a dress rehearsal for college, with all students taking college courses with transferrable credits. Students also participate in internships and certification programs. One example is Hidalgo Early College High School, a school that Vargas visited in Texas that is about 90 percent low-income, 98 percent Latino, and nearly 65 percent “at-risk” for dropping out. “These are kids you wouldn’t expect to have a postsecondary future,” he says, “but the school was remarkable. Every student had an early college experience. By the 11th grade, kids were taking college-level courses that were charting a pathway toward college or technical credentials. That was true even for the kid ranked 187th out of 187. It’s a way to wed high school and college goals.” At schools like Hidalgo, the fallback for students is a postsecondary path. “This is very different from the fallback we’ve often had for kids — life skills,” Vargas says, referring to the “life adjustment” movement that started in the 1940s that believed the smartest 20 percent of young Americans should have an academic curriculum, 20 percent a vocational curriculum, and the remaining 60 percent — “the sludge in the system,” as Graham says they were known — simple life skills: check writing and personal hygiene, for example. The father of the movement, Charles Prosser, argued that because this 60 percent wouldn’t be academically challenged beyond their abilities, they were more likely to stay in school. (Proponents of the early-college model say students stay in school chiefly because they are being challenged and engaged.) While early-college high schools link students with local colleges, Schwartz says another option is to directly link high school students to business, like existing career academies, which started in 1969 in Philadelphia in collaboration with Philadelphia Electric Company and Bell of Pennsylvania, and talent development high schools, which allow struggling students to play academic “catch up” before learning about specific career paths. “Kids and their families from eighth grade looking up ought to be able to see a set of pathways, each leading to a range of occupations and fields, and a clear range of what you would need to do to get there,” Schwartz says. “For middle class kids trained in a sense for delayed gratification, high school has been beaten into them. For kids growing up in housing projects, television is sometimes their window to the work world, and it doesn’t give you a realistic sense of how to get there.”



• Harvard Graduate School of Education • winter 2010

The Soviet Union launches Sputnik, the first satellite to orbit the Earth. United States ramps up science and math requirements.


Elementary and Secondary Education Act requires standardized tests in public schools.


A Nation at Risk warns that schools are failing, setting off a wave of reform.

Applied Learning One way to do combat this — and perhaps the option that stirs up the most debate — is the one that has the longest history: vocational education, commonly called “voc ed,” but now officially known as career and technical education. As far back as the 19th century, European educators were touting the importance of engaging with the studied subject. At the end of that century, the Swedish model for handiwork, sloyd, was introduced in the United States, where it evolved into manual training. Although educators like John Dewey said it would benefit all students, by the early 20th century, this type of training became viewed as not academically challenging, a place to dump the kids who weren’t smart. Since then, Graham says there has been talk of reforming vocational education —“moving beyond just shop class to something more relevant” — but it hasn’t quite happened yet. “Why? Because it’s hard to change anything, and it’s particularly hard for youngsters who don’t have the skills or the inclination to do calculus or who don’t read well,” Graham explains. “You don’t, on the whole, see a large number of children of bankers going into vocational education or becoming vocational education teachers. Most [students in vocational education] have been the children of those who are not prominent in the community.” Reville argues that many vocational schools are changing for the better and that the stigma is “rapidly disappearing.” In Massachusetts, “vocational schools have steadily been increasing and are now exceeding the statewide average on standardized tests.’ In fact, mainstream schools could learn a few lessons from vocational schools, he says. “They’ve mastered applied learning a long time ago. With applied learning, school becomes very engaging for students. It gives them hope and a sense of direction. That’s often absent from mainstream schools.”


America’s first charter school opens: City Academy High School in St. Paul, Minn.


you can expose students to a career that interests them and prepares them for college. In other words, career and technical education might just be a hook that gets them motivated to learn. But that doesn’t mean they can’t switch to another field after high school.”

Practical Matters

No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 is enacted.

— Jazmin Brooks

Schwartz says that while vocational high schools in places like Massachusetts are doing well, many others are falling short because they can’t afford to buy up-to-date equipment or software. He would rather see more vocational education at the postsecondary, rather than secondary, level. “Colleges and universities have a better likelihood of establishing close relationships with employers and can better keep up with changes,” he says. In response to expanding vocational training, Graham says we need to ask, “To what extent does it enlarge and to what extent does it limit students? It enlarges for kids who come from families without regular work histories. They learn about getting to work on time and other skills you really do need to succeed. For some kids, it can be very beneficial. For many, it’s a dead end.” Symonds insists that vocational training is not just another way to pigeonhole students into dead-end futures. “This is something we desperately need for kids here in the United States. Not to limit them, but to give them a chance. The idea that this will limit them is a misguided notion,” he says. “Critics often cite the argument about ‘tracking,’ but the issue is far more complex than they suggest. At the most general level, I’d respond that a system that produces huge numbers of high school dropouts is the worst form of tracking. Clearly, high school dropouts have next to no prospects in our society.” In 2007, nearly 6.2 million students in the United States between the ages of 16 and 24 dropped out. More than half of the dropouts in this age group were jobless in a given month during 2008, compared with 13 percent with a college degree. “Our view is that we need to offer students multiple pathways to success. A strictly academic pathway is one pathway, but one that obviously doesn’t work for all students,” Symonds says. “High-quality vocational education integrates academic content with career and technical instruction. If you do that,

No matter what path a school or district chooses to take in an effort to reform high school, it’s clear that the next obstacle will be trying to figure out how to actually implement these changes, says Chris Saheed, Ed.M.’90, principal of Cambridge Rindge and Latin High School, in Cambridge, Mass. “What is tricky to do is to figure out how to change the typically traditional high school model of educating students into the proposed model that incorporates academics and a new skill set,” he says. “First, the accountability system requires that schools pay attention to proficiency in tested subjects. Second, there is the even larger question of what is a well-educated person and what skills does one need to be ready for the choices after high school. The latter is constantly shifting in a highly technological society and global context.” It will also be important to start integrating the idea of multiple pathways into the thinking of students, something that Nicole Shadeed, Ed.M.’08, C.A.S.’09, has been doing this part year as the ninth-grade guidance counselor at Malden High School, located about six miles north of Cambridge. “I think it’s important to provide students with as much information as possible, as early as possible,” she says. In addition to the expected services for students — college visits and college fairs — she also talks to students about other highquality paths. “I will be going into our new semester-long business class, Freshmen Career Tech, to do some interest inventories, discuss all postsecondary options — work, armed forces, technical schools, two- and four-year colleges — in addition to discussing how to be successful in high school, résumés, and the importance of getting involved in high school.” This approach, she says, is all about making sure that high school is equitable for everyone. “We want students to have options and have the knowledge to make informed decisions. It’s fine if a student does not want to attend college, but we don’t want students who are interested to not attend because they didn’t understand the requirements to apply or how failing classes affected their GPA, so we are trying to get that information out as soon as we can,” she says. “I do not assume college for all. Our guidance staff always tries to be inclusive when talking about postsecondary plans. We are careful to not just say ‘college’ because in 2008, 22 percent of our students did not go to college right out of high school. We want students to be able to decide, but on their terms.” Ed. Ed.

• Harvard Graduate School of Education • winter 2010


in the media How did E-180 begin? E-180 came out of necessity. My work visa was up (I am Québécoise) and I had to leave the United States unless I found a sponsor. I had been an entrepreneur all my life, and I was ready to start my own thing. That meant going back to Montreal, where I could get financial support to create a social enterprise. I was thinking about an education-related media venture: educational documentary production company, a publishing house, an educational marketing company — all meant to promote the values behind democratic education.



