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December 9, 2014 Less than a week after a grand jury failed to indict a Staten Island police officer after a chokehold led to the death of an unarmed black man, and two weeks after another grand jury found no criminal behavior in the police shooting death of an 18-year-old in Ferguson, Missouri, dozens from the Ed School community participated in a student-organized die-in. Wearing “I can’t breathe” surgical masks and holding signs, the protestors peacefully laid on the ground floor of Gutman for four and a half minutes — representing the four and a half hours that teenager Michael Brown’s body was left on a Ferguson street after his death. Student speakers, including Ph.D. student Clint Smith (above), emphasized the need for educators to recognize their unique position in the struggle for justice. “Officer Darren Wilson had a teacher. Officer Daniel Pantaleo had a teacher. George Zimmerman had a teacher,” Smith pointed out. “What is happening in the schools and communities where these men grew up that had made them profoundly fear black and brown life? How are our schools socializing and institutionalizing this fear? What can we do as educators to push students to unlearn the prejudices and biases they been inundated with by our society?”

read the full speech and see more photos:









CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Brigham Fay Christine Junge Jon Sapers Bari Walsh ILLUSTRATORS Shaw Nielsen Daniel Vasconcellos PHOTOGRAPHERS Lisa Abitbol Jill Anderson Iman Rastegari COPYEDITING Marin Jorgensen Abigail Mieko Vargus POSTMASTER: Send address changes to: Harvard Graduate School of Education Office of Communications 13 Appian Way, Cambridge, MA 02138 Š 2015 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College. Harvard Ed. Magazine is published three times a year.

contents WINTER 2015

22 We have graduates doing amazing work all over the world. We’ve highlighted six of them — one per continent (sorry, Antarctica) — working in schools and districts, at education nonprofits and NGOs, as education entrepreneurs, and with government agencies.

30 Students are often discouraged from watching the movie version of a book, for fear that it will discourage reading. But doctoral student Tracy Elizabeth, Ed.M.’10, and Professor Robert Selman, think the two genres can work well together — and they have a new educator’s resource guide for The Giver to prove it.

36 We teach a lot that isn’t going to matter, in a significant way, in students’ lives, writes Professor David Perkins in his new book, Future Wise. There’s also much we aren’t teaching that would be a better return on investment.

The Core and Fish Wrap It’s probably no surprise that our cover story on the ever-hot topic, the Common Core (“What happened to the Common Core,” fall 2014), generated a huge amount of buzz from our Facebook and Twitter readers. And like the issue itself, the comments were very polarized, with comments as different as night and day. For example, one Twitter reader wrote “great objective review,” and a superintendent sent a note that read, “Simply put, the article is one of the clearest statements I have read on the current opportunities and challenges with the Common Core and how to make sense of the swirling politics.” But others weren’t so happy, with comments like “this piece is BS” and “not fit 4 fish n chip wrapping.” (That particular comment came from a reader who posted 13 tweets about the story!) Another was almost all in caps, which says a lot: “Again, all I am reading is Common Core is about math and testing. NO ONE MENTIONS DATA MINING and Social Agenda. If a company MAKES THE CURRICULUM, STANDARDS, TESTS, & TEXTBOOKS, that is a monopoly on what our children are learning. Data mining is invasive and against the Constitution. This needs to be repealed nationally.” The story also received many longer letters, including: Elaine McArdle’s examination of increased controversy around the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) missed an important point. Many of the states that rushed to adopt the Common Core in 2010 and 2011 have since made dramatic reductions in K–12 education spending. A report earlier this year by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities shows that approximately 70 percent of states have yet to return to pre-recession investment levels — meaning that most states have made deep cuts to core programs since their CCSS adoptions. This dynamic stands in sharp contrast to a central tenet in the most successful standards-based reform efforts: the acknowledgment that new and higher targets for student learning and teacher performance ought to be coupled with greater financial supports to get those jobs done. Until more federal and state policymakers recognize that you can’t make “massive” change on the cheap, we should expect to see Common Core encounter greater levels of resistance. — adam schott, ed.m.’07 McArdle’s article states that Achieve Inc. was “created by governors and corporate leaders...” Partly wrong: no governors. Partly right: one corporate leader, Lou Gerstner, who earned his status in the corporate world initially heading RJR Nabisco and peddling cigarettes to kids. Of course, by the time he created Achieve to promote his standards-and-testing paradigm, he had moved on to IBM. As for [Professor Robert] Schwartz’s impression, The Washington Post recently reported, “Anybody watching the escalating battle across the country over the Common Core State Standards and aligned standardized testing will hardly be surprised by a new national poll which reveals a significant loss of support over the last year — especially among teachers, whose approval rating dropped from 76 percent in 2013 to only 46 percent in 2014.” Bob clearly is out touch with reality. There is a national progressive movement opposing the Common Core as well as the Tea Party opposition. Seems like McArdle doesn’t know anything about this, being so busy talking to the usual Beltway suspects. Begs the question, is your publication actually journalism or just an alumni magazine pushing its own agenda? This article certainly seems like the latter to me, since the voices of critique are omitted entirely. All we get is the Common Core party line, with some soft soap voices for better implementation. — david marshak, ed.d.’85 4