Christine Renaud

Christine Renaud, Ed.M.’07, remembers her teenage years well, complete with all the challenges and complications that age implies. “It was a fight: me against ‘the system,’ and I was not going to lose,” she recalls of a time when making her point was a bit more important to her than making good grades. But when, at 18, Renaud spent two months in Guatemala teaching English, her whole perspective changed. “I decided that education was the most efficient way to create multiplying agents of values that had become dear to my heart: solidarity, social justice, and human rights for all,” she says. “But now it was me in front of them: me representing authority, me enforcing rules I didn’t really believe in, me playing the teacher. This feeling of discomfort brought me to wonder about another way of educating, another way of understanding human potential development.” This revelation propelled Renaud through college and to the Ed School, where she says she discovered she had so much more to learn. And her learning continues as CEO and cofounder of E-180, a website, blog, and soon-to-be mentoring portal, where anyone seeking to expand their learning without formality can be matched with a mentor on any topic for free. 34


• Harvard Graduate School of Education • winter 2010

Courtesy of Christine Renaud

What finally sparked the idea? As I was investigating the type of grants I could get for an educational media company, I fell on Facebook’s grant for the creation of new Facebook applications. I thought, “So many people on Facebook, so much knowledge, such a culture of sharing. What if people were aware of what their friends know, and could learn it from them?” Even though I never applied for the grant, E-180 was born. We believe that education doesn’t have to be institutionalized and that the Internet provides amazing tools to help us to find mentors to help us jumpstart our learning in any field, with one single meeting.

The E-180 website uses the term “social entrepreneur.” What does it mean to be a social entrepreneur? There are as many definitions of social entrepreneurship as there are social entrepreneurs. For me, a social entrepreneur is someone who tackles an issue affecting the common good by creating a new initiative. Just

And why is “consensual education,” another term used, so important? Consensual education is important because there is no other way to learn. Education is a relationship, and a relationship where consent is absent is oppressive. … Education can only happen where mutual respect and trust exist between the parties involved, and it’s an everlasting process of negotiation. It is based on the teacher knowing the personal goals of a student and committing to them, and the student trusting that the teacher is a guide who has her best interests in mind.

How have you been getting the word out? Even in the online media world, I wholeheartedly believe that communities are best created by meeting with people, listening to their needs and comments, being attentive to their reactions, and adapting your offer. Viral publicity is certainly a tool, but with all the noise present online, it is not enough. That’s why we’ve been guest speakers at many conferences and paid many beers and coffees to talk about E-180 and hear what people have to say about it. Our podcasts, Twitter, and the blog have also served us tremendously. They serve as a permanent presence that people can refer to once the beer is gone. It also allows us to hear what the community has to say on a daily basis. That’s

one of the most fascinating things about the Web: the amount of information people share out of caring for an ideal.

everything I know about entrepreneurship and online media by chatting with people over lunches. E-180 just creates an easy way for people to access and find great mentors and to create a community around the passion for knowledge sharing.

Once the portal is launched, how exactly will it work? We are still developing the portal, and I want to save some surprises for our users! But the big idea behind E-180 is a matchmaking website where people can jumpstart their learning by finding and meeting great mentors. As I mentioned before, we believe education is a relationship, where everyone can contribute to the learning of others.

Tell me about your other venture

Give me a real-life scenario. Martin just got a MacBook after being a PC user for all his life. He wants to learn how to fully utilize the different functions and shortcuts a Mac has to offer. Ghassene is a Mac employee and a Mac aficionado. After finding Ghassene on E-180 and viewing his profile to make sure he has good ratings as a mentor, Martin contacts Ghassene with the tools provided by E-180. Ghassene can then evaluate if Martin is an active member of the community, if he teaches sometimes or just takes from the community without ever giving back. They like each other’s profiles, so they meet for two hours, during which Ghassene shows Martin tips to use his Mac to its fullest potential. While chatting, Ghassene realizes Martin is Mexican and speaks Spanish: he connects him with his girlfriend about to leave for Mexico, who wants to learn some basic Spanish. These meetings already happen informally everywhere: I basically learned


ArtAnywhere is a Web portal connecting visual artists with individuals and businesses interested in renting art. More than an online gallery, ArtAnywhere is social enterprise that aims to create worldwide communities striving to ease accessibility to the arts. We help emerging artists to develop their entrepreneurial skills so they can make a great living out of their art. Second, we provide the tools for the “emerging collectors” to develop their own sense of aesthetics and their ability to navigate the field of the arts.

If you were to create a mentor profile on E-180, what would you teach? People often come to me to ask about the process of starting up a new project, alternative education, social entrepreneurship, social media, and “life coaching.” What they don’t know is that I can actually cook without any recipe and whistle whole songs, harmonies included. — Marin Jorgensen For more information, go to

• Harvard Graduate School of Education • winter 2010


as your typical entrepreneur identifies a market and a product to alleviate the “pain” of its prospective clients, a social entrepreneur prioritizes social return over profit as her measure of success.


in the media Books 140 Characters: A Style Guide for the Short Form Dom Sagolla

John Wiley & Sons, 2009

A guide to writing for the modern age of social networking sites, 140 Characters — the title is inspired by the maximum entry length of Twitter, the online microblog Sagolla helped develop — covers all the basics of short-form writing, including simplicity, honesty, and humor. Whether constructing sentences for colleagues or clientele, Sagolla teaches the art of short-style writing required of today’s social media. Dom Sagolla, Ed.M.’00, is a cocreator of Twitter, the founder of DollarApp, and the cofounder of iPhoneDevCamp. Another Faust

Daniel and Dina Nayeri Candlewick Press, 2009

Another Faust follows the lives of five children who mysteriously disappear only to re-emerge years later at a New York socialite party with a strange female companion. The plot unfolds as a contemporary reimagining of the Faustian bargain, creating a tale about determination, consequences, and salvation. Dina Nayeri, Ed.M.’07, holds an MBA from the Harvard Business School and currently lives in Amsterdam. Billy and Milly, Short and Silly! Eve Feldman

Putnam Juvenile, 2009

In this picture book designed for children ages 3–5, Feldman introduces the world of reading to kids with rhyme and vivid illustration. Follow Billy and Milly through 13 adventures in these funny and simple short stories told in only three or four



words apiece. The author uses easily recognizable words in the tales along with vibrant, playful illustrations to bring young readers right into the action. Eve Feldman, Ed.M.’70, is an author and illustrator of children’s and young adult books. The Body in the Sleigh: A Faith Fairchild Mystery Katherine Hall Page

HarperCollins, 2009

The Body in the Sleigh is the 18th novel to be released in Page’s Agatha Award–wining series. Set on Sanpere Island, Maine, this atmospheric holiday murder mystery follows the heroine, Faith Fairchild, celebrating the Christmas season with her family, but Faith’s high spirits are dampened when she discovers the body of a young woman in an antique sleigh in front of the Sanpere Historical Society. The victim was a teenage drug addict who was beloved by many, and her untimely death rocks the tight-knit island community. Katherine Hall Page, Ed.D.’85, is the award-winning author of the Faith Fairchild mysteries. Connected Wisdom: Living Stories about Living Systems

harvard education Press

The Essential School Board Book: Better Governance in the Age of Accountability Nancy Walser

Harvard Education Press, 2009

Increased attention on the abilities and achievements of students has forced school boards to realign their priorities and responsibilities. In The Essential School Board Book, Walser refers to the “age of accountability” as the influence for the new pressure school boards face to transform and maintain student success through district and school policies. She highlights the stories of 16 different boards throughout the country, representing all socioeconomic districts, and the policies they have employed to improve student achievement. Master’s student Nancy Walser is assistant editor of the Harvard Education Letter and coeditor of Spotlight on Leadership and

School Change.