FA L L 2 0 1 4

Choppy Waters for the

Common Core





TWITTER Schwartz’s response: Mr. Marshak is wrong about the origins of Achieve: It was in fact created by a planning committee of six governors and six CEOs who then became its board of directors. I stand by my assertion that teachers by and large support the Common Core standards themselves, but have rising concerns about support for implementation. The “progressive” opposition Mr. Marshak refers to seems much more focused on testing and teacher evaluation than on the Common Core standards.

The article, “What Happened to the Common Core,” does a fine job of summarizing an issue which is not only complex in itself, but is made much harder to deal with because there are literally hundreds of differences from state to state and even from district to district within each state. Added to that confusion is the flood of misconceptions about what is actually part of the Common Core. As a former English teacher, I was disappointed that the article didn’t challenge the misconception that the study of literature in high school English classes will be reduced. The 70 percent figure quoted for reading nonfiction is the cumulative percentage of reading in all high school classes. The percentage of literature in English classes will remain roughly the same as it is traditionally. — kermeen fristrom, m.a.t.’56, past president, california association of teachers of english, retired curriculum director, san diego unified school district

I understand that it’s a complicated issue, but it seems like another case of people asking “What’s best for me?” over “What’s best for the country as a whole?” Putting our heads in the sand will not result in global competitiveness and is not in the best interest of our children. — denise murk-uvena


Common Core seems to be like the old saying: The beatings will continue until morale improves. — ralph berggren, husband of gretchen berggren, m.a.t.’59

1,092 PEOPLE



I loved your article about Katherine Merseth in the fall 2014 issue (“Welcome, Undergrads”). I was fortunate to take Merseth’s school reform class at the Ed School in spring of 1994. Probably the best class I took at HGSE. Portfolio assessment was new and exciting and terrifying for some of my classmates who begged for a paper and final exam. Merseth turned it back to us, the students, to determine our own measurement for growth. Harvard undergrads are lucky to learn with her. Thank you, Kay Merseth! — jackie simons, ed.m.’94




@edversation Reading @hgse’s Ed. magazine on the plane. Excited to learn about the #usable #knowledge project. @UKnowHGSE #educhat Send letters (150 words or fewer): Post a comment on the Ed. website:

Tell us your thoughts and ideas on Facebook or Twitter:

appian way

Call Me Ishmael




Novel Approach to Books

A guy walks into a bar … almost. There’s a guy, a bar, and a beginning, but it’s more like this: A guy, an Ed School alum, was sitting in a bar in New York City, talking with friends about books. Being creative types, they wondered if they could start a literacy website about first sentences. “The ‘Call me Ishmael’ line came up,” says Logan Smalley, Ed.M.’08, referring to the famous first line of Herman Melville’s classic, Moby-Dick. “We wondered, what if Ishmael had a phone? If you could call Ishmael, what would you tell him?” From there, on a cocktail napkin, they sketched out what would become the Call Me Ishmael project ( People anonymously call into an answering machine and hear a simple greeting, something like: “Hi. This is Ishmael. After the beep, leave me a message about a book you love and a story you’ve lived.” When the project first started in June, Smalley, the director of TED-Ed, assumed they’d get a handful of calls and that most people would just give a book review — exactly what they weren’t looking for. Instead, the project exploded. Within two months, about 800 callers left their stories, some incredibly touching. “We started getting really heartfelt messages,” Smalley says. “The anonymity allows people to say things they wouldn’t otherwise say.” Twice a week, a call is transcribed on an old typewriter and featured as an audio and video clip on the website. Unedited versions of every voicemail that Ishmael receives are also posted. These voicemails have caught the attention of some famous writers and celebrities, including The Fault in Our Stars author John Green, who mentioned the project on his Facebook page, and Mitch Albom, who tweeted about an Ishmael caller who read aloud his book Tuesdays With Morrie during car rides with her peevish father. Recently, Joe Hanson, creator of the popular YouTube channel, It’s Okay to Be Smart, was a guest host for a new feature of the Ishmael project: The All Call Challenge. The challenge has a well-known person like Hanson ask callers to phone in about a certain type of book. (Hanson’s challenge: about a book that changed the way callers look at the natural world.) Smalley says despite his full-time job at TED and the demands of this new project, which he manages with the help of a small team of other volunteers, he remains an avid reader. “I always make time to read, at least a chapter or two a day, although I would love to be able to read more,” he says. Asked if he has called Ishmael yet, he says he hasn’t. “I will. Probably on the year anniversary.” — Lory Hough


To call Ishmael ......................................... Step #1

Step #2

Step #3

Call Ishmael’s number: 774.325.0503. It goes straight to voicemail.

Listen to Ishmael’s short answering machine message. It changes weekly.

Leave a voicemail about a book you love and a story you have lived.




“We will design ways of teaching students about that concept.” Adjunct Lecturer CHRISTINA HINTON, Ed.M.’06, Ed.D.’12, talking about grit — a concept that she and other Ed School faculty members will be working on with four schools in England as part of their Research Schools International initiative. (The Telegraph)

“If we built the goals, then schools would meet them.” Associate Professor JAL MEHTA commenting on a major education summit in 1989 between President George H.W. Bush and the nation’s governors that set goals for students across the country — goals that Mehta says reflected a “field of dreams optimism.” (Education Week)

“I don’t think it’s an option to drop test scores and go to nothing.” “Good intentions and passion are not enough to tackle this challenge.” Senior Lecturer MANDY SAVITZ-ROMER commenting on the need to expand the role of school counselors in order to better help high school students who traditionally have not thought of higher education as an option. (Education Week) 8



“The question is, ‘What are you in school for?’” Professor HOWARD GARDNER responding to a new online service where top students can sell their study notes to other students. Gardner said students shouldn’t rely too much on these types of study aids if they truly want to learn. (The Boston Globe)

“It’s all too easy to create perverse incentives.”

Dean JAMES RYAN discussing new, preliminary federal rules requiring states to develop rating systems for teacher prep programs. (The New York Times)

Professor TOM KANE on using surveys of students, in addition to test scores, as a way to measure how teachers are performing. (The New York Times)

“Strategies that seem sensible in the short term aren’t always the best strategies.” Associate Professor JAMES KIM talking about how offering incentives, like paying kids to read books, won’t necessarily prevent readers from regressing over the summer. (The New York Times)

How Do Employers View For-Profits?

Does for-profit education pay off? That’s the question that motivates the recent work of associate professor David Deming, who has chronicled the whirlwind growth of for-profit colleges and raised significant questions about their recruitment efforts, their effectiveness, and their dependence on taxpayer dollars. In his latest study, published by the National Bureau of Economic Research, Deming looks at the value of for-profit credentials in the labor market.

For-profits have been responsible for about one-third of all the growth in associate’s and bachelor’s degrees over the last decade. In 2012, 10 percent of all bachelor’s degrees in the United States were awarded by for-profit colleges. To understand why, a quick primer on the financing of higher education is required. Historically, most funding of public colleges comes from state and local governments … and has been declining for the last 15 years. This means that more of the burden of paying for college has shifted to the student, in the form of higher tuition. Unlike public institutions, for-profits are funded mostly by Federal Title IV funding (Pell Grants and Stafford Loans). Forprofit colleges account for about a quarter of all Title IV dollars, and 7 of the 10 largest Pell grantees are for-profits. Unlike state and local support for higher education, these federal programs have grown more generous over time.