Families, Schools, and the Adolescent Connecting Research, Policy, and Practice Edited by Ruth Chao and Nancy Hill

Linda Booth Sweeney

Teachers College Press, 2009

SEED, 2009

The authors have created a book designed to help educators and policymakers create effective strategies to enhance the family-school partnership. With particular focus on the transition into middle and high school, the book’s research looks at the challenges parents face in maintaining involvement with their children’s education, along with the school’s challenge of creating and keeping an open line of communication with families. Bringing together diverse perspectives from the field of sociology, psychology, and teacher education, the authors provide an educational tool relevant to a wide range of backgrounds and socioeconomic communities. Nancy Hill is a professor at the Ed School and at Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study.

In this book, Sweeney explores the principles that guide living systems to explain and understand the world around us. She gathered 12 folktales from a variety of cultures, each revealing a unique example of how humans, animals, and insects are connected in life. The book is a combination of art, science, and philosophy that invites readers to think deeply about the Earth and their role in it. Linda Booth Sweeney, Ed.D.’04, is a founding partner in the Sol Education Partnership and is a content expert for SEED — Schlumberger Excellence in Educational Development.

• Harvard Graduate School of Education • winter 2010

ON MY BOOKSHELF: Assistant Professor Martin West Book(s) you have read over and over:

Reading rituals: For reasons I don’t fully un-

The Rise of America’s University by Morton and Phyllis Keller.

Thanks to my son, both Curious George and The Lorax are now in heavy rotation. A book I’ve returned to on my own many times is Kierkegaard’s Fear and Trembling.

derstand, I like to keep my books as pristine as possible. I don’t like dog-earing pages and would never underline or write in the margins, as useful as it might be to do so.

Favorite spot to curl up with a good book:

Next up: Gerald Grant’s Hope and Despair

Outside with a mountain view — though that’s not always practical. In our new home, we have a small den with a large beanbag that looks like it will do nicely. And while you can’t exactly curl up, I always manage to get a lot of reading done on airplanes.

in the American City: Why There Are No Bad Schools in Raleigh. I’m skeptical of the subtitle’s claim, but I’ve learned a lot from Grant’s earlier books and am confident that the same will be true of this one.

The thing that drew you to it: Mainly the chance to learn about the history of my new employer and HGSE’s place within it. It’s always useful to know where any bodies are buried so that you can avoid the same fate.

Last great read: Jonathan Lehrer’s Proust and the Neuroscientist, which shows how great artists often anticipated key findings of modern brain research.

tanit sakakini

Currently reading: Making Harvard Modern:


• Harvard Graduate School of Education • winter 2010


in the media From Schoolhouse to Courthouse: The Judiciary’s Role in American Education Edited by Joshua Dunn and Martin West Brookings Institution Press, 2009

From Schoolhouse to Courthouse is a collection of articles and papers from experts in the fields of law, political science, and education policy that debate the issues of secondary education in America. Some claim education litigation and the courts’ influence are necessary to ensure student rights, while others say the threat of court action undermines the authority of teachers and administrators. Martin West is assistant professor of education at the Ed School and executive editor of Education Next.

the Boston Public School district where the administration has the freedom to create their own curriculum and to select their student body through an audition process. The unique and innovative structure of the school sets the scene for the author’s personal narrative about dealing with the organizational and educational challenges in an ethnically and socioeconomically diverse urban district. Nathan gives readers an honest look into the successes and failures schools, teachers, and students endure while trying to create a shared vision of purpose and achievement. Dealing with topics like school structure, teacher support, and racial inequality, the book serves to show a “back to basics” approach to education as an answer to a failing public school system. Linda Nathan, Ed.D.’95, is the founder and principal of the Boston Arts Academy. Hello Professor: A Black Principal and Professional Leadership in the Segregated South

Handbook of Formative Assessment

Edited by Heidi Andrade and Gregory Cizek Routledge, 2009

Andrade and Cizek have created a handbook that thoroughly profiles the field of formative assessment as it relates to improving student achievement. Written by leading international scholars and practitioners, each chapter includes a discussion of key issues that dominate formative assessment policy and practice today as well as those in the coming years. Heidi Andrade, Ed.M.’89, Ed.D.’96, is assistant professor at the University of Albany, State University of New York. The Hardest Questions Aren’t on the Test: Lessons from an Innovative Urban School Linda Nathan

Beacon Press, 2009

Nathan founded the Boston Arts Academy in 1998, a pilot school operated through



Vanessa Siddle Walker

Gerald Grant

Harvard University Press, 2009

Hope and Despair is a study of urban education policy, race, and segregation through field research and historical narrative. Grant compares two cities — Syracuse, N.Y., and Raleigh, N.C. — in order to examine the consequences of the country’s educational inequalities. He argues that the primary reason for Raleigh’s educational success is the integration, by social class, that occurred when the city voluntarily merged with the surrounding suburbs in 1976. In comparison, Syracuse’s decline, he writes, is because of the growing class and racial segregation that has left the city mired in poverty. Gerald Grant, Ed.D.’72, is a professor of education and sociology, emeritus, at Syracuse University. I Spy A to Z

Jean Marzollo

The University of

Cartwheel Books, 2009

North Carolina Press,

Easy-to-read riddles paired with 46 object-filled photographs create an engaging alphabet book for children from kindergarten to second grade. Readers use the simple picture clues to recognize the letter and letter sound featured on each page. The book won an Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Best Book Award and is the 35th book Marzollo has released in the I Spy series. Jean Marzollo, M.A.T.’65, has written more than 130 books and resides in upstate New York.


Ulysses Byas, a black school principal in Gainesville, Ga., during the 1950s and 1960s, serves as the inspiration for Hello Professor. Through conversations with Byas, and access to his vast collection of notes and records documenting his years of service as a principal, Walker uncovers the influence and power black school leaders had in the Jim Crow South. By creating a community of regional and national associations, black educators became the instrument of ideas and knowledge to encourage resistance to the sanctioned regressive educational systems of the 20th-century Southern states. Vanessa Siddle Walker, Ed.M.’85, Ed.D.’88, is a professor in the division of educational studies at Emory University.

• Harvard Graduate School of Education • winter 2010

Hope and Despair in the American City: Why There Are No Bad Schools in Raleigh

Leading Adult Learning: Supporting Adult Development in Our Schools Eleanor Drago-Severson Corwin Press, 2009

Leading Adult Learning introduces a developmental model of adult learning to

help school and district leaders enhance individual capacity in the educational workplace. Through a focus on research and application, the author details her four pillar practices for adult growth: teaming, providing leadership roles, collegial inquiry, and mentoring. The book shows school leaders how to foster growth and learning for individuals with different needs and developmental orientations. Eleanor Drago-Severson, Ed.M.’89, Ed.D.’96, is an associate professor of education leadership at Columbia University’s Teachers College. Leading with Inquiry & Action: How Principals Improve Teaching and Learning Ellen Goldring, Matthew Militello, and Sharon Rallis Corwin Press, 2009

Thoroughly grounded in research and case studies, this book is a practical guide that provides an efficient and functional framework for transforming current or aspiring principals into inquiry-minded, actionoriented instructional leaders. The authors present a systematic, ongoing process for collecting information, making decisions, and taking action to improve instruction and raise student achievement. Sharon Rallis, Ed.D.’82, is a professor of education policy and reform at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst where she is also director of the Center for Education Policy. The Peril and Promise of Performance Pay Donald Gratz

Rowman & Littlefield Education, 2009

This book is a resource for school teachers, administrators, board members,

policymakers, and citizens who would like to understand what is behind performance pay, what might work and what will not, and how to build a school improvement effort that includes teacher compensation as one of its strategies. Gratz argues that in order for performance pay to work, there must be a fundamental change in how school reform is approached — by stepping away from failed models of the past, and focusing on the conditions that largely influence educational results. Donald Gratz, Ed.M.’76, is professor, department chair, and graduate director in education at Curry College. harvard education Press

Strategy in Action: How School Systems Can Support Powerful Learning and Teaching

BLOGS AND MORE Bina Shah Bina Shah

This is the personal and professional website of Bina Shah. Here you can follow her literary career, from the five books she has published to her journalistic work with newspapers like the Dawn, The Friday Times, Libas, and the Pakistani website, Chowk. Bina Shah, Ed.M.’94, is a writer and columnist living in Karachi, Pakistan. Rigney’s Rant rigneys-rant John Rigney

Elizabeth City and Rachel Curtis

Harvard Education Press, 2009

Strategy in Action explores how school systems can effectively implement a focused, functional plan to transform teaching and learning across entire school districts. The authors introduce three core competencies of highperforming school systems: understanding what the work is, knowing how to do the work, and building the individual and organizational “habits of mind” that foster continuous improvement. By unifying theory and practice, City and Curtis illustrate key concepts in each chapter that call to action the tools and resources needed to stimulate educational development. Elizabeth City, Ed.M.’04, Ed.D.’07, is executive director of the Ed School’s new Doctor of Education Leadership Program and lecturer on education. Rachel Curtis, Ed.M.’94, has worked with a variety of school systems on issues of district improvement strategy and leadership development.


Rigney is currently assistant head of school, English department chair, and codirector of the senior curriculum at the Hyde-Woodstock boarding school in Woodstock, Conn. Rigney’s Rant is his blog about daily life in the school between students, faculty, parents, and the surrounding community. John Rigney, Ed.M.’05, lives on the Woodstock campus with his wife and two children.

Ed. magazine provides notice, on a spaceavailable basis, of recently published books, blogs, podcasts, and websites by HGSE faculty, alumni, and students. Send your name, degree, and year of graduation, along with the title of the book, the publisher, and date of publication, or a URL link to your blog, podcast, or website. Ed. magazine, In the Media Harvard Graduate School of Education Office of Communications 44R Brattle Street Cambridge, MA 02138 E-mail: Fax: 617-495-7629

• Harvard Graduate School of Education • winter 2010


investing in education Making the Connection When Erika Smith, Ed.M.’07, arrived at the Harvard Graduate School of Education campus in the fall of 2005, she wondered how to stay connected to the school. As a part-time student who was also working full time, Smith wanted to make sure that she didn’t miss out on the graduate school experience. Then, Smith attended an event sponsored by the Student-Alumni Mentoring Initiative (SAMI) — a formal mentoring program offered by the Ed School’s Alumni Relations Office that aims to connect alums and graduate students. The event, she says, changed her graduate school experience from being focused solely on academics to a more well-balanced one. Every year hundreds of students come to the Ed School with concerns about making the most of limited time and staying connected, on top of juggling assignments, work, and social lives. The goal of SAMI is to create mutually beneficial mentoring relationships between students and alums by fostering formal and informal meetings during the academic year. “SAMI highlights the importance for graduate students of building relationships with one another and to the school, networking, and lifelong learning,” says Kristen DeAmicis, Ed.M.’05, former assistant director of alumni relations. “However, this is also another way for alums to give back and demonstrate a commitment to HGSE.” Now in its sixth year, SAMI began when two master’s students, Eric Stone, Ed.M.’03, and Amy Fenellosa, Ed.M.’03, came up with the idea to start a mentoring program on campus. Fenellosa and Stone connected early during their year

jeff Hopkins, ed.m.’05

By Jill Anderson

on campus thanks to their shared interest in organizational psychology. “We both had mentors in our lives that were significant influences personally and professionally,” Stone says. “We decided to propose a more formal program.” The proposal, which grew out of a student club called Counsel on Mentors and Leaders, paired alumni and students with varying interests. Although Fenellosa and Stone had already graduated when SAMI launched in the fall of 2004, both worked closely with Alumni Relations to help structure the program, as well as to arrange for student and alumni matches, applications, and mentor training. The program attracted 24

The SAMI program has been a great way to connect with practitioners in various areas of higher ed. My mentor, in particular, provides incredible insight into how things that we learn in class are used in the real world. We have great discussions about policy, practices, and change that have really broadened my perspective and enriched my experience here at HGSE.” — Theresa Kaiser, master’s candidate in higher education



• Harvard Graduate School of Education • winter 2010

participants in the first year. “It was more successful in the first year than we could have anticipated,” says Stone, who now works in healthcare but continues to research mentoring. Lecturer Eileen McGowan, Ed.M.’98, Ed.D.’04, director of the Field Experience Program at the school, supported Stone and Fenellosa in creating SAMI. “They were really ahead of the time,” McGowan says. “SAMI [has] developed into a strong, in-house program.” The number of alums volunteering as mentors grows every year. For the 2009–2010 school year, 90 alums are donating their time. “The fact that it’s still going on and has [so many] participants is a clear reflection that a need exists. It’s very gratifying to see something that started out as an idea come to fruition,” Stone says. “I get an opportunity every year to talk to alums and students in the program and hear [about] the benefit gain.” SAMI kicks off as soon as students are on campus each fall. Mentor profiles are shared online, where students have an opportunity to view them and identify up to three mentors who most interest them. In October, mentors and mentees are invited to meet at an event. Directly following the event, students give their mentor preferences. Finding an appropriate match is one of the most important aspects of mentoring, explains McGowan, an expert on mentoring. “Mentoring is a relationship,” she says, noting that mentoring serves not only as a career function, but also a psychological social function. Within a month after matches are made, mentors and mentees are “trained” by McGowan on making the most of the relationships. “Good mentoring is reciprocal. While the intention is toward the protégé, both people should benefit,” she says. In most cases, people volunteer as mentors when they have experienced a prominent mentor in their own lives or careers, McGowan notes. “Mentors are guides along the developmental journey. They share expertise from their lifetime journey and point out the pitfalls, share mistakes, and ways to overcome. They provide networking opportunities and encourage students to have a greater visibility in the field,” she explains. “This is an opportunity to make a connection that without SAMI would be difficult to do, with someone who walked this road before and is able to share expertise.” Mentors come from a range of experiences and backgrounds. For instance, Joe Cronin, M.A.T.’57, has had a lengthy career and an array of experiences in education, ranging from superintendent and dean to professor and consultant. He got involved a few years ago with SAMI to share some of that experience. “Depending on whom the mentees are and what they are interested in, I can draw on five decades of experiences and share some of those experiences with them, answer questions, and talk about career-building strategies,” he says. “To me, it’s