What is the focus of your latest study on the for-profit sector?

Two of the main arguments made on behalf of for-profit colleges are that they are responsive to the needs of employers and that they do a better job than public institutions of preparing their graduates for employment. We were interested in understanding how employers view postsecondary credentials from for-profit institutions, as well as from public institutions of varying selectivity.

So you conducted a resume audit experiment. What is that?

We created fictitious resumes with randomly assigned postsecondary credentials, and we submitted these resumes to real job vacancy postings on a large, online job board. Our experiment asks a simple question: Are employers more or less likely to express interest in a job applicant when their postsecondary credential is from a particular institution? We populated our fake resumes with real work histories of people who had actually attended the institutions in our study. … The point was to send realistic resumes that would be similar in every way except for the type of school attended — for-profit or public.

What did you find?

The most significant result was that for business jobs that required a bachelor’s degree, an otherwise identical resume with a degree from a for-profit online school was 22 percent less likely to get a callback than a resume with a degree from a nonselective public school. We also found that for jobs where employers don’t require you to have a degree, there wasn’t much advantage to having one, including from a public institution.

What are the lessons here, in your mind?

Well, the primary lesson is that the employers did not seem to have a very high opinion of degrees from for-profit colleges. Given that these colleges are also more expensive, it is hard to argue that they are a better investment than other choices. Does this mean that we should shut down for-profit colleges? In my view, things are not so simple. It’s not productive to consider the for-profit sector in isolation. The growth in for-profit colleges is the result of a choice we’ve made about how to fund higher education in this country. As long as the demand for highly educated workers continues to grow, and as long as state and local funding continues to decline, it will be hard for public colleges to produce enough graduates to meet the needs of employers. I’m hoping our results will push this conversation forward. — Bari Walsh is a writer for the Usable to link to the study: Knowledge Project.


The growth of the for-profit colleges. What’s driving it?



TIDBITS At the campaign launch in September, 1,000 HGSE stylus pens were given away.

Did you know that 30 of our current faculty of the whole members are also graduates of the Ed School?

Finally, an Ed School course name that sounds like a Hollywood blockbuster: Massive! Taught this past fall, the new course looked at the future of learning at scale.

This year, we have students from every continent except (surprise, surprise!) Antarctica.

All the News That’s Fit to Read For Mydhili Bayyapunedi, Ed.M.’11, it didn’t make sense. While working at an afterschool program in Bangalore, India, she noticed that the students in higher grades weren’t very curious. “They didn’t ask as many questions as they should have,” she says. In contrast, a 10-year-old neighbor visited her every Friday night when the children’s edition of the local newspaper arrived, and the girl would ask lots of questions as they read it together. “I could see that she was developing a great sense of curiosity and learning to ask the right questions,” Bayyapunedi says. The Technology, Innovation, and Education graduate decided to go online to see what other news sources for children she could find. Unfortunately, finding suitable content wasn’t easy — there wasn’t one site where stories appropriate for upper elementary to high school students were collected. Inspired by her neighbor, Bayyapunedi decided to create an online project called YoungCurrent ( (@youngcurrent) that aggregates news from around the web that is appropriate for children ages 8–16, customized to their interests and child-safe. This past fall, the project’s website launched, thanks in part to funding she received from Start-Up Chile. Start-Up Chile is a program created by the Chilean government that helps entrepreneurs from all over the world who have new, scalable business ideas but need a little help. “They believe in you,” Bayyapunedi says of Start-Up, which provided her with mentors, some funding, and other resources in Santiago, Chile, where entrepreneurs live and work on their projects for six months. “They believe that you’ll be able to make a change.” The goal is to eventually launch an app version of the project, based on the behavior patterns of the website users. Tailoring the experience to users is, in fact, a key feature of the project, Bayyapunedi says. This is not just a bunch of articles thrown together. Instead, Bayyapunedi and her editorial team hand-pick stories in several categories, such as science, social studies, and health, based on the user’s reading level (not just age) and reading patterns. This was critical, she says, when she tested an early version of the project with students and their parents. Initially she suspected parents would be apprehensive about letting their children read news online if it wasn’t appropriate — and they were — but parents also really wanted content that matched reading abilities.




Another feature includes what Bayyapunedi calls contextualized information. “A child will read an article and notice highlighted words that he or she might not know,” she says. “He or she can tap the word to get a quick definition, building vocabulary and understanding. Research shows that this helps information stick better.” Eventually, students will also be able to tap key historical references in an article. Over time, Bayyapunedi says, the system “gets smarter” and more tailored. For example, a student user may be given 15 articles to read with 25 highlighted words. The site will track which words the student stopped to read and how much time was spent on each article. It will note which articles were popular and how often the student clicked on repeated vocabulary words highlighted in other articles. “We really want to understand how the child is learning,” she says. Free summary reports are provided to parents and teachers. Special reports, available for a fee, include tips on how to expand the learning for a particular student. While she is in Chile, Bayyapunedi is not only fine-tuning the current version of the site, but also starting a Spanish version. — Lory Hough

For educators, engaging and reaching out to parents is critical — but not always easy. For example: • How do you respond when one of your young students tells you that while doing homework the night before, her dad told her that he thinks the new methods for teaching math are “crazy”? • What do you do when a parent comes to you, saying her kindergartener is having trouble transitioning to school, but you haven’t noticed any issues? • How do you respond when a student repeatedly comes to school disheveled and dirty? • What’s the best way to communicate academic progress with parents? What are the consequences of not communicating well? • When two students get into a fight, you (a new teacher) handle the situation in a way that sharply contrasts to what the parents and students expected. Now what? What if you could read about the experience of other educators who have grappled with these same questions and issues? Now you can. The Harvard Family Research Project is offering a series of free, online case studies, available through their website and through the Usable Knowledge website. With each case, there’s a quick-read narrative, a list of discussion questions, plus links to additional related resources. read these case studies:

Getting out into the field, through internships, practicums, and volunteer work, is huge for students at the Ed School. For the 2014 class, during the academic year:

12% 24% worked at

worked at


17% 12%

participated in



In addition, many students worked directly with organizations, on site or through projects, as a requirement for several practice-based courses.

The doctors are in. In August, Dean James Ryan welcomed the first class of Ph.D. students to the Ed School — 24 in all, JILL ANDERSON

including six HGSE alums. to read a longer story: HARVARD GRADUATE SCHOOL OF EDUCATION


The Letter P for Partners

Last spring, educators from around the world gathered at the Ed School to learn how to close the frustrating gap that sometimes exists between research and practice. The gathering started, perhaps unexpectedly, with a short video clip: comedian Ricky Gervais singing a lullaby about the letter N to Elmo, who was tucked into his tiny bed. This simple video, said Adjunct Lecturer Christina Hinton, Ed.M.’06, Ed.D.’12, is, in fact, a great example of how research and practice — in this case, education — can go hand-in-hand. “So much research was done before Sesame Street created this clip to see how to best teach the letter N to children,” Hinton said at the symposium, which she founded with Professor Kurt Fischer and Visiting Lecturer Bruno della Chiesa as part of their new Research Schools International initiative. “Uppercase? Lowercase? In color? Should it include words like nap and nighttime, too? This ongoing assessment is something Sesame does really well. They’ve been committed to linking research and practice since they started.” It’s this same commitment that Hinton and Fischer focused on when they decided to start their initiative, with della Chiesa joining soon after. With a team of researchers from the Ed School, they partner with schools around the world to tackle problems that the schools are grappling with, similar to how many other fields operate. “What is true in industries all over the world is that many have established research programs,” Fischer says. At teaching hospitals, for example, doctors work alongside practitioners to make sure that research and practice are linked. However, in education, Hinton says, “That’s the exception, not the rule.” With their initiative, academic researchers don’t go into a school saying, “This is what we want to address.” Instead, they work with everyone in a school — administrators, teachers, and students — to come up with a research question that is important to the people who work and learn in that building. “The practitioners decide what they need,” Hinton says. The Harvard researchers help them shape that into a testable question and then carry out research to address that question. For example, one school wanted to figure out how to better motivate students. “Education research has identified many concrete ways to support motivation — give students a sense of autonomy, allow them to learn with their peers, ensure that they feel competent, and so on. The research team conducted a study to explore how much these practices were used at the school,” Hinton says. “Results 12