As an incoming doctoral student, the SAMI program has been an amazing part of my experience at HGSE. My mentor, Joe Cronin, M.A.T.’57, has more than five decades of experience in education as a teacher, principal, state superintendent, cabinet secretary, and college president. Over dinners we’ve discussed careers, classes, research, and the impacts of the last 50 years of federal education policy. It’s been so helpful to have a mentor who has seen it all and can give me the long-term perspective on a career in education.” — Geoff Marietta, doctoral candidate in education policy, leadership, and instructional practice more about what they are going to get out of it. I will gain the satisfaction of being an individual coach, adviser, and tutor.” Once a match is made, SAMI recommends a range of activities to ensure that the relationship blossoms. However, the activities of SAMI mentors and mentees vary depending on what both people want from the experience. For Smith, it was as simple as meeting up for the occasional cup of coffee and conversation or participating in her mentor’s hobby. Smith laughs thinking back to the time she made candles with her mentor, Ande Diaz, Ed.M.’94. Unfortunately, Smith just didn’t possess Diaz’s artistic touch. Still, Diaz became a source of inspiration for Smith. “I was super inspired by her commitment to fitting everything into her life,” she says. Though Diaz is not acting as a mentor this year, she encouraged Smith to become a SAMI mentor herself. While Smith is currently studying for her Ph.D. at Brandeis University and working fulltime at the school on a college access program, she is giving back to students at the Ed School. “It’s a great way for students to get perspective outside of the academic experience,” she says. “It helps to remember that there is a world out there.” Ed.

• Harvard Graduate School of Education • winter 2010


alumni news and notes 1980

PHOTO FINISH They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Now it’s also worth an alumni note. We are now including alumnifocused photos in the alumni section of Ed. magazine. (Either the alum is in the photo or the photo is connected to the graduate — a photo of a new baby, for example.) Send your high-resolution digital photos to classnotes@ Photos that are not in focus, dark, or at a low resolution may not be usable. Please identify the people in the photo and include a few lines of context. Due to space constraints, we may not be able to print all photos but we will do our best!


Mary Ellen McGoldrick McGowan, Ed.M., passed away on July 24, 2009.


John Eliot, M.A.T., is pleased to report that the American Psychological Association has made research materials he donated in 1999 to the Archive of the History of American Psychology in Ohio available online (http:// OX/19835). These materials include a large collection of figural spatial tests, a monograph titled The Nature and Measurement of Spatial Intelligence, and a spatial research database that is a reference tool that provides bibliographic information about spatial intelligence.


David Dashev, M.A.T., is the chief executive officer of Meditox in West Palm Beach, Fla. “Owning [the] facility is proving to be the most rewarding activity of my life.”


Francis “Tuck” Amory, M.A.T., was cited on NPR’s Talk of the Nation in May 2009 for his innovative and effective therapy approaches with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder clients.




Gerald Hayes, Ed.M., has been appointed vice president of administration and finance at Westfield [Mass.] State College. He held a number of municipal and nonprofit leadership positions in various Massachusetts communities including Holyoke, Lowell, and Springfield.


Keith Shahan, M.A.T.’67, Ed.D., retired as head of school at John Burroughs School in St. Louis after 23 years of service. He is currently the president of the Independent Schools Association of the Central States. Richard Lodish, Ed.D., is principal of Sidwell Friends Lower School in Washington D.C. He recently returned from a book tour through China for A Child in the Principal’s Office: Laughing and Learning in the Schoolhouse.


Larry Stybel, Ed.D., is celebrating his daughter’s graduation from Stanford University Graduate School of Business and her new position with EMI Music in New York City. He works for Stybel Peabody Associates, Inc., coauthors a blog on career management/ leadership for Harvard Business

• Harvard Graduate School of Education • winter 2010


Review, and recently published two articles in The Effective Executive. He shares a home with his wife, Maryanne, in Wayland, Mass.

Fred Schecker, Ed.M., joined the Pew Center on the States in Washington, D.C., as project manager for the website. The center works to advance public policy at the state level in a multitude of areas, including early childhood education and children’s dental health.


Mary Robinson, Ed.M., has been named president and chief executive officer of the National Council For Adoption.

Changes in Alumni Relations In the Alumni Relations Office, it’s a time for beginnings and endings. In December, after more than seven years working at the Ed School, including three as director of the alumni office, Bev Witten said goodbye to Harvard and moved back with her family to South Africa, where she was born and raised. Witten “I am back in South Africa and hope to make a significant contribution to my country using the expertise and skills I acquired during my time working in the States,” she says, “and from the master’s degree I was able to earn at Harvard while I was here.” Before joining the alumni office, where she also worked for a year as the assistant director, Witten worked in the school’s Office of Student Affairs, at the Harvard Family Research Project, and with the Askwith Forums. Although she is happy to be back in her country (especially with the warm weather!), she says she will deeply miss Harvard. “My time here has been wonderful,” she says. “I am proud of what we’ve accomplished during the past few years, in particular reframing the alumni council, building the SAMI Program, and improving student engagement opportunities. We’ve also really increased engagement with alumni over the past three years — that is something I am especially proud of.” After Witten’s departure, the alumni relations and annual giving teams were merged and are now overseen by Denise Tioseco, Ed.M.‘02. A graduate of the Administration, Planning, and Social Policy Program, Tioseco returned to the school in December 2008 as the HGSE fund director. She has worked in higher education for more than 10 years in various capacities including outreach, admissions, student affairs, and development, most recently at the MIT Sloan School of Management, overseeing class and reunion giving.


Laura Lees, Ed.M.’01, is wondering what to say next.


Joan Gallos, Ed.M.’76, Ed.D., was awarded the 2009 Distinguished Service Award from the Organizational Behavior Teaching Society (OBTS) in June. She was also named as an OBTS Fellow: Sage of the Society, for her contributions to excellence in management education and to the scholarship of teaching and learning. She is a professor of leadership in the department of public affairs and director of the executive MBA program at the Henry W. Block School of Business and Public Administration at the University of Missouri– Kansas City.


Denise Vega, Ed.M., won the Colorado Book Award and the Colorado Authors’ League Top Hand Award for her young adult novel, Fact of Life #31, which tells the story of Kat Flynn, a 16-year-old girl who works with her mother, a home-birth midwife. Vega’s first novel, Click Here (to Find Out How I Survived Seventh Grade), won the Colorado Book Award for Young Adult Literature in 2005. She has published three additional books for children and young adults. Brenda Brown, Ed.D., was recently elected to the board of directors of the Harvard Club of Sarasota, Fla. Along

stitute teaching in the public schools. “I loved being in the classroom,” she says. “This is where I discovered my passion for teaching and decided to learn more about education and teaching, not only English literature. So I applied to HGSE.” Shortly after finishing her master’s, Lees was offered a position at Maui Community College. Lees truly enjoys the challenges that come with teaching the diverse, community college student body. “It’s one of the parts of teaching I love the most,” she says. “Working with students from all backgrounds, ages, cultures, academic motivations, and experiences means I have to find multiple modes of teaching and make time for individual learning.” And she’s thrilled that she gets to do it in her adopted home of Hawaii, not just because of her fulfillment at work. “I stayed [in Hawaii] because of the people, the ocean, and the life I found here,” she says. “I must admit I also love surfing.” courtesy of laura lees