revealed that the school was already using many effective practices.” But it wasn’t enough. The Harvard researchers found one gap. “The school wasn’t offering students much choice, which is quite important for motivation.” The researchers therefore worked with the teachers to incorporate more choice into their curriculum — things as simple as letting students pick which book to read. With other schools, the initiative has looked at issues around compassion, the brain and learning, global education, and the role technology plays in helping children learn from one another. After the question is explored and tested, a report is created. But the research team doesn’t then disappear — it continues to work with the school to analyze and implement the findings in tangible, usable ways. The findings are then shared on the initiative’s website, for free, so that other educators can benefit. This collaboration, teachers say, is critical. “It really makes us like partners,” says Allison DeHorsey, director of global programs and a French teacher at St. George’s School in Rhode Island, which has been working with the initiative. “That has strengthened my role as a teacher. Just having that ongoing dialogue is important.”— Lory Hough link to the initiative’s site:





Recently, a handful of faculty members were promoted, including: ANDREW HO

Full professor of education with tenure


Associate professor of education


Associate professor of education

STEVE SEIDEL, Ed.M.’89, Ed.D.’95

Senior lecturer on education


Senior lecturer on education


Named chair: Juliana W. and William Foss Thompson Professor of Education and Society MONICA HIGGINS

Named chair: Kathleen McCartney Professor in Education Leadership


Named chair: Jerome T. Murphy Professor in Education

Looking Back: 1725?

It seemed like it would be an easy story, a quick piece about an old house that Harvard has owned for more than seven decades. But as anyone who has ever looked into the history of an old house knows, the research can be spotty. This is true for Read House, the yellow clapboard building next to Gutman Library, that houses sponsored projects. Although some documents, including from the Cambridge Historical Society, say the house was built in 1772, other documents — burial records, reports from Harvard libraries, and the Historic Guide to Cambridge, published in 1907 by the Daughters of the American Revolution — indicate that it was built much earlier, in 1725. All records agree that the house was named after a James Read. Here’s where the confusion with dates may come in. The original James Read was a tanner born in Kent, England. Read married Mary Oldham. The Historic Guide indicates that Read bought land from Captain Josiah Parker in 1725 and soon after, he likely built the house at the corner of Brattle and Farwell, where today the used book table stands. Records of the Old Burying Ground in Cambridge, just around the corner from the Ed School, show that this James Read died in 1734. However, he wasn’t the only James Read. Before the original James died, he and Mary had a son, James Jr., who also became a tanner and eventually married Hannah Stacey. They had several children, including two sons, James III and Joseph Stacey, who lived in the house during the American Revolution with their mother, Hannah, after James Jr. died. They were both soldiers. Joseph, apparently, was also a postmaster in Harvard Square. In 1759, a piece of the Read garden behind the house was sold to Christ Church as construction of the church began. The house stayed in the Read family until 1826, when it was sold to Levi Farwell, who later had a street renamed after him. (Farwell Place, once School Court — the dead end behind Gutman, with the row of townhouses and a well-cared-for black and white homeless cat.) Eventually, Radcliffe bought the house in 1943, to use as a dormitory. So when exactly was the house built? Assuming it was built when James Sr. was alive, it had to be well before 1772. If it was built by his descendants, one of the many Jameses, it would have happened after his death. One fact we do know, for sure: In 1961, Read House and its neighbor, Nichols, were sold to the Ed School and moved a few years later to the current, tucked-in location, to make room for the construction of a building that would become the heart of the school: Gutman Library. — Lory Hough HARVARD GRADUATE SCHOOL OF EDUCATION


Jenn Charlot Ed.L.D. Jenn Charlot remembers how, as a kid, she wanted to quit her piano lessons. She already had other activities that she loved, like ballet and karate. “I asked to quit repeatedly,” Charlot says, “but my mother never let me.” Turns out that was a good thing. Charlot never became a professional pianist, but her mother’s insistence that she stick with lessons gave her something more important: grit. Now as director of implementation at the Character Lab during her third-year Ed.L.D. residency, Charlot talks about what that means for kids and her job. What does grit look like in a school kid? Students who demonstrate grit relentlessly pursue their goals, finish whatever they begin, and stick to things for more than a few weeks. Gritty students try really hard, especially when they experience failure or when they feel like quitting. When frustration and errors happen, they persist. Character Lab’s mission is to bridge the science of character with the daily practice of teaching. We research the most promising strategies for character development and subsequently help schools integrate those techniques into their daily work. The director of implementation develops the organization’s strategy to help schools to integrate character development into their classrooms. Basically, when teachers or schools need to know how to use the research in their everyday work, they call me.


In her TED talk about grit, Angela [Duckworth, the lab’s founder] ends by saying we don’t yet have all the answers. And that’s true. That said, in our view, parents and teachers can make headway by helping students discover a goal that they are passionate about and ensuring kids understand that reaching their dreams requires lots and lots (and lots!) of practice. There’s a video on our website where Angela describes some key elements of teaching kids about practice that I find useful: 1) All people who achieve mastery must practice over and over; 2) feedback is a necessary part of practice; 3) practice should be focused with a specific goal in mind; and 4) practice should feel hard. — Lory Hough


read a longer interview with charlot: HARVARD ED. MAGAZINE



to watch the video:

Two young boys, being taken to an Ebola treatment unit, in Monrovia, Liberia, after being diagnosed. Jessi Hanson, Ed.M.’07, wrote about going back to Liberia after the outbreak to help young children like these boys through a nonHOLDEN WARREN

In October, Professor Fernando Reimers, Ed.M.’84, Ed.D.’88, director of the International Education Policy Program, spent nearly a week in Mexico meeting with research partners (including former students) for the consortium he started to investigate how different countries define and support the development of 21st-century skills at the K–12 level. On the agenda: finalizing the draft of their first book, which looks at work being done in the United States, China, Chile, India, Singapore, and Mexico.

In September, Dean James Ryan sat down with Education Next editor in chief Paul Peterson to talk about the impact that Brown v. Board of Education has had on the U.S. education system. Among other things, Ryan said, “Brown is rightly celebrated as accomplishing a great deal, but there’s reason to be disappointed in the overall impact.” Curious what else he said? Watch a video of the discussion, which was used in Peterson’s new HarvardX mini-course, Saving Schools: History, Politics, and Policy in U.S. Education.

profit called Playing to Live. read hanson’s first-person report:



Has it gone by in a flash? The question is posed to Margot Stern Strom, C.A.S.’75, as she transitions — after nearly four decades — from president and CEO of Facing History and Ourselves to president emerita and senior scholar. Stern Strom hesitates, thinking it over. “I guess it hasn’t,” she says. Instead, Facing History, the education organization she founded when she was a young teacher, is more like a living library. “It continues. It advances.” And it changes. What started in 1976 as one course on the Holocaust for K–8 students in one town has grown to reach 3 million students a year in more than 200 countries, with hundreds of staff members. But the growth is clearly more than just rising numbers. As Stern Strom explains, after so many years, “we’ve been able to demonstrate what we said we were doing, in a full way,” in part because there’s a much better understanding of the complex issues Facing History explores with students and teachers — issues like racism, prejudice, hatred, difference, and anti-Semitism. Still, for all of its growth, Facing History remains rooted in its original mission — to engage students in conversations about these issues in an effort to develop a more humane and informed citizenry. From the beginning, it has done that by helping students “walk in each other’s shoes,” Stern Strom says, and then helping them make that critical connection between what’s happened in history and moral choices they have to make in their own lives. For example, during a unit on genocide in Darfur, teachers assign students in groups to learn more about six individuals who tried to help people in Darfur. Students are asked to think about and examine a time in their own lives when they cared about something so much that it motivated them to act above and beyond what they would normally do. Unfortunately, Stern Strom says, too often we don’t trust young people to really explore history — especially the unthinkable. “It’s scary to walk in someone else’s shoes,” she says. “But you can imagine it if you’re taught about it. There’s a need for truth telling and widening perspectives.” As she said in a 2004 Compass magazine story, when asked if it was dangerous to raise volatile issues like genocide or lynchings with high schoolers, “The questions are complex; they’re not dangerous. It’s when you don’t raise them that the danger arises. The kids can handle the ambiguity.” We shouldn’t wait until young people are in college, she says, to raise these issues. Stern Strom’s own exposure to these issues, particularly racism, started when she was young. Growing up in Memphis, Tennessee, in the 1950s, she walked past “colored only” water fountains, which she imagined flowed with jewel-colored water. Thursday was “colored day” at the local zoo. She was questioned