Luckily for her students at Maui Community College, Laura Lees’ wordlessness does not extend to the classroom. In fact, Lees, Ed.M.’01, considers one of the best parts of her position as an instructor in writing and English literature to be when “students shed their fears about writing and find their voices,” she says. Lees’ commitment to her students and her profession was rewarded recently when she was honored with the University of Hawaii’s Regents’ Medal for Excellence in Teaching, an award for which she was nominated by her colleagues and students. Although she is the daughter of educators, Lees’ path to teaching was not a straight one. After her first year at Amherst College in Massachusetts, she found herself struggling with what a college education really means. “I knew one needed to go to college, but I wasn’t sure why I needed to go to college,” she remembers. “I tried multiple majors — toyed with art history and thought about political science, all because I thought I should.” Lees ended up taking a semester off and headed to Hawaii with her then-boyfriend, now-fiancé. “That’s when I realized why I needed to go back to college,” she says. “College is different for everyone — some have a specific career in mind, others need to explore the act of learning to discover their future. I was excited to learn when I read novels, analyzed poetry, and wrote. Once I dove into the joy of learning, I really appreciated the luxury of higher education.” After graduation, Lees returned to Hawaii where she discovered that her favorite among the many jobs she tried was sub-

— Marin Jorgensen

with helping to plan social and cultural events sponsored by the club, her primary focus will be presenting Harvard book prizes to outstanding high school students in the Sarasota and Manatee county school systems.


Mark LaCelle-Peterson, Ed.M.’88, Ed.D., was recently appointed vice president of the Teacher Education Accreditation Council (TEAC), where he has served as an academic auditor since 2005. He is currently a member of the joint TEAC/ NCATE Design Team focused on the future of accreditation of educator preparation programs.



Anne-Marie Yu-Phelps, Ed.M., together with her husband and two children, is living and working in Joao Pessoa, a small city in Brazil, as a missionary for Maryknoll Lay Missioner. She works at a nongovernmental organization called Afya, a holistic health and education center primarily serving poor and underprivileged women.


Cara Livermore, Ed.M., received the Educator of the Year award in June 2009 from Boston Public Schools. She is a Spanish teacher at the Boston Arts Academy.

• Harvard Graduate School of Education • winter 2010


alumni news and notes PROFILE

LeAnna Marr, Ed.M.’03, LeAnna Marr, Ed.M.’03, knew where she was headed long before she got there. “In my statement of purpose for my HGSE application,” she remembers, “I noted that I applied to HGSE because of the International Education Program’s focus on policy and reform, and that I hoped to pursue a career with an organization such as the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).” And, that’s exactly what she did. In fact, before she even graduated, she had applied to USAID’s foreign service and was offered a position as an education officer. Today she focuses on national policy and educational reform in countries where the U.S. government provides foreign assistance. In particular, she works closely with foreign service nationals — the local staff hired to provide in-depth knowledge of their countries, cultures, and education systems. “In many ways, my job is to figure out how to wed U.S. foreign policy priorities with educational needs in a country,” she explains. “I can’t think of a more rewarding job than helping children worldwide gain access to quality education.” Marr has worked for USAID in Sudan, Egypt, Morocco, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan, but the country that affected her most was Guinea in West Africa, where, coincidentally, she had lived years before while associate director in the Peace Corps. “It’s an extremely challenging country to live in, and one of the poorest places I have been,” she says. “But in general, Guineans love Americans and love working with the Peace Corps and USAID.” While in Guinea, Marr led the design and implementation of a project to combat corruption and poor governance in the health, education, and agriculture sectors, problems that USAID theorized were constraining development in the country.


Colby Berger, Ed.M., was appointed in July 2009 as executive director of Adoption & Foster Care Mentoring, the only mentoring organization in the Boston area that exclusively serves young people in the foster care system.

Costa Rica ( The center combines classroom sessions with field visits and hosts seminars on topics like corporate social responsibility and entrepreneurship in the social sector. Mukherjee and family


Mohit Mukherjee, Ed.M., founded the Centre for Executive Education for the United Nations University for Peace in



• Harvard Graduate School of Education • winter 2010

jill anderson

is perpetually jet lagged.

“It was a very challenging program to get off the ground,” Marr says. “In part because corruption can be such a politically sensitive topic, but also because it was very different from typical USAID programming. I feel that simply launching this program and opening a national dialogue on corruption in Guinea — something Guineans would rarely discuss in public prior to this activity — was a huge step in the right direction.” Currently, Marr is on a two-year rotation in Washington, D.C., as the education team leader for Asia and the Middle East, for which she provides technical assistance for the educational programs in 23 countries including two of USAID’s largest, Pakistan and Afghanistan. Working in Washington gives Marr the opportunity to examine USAID’s work from a regional perspective, rather than country-specific, as well as engage government agencies, committees, and education panels — even Congress. Still, she’s eager for her next placement. “While I’m learning a lot here in Washington,” she says, “I’m very much looking forward to getting back overseas.” — Marin Jorgensen


Luis Alejo, Ed.M., was honored with a 2009 Award of Merit from the Legal Aid Association of California and the California Commission on Access to Justice. He works as a staff attorney for the Monterey County Superior Court and was recognized for his exemplary work in improving access to justice. Since 2007, he has provided free legal assistance to thousands of people who cannot afford legal representation in Monterey County.


Al Witten, Ed.M.’02, Ed.M., was the commencement speaker for the Boston Teacher Residency Program on July 23, 2009, at Faneuil Hall in Boston.


Emily Nichols Grossi, Ed.M., and her husband, Tom, welcomed their second son, Oliver Nichols, on March 17, 2009. He joins big brother, Jack, who turned three on July 4.


Alison Harris, Ed.M., was accepted into the New Leaders for New Schools program in Charlotte, N.C. She will be a member of the first cohort and will serve as a resident principal at Bishop Spaugh Community Academy. Beyond a principal training program, New Leaders for New

Schools is a national movement of leaders with a commitment to ensure that every student achieves academic excellence.

courtesy of ethan gray

Dina Nayeri, Ed.M., in collaboration with her brother, Daniel

Ethan Gray, Ed.M.’07,

is a new Hoosier with big plans. Ethan Gray’s path toward policy work and supporting education entrepreneurs, begun as an undergraduate at Harvard College, took a slight detour after graduation. Feeling burnt out, Gray, Ed.M.’07, and his best friend from high school moved to central Vermont and started a small lumberjack business. But, Gray admits, “I wasn’t destined to be a lifelong lumberjack.” In fact, a slight chainsaw mishap convinced him to move on to Washington, D.C., where he landed a paid internship as the first research assistant for the fledgling think tank Education Sector. There, he was taken under the wing of Ed Sector’s cofounder Andy Rotherham and thrown into the group’s first major research projects. There his interest in education policy blossomed and pointed him toward the Ed School.


Susan Enfield, Ed.M.’02, Ed.D., became the chief academic officer for Seattle Public Schools on July 1, 2009. Prior to joining the Seattle schools, she was the deputy superintendent in Evergreen Public Schools in Vancouver, Wash. The Nayeris


Nayeri, released her first book, Another Faust, in August 2009.

Catherine Bradbury, Ed.M., is the dean of middle school at St. Mark’s Episcopal School in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

The school, Gray says, “helped me understand the most important issues in education and how I might build a career that was both meaningful and unique.” Specifically, he developed a strong conviction that schools and school systems ought to be structured in a way to facilitate continuous improvement, foster innovation, and empower talented people to be entrepreneurial in order to continually improve practice. At his first post–Ed School position with Be the Change, Inc., a nonprofit that works with education entrepreneurs, Gray managed the policy work during the organization’s first campaign, ServiceNation. But his interest in education reform led him soon after to The Mind Trust, an organization, as Gray says, “dedicated to dramatically improving public education for underserved students by empowering education entrepreneurs to develop or expand transformative education initiatives.” As vice president, Gray not only advises The Mind Trust’s president and CEO on issues of strategy and operations and advances the policy work, he also leads the effort to help this Indianapolis-based and-focused organization build a national network of city-based organizations that will work together to support education entrepreneurs as they scale to new markets across the country. The goal, Gray explains, is to reach out to the organizations in other cities with underutilized resources in the entrepreneurial sector, share best practices, and ultimately support cities in their efforts to become “vibrant hubs of innovation and entrepreneurship.” Moving forward, Gray hopes to use his work to further his vision of a school system structured for advancement. “By investing in talented people and giving them the opportunity to innovate,” he says, “I believe that we are getting closer to building school systems that can pursue continuous improvement.” — Amber Haskins


• Harvard Graduate School of Education • winter 2010


alumni news and notes In October, Theodore Sizer, M.A.T.’57, passed away at his Harvard, Mass., home at the age of 77. Often referred to as the “boy dean” after taking over the top spot at the Ed School in 1964 at the age of 31, Sizer was widely considered one of the nation’s leading education reform advocates. Immediately following his death, there was a flood of obituaries and tributes about his life and legacy, including a personal piece written by his friend John Merrow, Ed.D.’73, on his blog, Learning Matters, which we have reprinted, with permission. The news that Ted Sizer has died did not come as a shock. His friends knew that he had been battling colon cancer for some time and exchanged messages regularly, always asking hopefully, “How’s he doing?” While his friends, admirers, and supporters are many, Ted Sizer’s influence reaches far beyond that group. Make no mistake, Ted Sizer was one of the giants of American education, a force for good for more than 50 years. He is well known as the founder of the Coalition of Essential Schools, which in 1984 launched a wave of change based on the idea of engaging students in useful and challenging work. He knew that seat time was a completely inadequate measure of learning, and he was highly skeptical of the value of multiple choice tests and conventional grading. His seminal book, Horace’s Compromise, will be read for years to come, as it should be. Two personal memories that capture Ted’s spirit and approach to life. Ten percent of Walter Annenberg’s $500 million gift to American education went to support the Coalition of Essential Schools’ effort to transform high schools. That’s a great story for a journalist, and so I called him up and proposed that we follow, on television, the efforts of one school to adopt Ted’s nine principles. As my opening gambit for what I assumed would be serious negotiations, I told him that we would need full access, no strings. “Fine,” he said. “What sort of school are you looking for?” We ended up filming in Woodward High School in Cincinnati, Ohio, for three years, and Ted had no problem with our reporting on what was clearly a “two steps forward, two steps back” process. Openness was just one of his virtues. He was also a true gentleman, full of humor and charm. While he must have been tough (he ran schools, after all!), he was also gentle and optimistic, a gracious host. When we were producing School Sleuth in 2000, I called him at his home in Harvard, Mass., to see if we could meet him at his office for an interview. “Why don’t you come to our home instead?” was his response. If I remember correctly, he and [his wife] Nancy also offered us



• Harvard Graduate School of Education • winter 2010

Deane Keller Painting

A Friend’s Goodbye to Sizer

beds for the night. Ted, Debbie Meier, Don Hirsch, and a few other thoughtful people brought that program to life. Ted never sought the spotlight or worried about who got credit, which may explain why he accomplished so much. In 2006, I was asked to speak at the Harvard Graduate School of Education commencement, and before I flew east from California I wrote Ted and Nancy asking if we could meet for breakfast that day. We met at a small restaurant and exchanged news. Ted looked strong and waved away questions about the pump he had to wear as part of the chemotherapy. When he left the table briefly, Nancy told me how excited he was to be back because this commencement marked his 50-year anniversary with the school. I wanted to know how Harvard was honoring him. Nobody knows, she said, because Ted doesn’t want any fuss. Not on my watch are we going to fail to honor this great man, I thought to myself. After we parted, I made a beeline for Dean Kathy McCartney’s office and told her. Her powerful tribute to Ted, who was seated on stage with the rest of the faculty, produced a standing ovation that went on for many minutes. There weren’t many dry eyes in the house, certainly not mine. The greatest tribute we can pay to Ted Sizer is to keep alive his vision — that students must be respected, and that the highest form of respect teachers can show their students is to challenge them with work that stretches their minds. Rest in peace, my friend. — John Merrow, Ed.D.’73, is a journalist who began his career as an education reporter for NPR a year after graduating from the Ed School. He is the founder and host of Learning Matters, which produces The Merrow Report, a series of documentaries for PBS, NPR, and Frontline. This tribute to Ted Sizer originally appeared on the Learning Matters website at blog/op-ed/a-tribute-to-ted-sizer/3200/. Go to www. dean-theodore-r-sizer-1932-2009.html to read more tributes.

In Memory Elsa Parshley Brown, GSE’28

Theodore Sizer, M.A.T.’57

Donald Folk, Ed.M.’65

Amelia Tataronis Rieman, GSE’34

Samuel Francis Gilman, GSE’58

Virginia Anne Lowell, Ed.M.’65

Don Donaldson, GSE’37

Charles Goodwin III, Ed.M.’58

Nathan Gross, M.A.T.’53, Ed.D.’66

Mary Ann O’Brien, GSE’39

Dorothy Joan McQueen, Ed.M.’58

Sandra Price, M.A.T.’67

Marcia Wilson Lebow, GSE’40

Freda Gould Rebelsky, GSE’59

Anita Teeter, Ed.M.’67

George Quint, M.A.T.’41

Hubert Reynhout Jr., Ed.D.’59

Howard Dowdell, Ed.M.’57, Ed.D.’69

Marie Edna Beaupre, M.A.T.’46

Sandra Roseman-Weiner, Ed.M.’59

Ralph Gabor Lewis, Ed.D.’71

George Toney, GSE’46

Lawrence Griffin, Ed.M.’60

Richard Fogg, Ed.D.’72

Charles Henderson, Ed.M.’47

Frank Viggiani, GSE’60

Katharine Sangree, Ed.M.’74

M. Albert Linton Jr., M.A.T.’47

Elizabeth Zaleznik, Ed.M.’60

Edwin Campbell, Ed.M.’75

Anne Powers, GSE’47

Richard Clark Jr., Ed.M.’61

Chester Hedgepeth Jr., Ed.M.’77

Homer Scott, M.A.T.’48

Wilfrid Hamlin, GSE’61

Stanley Selib, Ed.M.’78

Elbert Floran Nothern, Ed.M.’49

Guido Perera Jr., M.A.T.’61

Chinaka Esiaba, Ed.M.’79

Vincent Gannon, M.A.T.’50

Charles Robinson, GSE’61

John Ziergiebel, Ed.M.’80

Robert Arthur, M.A.T.’52

Frank White, M.A.T.’61

Stuart Shepherd, C.A.S.’82

Charles Bybee, GSE’52

Martha Whitney Langford, M.A.T.’62

Michael Clarke, GSE’83

Frank Graves Dickey, GSE’53

Joseph Hozid, Ed.D.’63

Laura Riegelhaupt, Ed.M.’85

Robert Peebles, M.A.T.’53

Kazuie Sanuki, Ed.M.’63

Cynthia Hsin-feng Wu, Ed.D.’93

Ernest Alfred Singer, Ed.M.’54

William Tapply, M.A.T.’63

Mary Ellen McGowan, Ed.M.’56

Barbara Tabak Berger, M.A.T.’65



E-MAIL: NOTES FOR PUBLICATION IN ED. OR ON THE ALUMNI WEBSITE: Ed. and the Alumni Relations Office welcome news from HGSE alumni about employment, activities, or publications. Classnotes will appear either in Ed. or on the alumni website. Please e-mail your classnote to classnotes@ or submit online at classnotes/submit_note. Classnotes can also be mailed to: Ed. magazine, Classnotes Harvard Graduate School of Education Office of Communications 44R Brattle Street Cambridge, MA 02138

r I do not want MY classnote on the web. r I want MY classnote only on the web.


r this is a new address.

• Harvard Graduate School of Education • winter 2010


jill anderson


Urban Farmer by Lory Hough Professor Tom Hehir has a great garden. Peppers, tomatoes, spinach, cucumber, lettuce, eggplant, watermelon — you name it, he probably grows it. But if you want to see it, don’t look out back. Look up. Five flights up. Hehir’s garden is on the roof of his brownstone in Boston’s South End, with views of the Prudential Center and Copley Place. And it’s not the first urban garden that he’s created. He had one in Washington, D.C., and another in Chicago, the latter enveloping the balcony of his apartment on the 44th floor. Asked why he does it, he says, “Mostly because I’m a foodie. I love to eat and there’s nothing better than fresh vegetables.” In one season, he’s able to grow more than half of the fresh vegetables that he needs for a year. Since he started working the soil at his South End home, which he bought in 1980 when he was working for Boston Public Schools and the area was still affordable on a teacher’s salary, he has also found that rooftop gardening has other benefits. The winter freeze tends to come later in the city and containers thaw faster than the ground does in the spring. City living also means fewer bugs and pests so he has never had to use an insecticide. “It’s also very green. It keeps the house cooler and the vegetables don’t need to be transported,” he says. “People are waking up to the potential of roof gardens and the need to support local agriculture. I walk around the South End and



• Harvard Graduate School of Education • winter 2010

wonder what the impact would be if every roof was used for growing food.” There are challenges, too. It’s a lot hotter on the roof. Although that allows him to grow crops like watermelon, which often eludes New England ground gardeners, it also means containers dry quickly and he needs to rely on the irrigation drip system he installed a few years ago. Growing up, Hehir says his family always had a garden, but his interest in harvesting his own really grew out of an experience he had one summer when he was teaching at a technical high school in Framingham, Mass. “I was asked to oversee a big vegetable garden for a community of retired Jesuits in Weston [Mass.],” he says. “The priest was a friend of my uncle who was also a Jesuit. He knew that I had been a greenskeeper at a golf course in the summers during college and knew that I knew about things like soil culture.” The priest also knew that Hehir had a background in special education, which helped him effectively communicate with the grounds crew, many of whom had mental challenges. “Ever since then, I’ve had gardens,” he says. Asked if he ever longs for more space, he says he has all the space he needs (except to grow corn, which requires too much soil). “I plant what I need to eat and I preserve what’s preservable,” he says. “It’s all I need.”

Mama Knew Best

spending their third and final year in a residency with a partnering education-related organization. The doctoral degree, which will start with an initial cohort of 25 in August 2010, is designed to give students a deeper understanding of not only teaching and learning, but also the management and leadership skills needed to successfully run a school district or have a senior role at an education nonprofit, government agency, or even in the private sector. As Dean Kathleen McCartney says, “These individuals will be successful by altering education policy debates, forging powerful public-private partnerships, and restoring confidence in schools.” Or as Buttenwieser says, summing up what he thinks the degree is for: “It’s training the next Arne Duncan,” referring to the U.S. secretary of education, who Buttenwieser says created many successful reforms in Chicago, where he served as CEO of the public school system before joining the Obama administration. Buttenwieser is no stranger to philanthropy. He grew up in an activist household in New York. His mother, one of the city’s first female lawyers, once worked in a settlement house and chaired the Legal Aid Society and the New York City Committee on Adoptions. She took in foster children and was a tireless defender of Alger Hiss, a State Department official famously accused of being a spy in the late 1940s. His father, Benjamin, an investment banker, was presi-

dent of the Federation of Jewish Philanthropies of New York and a trustee of Columbia University, Lenox Hill Hospital, and Fisk University in Nashville, among others. Paul, along with his children and wife, started the Family-to-Family Project 15 years ago, a nonprofit that helps the homeless in Boston. He has served on the board of various art organizations, including the ART and the Museum of Fine Arts. “Paul and Katie have demonstrated time and time again their unwavering commitment to the public good, whether it be through investments in education, the arts, or in needy local families,” says McCartney. “I have also come to know Paul as an engaged advisor through his role as a member of the HGSE Visiting Committee. To borrow his words, he understands that we need real, subverting kind of change at the systemic level in order to make progress on the challenges of American public education. Through the years, I have relied on his wise counsel as we moved forward with our plans for the new doctorate in education leadership, and I am so grateful for his support.” Asked what longterm results he anticipates from the new degree, Buttenwieser is optimistic. “It is going to radically affect education for the better.” jill anderson

ed malitsky

It was his mother Helen’s philosophy: If you see something that needs to be done, do it. So when the Ed School started looking for funding for the new Doctor of Education Leadership Program, former Harvard Overseer Paul Buttenwieser and his wife, Katie, a social worker at Children’s Hospital in Boston, did just that — they stepped up and donated one million dollars to endow a fellowship that will support one student throughout the three years of the program. “Education is so crucial,” says Buttenwieser, who became interested in the Ed.L.D. Program — the school’s first new degree in 74 years — while serving as a member of the school’s visiting committee. Sitting in on meetings and listening to faculty members, he realized that for K–12 education reform to be successful in the United States, incredible people at the top needed a new kind of training. “While teachers are the most critical part of the educational system,” he says, “having the right kind of administrative leaders is critical as well.” The tuition-free Ed.L.D. is based in practice, with students

— To get more information on the new degree, go to page 9.


• Harvard Graduate School of Education • winter 2010


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jill anderson

Despite the annual Ed School Halloween party going on around him in the Gutman Conference Center this past October, this little vampire just couldn’t get enough of the fall 2009 issue of Ed. When asked if he wanted to join the other ghosts, poodles, and unicorns as they started lining up for the parade that would take the children around campus, Ellis Iurilli-Hough (ok, the editor’s son) shook his head and said, “I just vant to read my magazine.” Think you can top this photo? E-mail us a picture of yourself (or someone in your family) reading Ed. and you may be a future star of the back page, too!

Ed. Magazine, Winter 2010  

The alumni magazine of the Harvard Graduate School of Education, Winter 2010 edition. Features include performance pay for teachers, the fut...

Ed. Magazine, Winter 2010  

The alumni magazine of the Harvard Graduate School of Education, Winter 2010 edition. Features include performance pay for teachers, the fut...