Facing History, Facing Herself

one day for riding in a car with a black man, an employee at her parents’ furniture store. “Racism was public,” she says. “What was hidden were the stories.” And not just the “bad” stories, but also the “good” ones about people trying to make change, like feminist and journalist Ida B. Wells, who moved to Memphis in the late 1880s and refused to give up her seat on a train — more than 70 years before Rosa Parks. Guided by parents who taught her the meaning of social justice and to care for others, Stern Strom realized there was a “powerful silence” about race and racism. She started asking herself questions: Why weren’t teachers speaking out? Did anyone resist? Did anyone try to alter the biased school curriculum? Now, as an adult, she says she’ll never know the answers to those questions, but does know that her teachers didn’t trust them with the complexities of history. “The dogmas were more secure, more comfortable,” she writes. “My classmates and I were betrayed by that silence. We should have been trusted to examine real history and its legacies of prejudice and discrimination and of resilience and courage.” When she became a teacher in 1964, Stern Strom didn’t even trust herself to talk about the Holocaust, something she never learned about while getting her graduate degree in history. “When I started teaching this, because I was both teaching it and learning about it at the same time, I sent the kids home with a film about the Warsaw Ghetto,” she says. “A mom asked me why I was sending home a film. ‘Don’t you trust yourself to teach?’ she asked. She told me I didn’t need to use the film.” Over time, she gained her teaching voice and realized that young people — especially young people — need space to do what philosopher Hannah Arendt calls “thinking about thinking.” They need to be able to think alone, to have a dialogue with themselves in order to form their moral principles. But in order to

Facing History Facts and Firsts FH has programs in


FH collaborates with HGSE’s Project Zero to assess middle schoolers’ understanding of the rise of Nazi Germany and the Holocaust.


First doctoral thesis written about FH, by Betty Bardige, M.A.T.’72, C.A.S.’77, Ed.D.’83, with former Ed School Professor Carol Gilligan.


countries and territories.

3,100 educators used FH in 2013.

Ed School Associate Professor Marcus Lieberman created the first formal evaluation of FH. Since then, there have been more than 100 internal and external evaluations of the program.


First FH unit was taught at the Lincoln and Runkle schools in Brookline, Massachusetts.

Last year


students and teachers heard firsthand accounts from individuals who survived the Holocaust.

Facing History and Ourselves: Holocaust and Human Behavior, the organization’s core resource book (576 pages), has been used since they first started, with numerous revisions.


Their site offers free lesson plans for educators, complete with activities, readings, video suggestions, and assessment tools, on subjects such as civil rights, genocide, guilt, Darfur, Emmett Till, and identity and community.

Follow-up: HTF


really examine those principles and thoughts, they also need to talk about them with others. “That discourse is what we create when we bring history and ethics together with teachers and students,” Stern Strom says. “The wrestling process produces something new in you. And it’s not just knowledge, but an understanding.” These days, as Stern Strom moves forward in a different role at the organization she started, she’ll have more time to think about her own thinking. And she’ll continue to push so that more students are exposed to the kind of work being done at Facing History. “My dream is that there will someday be so much support for this kind of education,” she says, “or else bigotry and hatred will continue.” Getting back to the initial question — has this all gone by too fast? — she adds to her original answer. “My son and daughter, both are my teachers,” she says, referring to Adam, who works at Facing History, and Rachel, a First Amendment lawyer. “I see this work being inherited by a new generation, so no, it hasn’t gone by too fast.” — Lory Hough

In the last issue of Ed., our feature story about the growing interest in education and teaching among Harvard College students mentioned a new program for undergraduates that the Ed School was hoping to offer once the funding came through. In November, thanks to a $10 million gift from two anonymous donors, plus additional funds, the Harvard Teacher Fellows (HTF) Program was announced. This selective program will offer free teacher preparation for Harvard College seniors to become middle school and high school mathematics, science, history, and English teachers. The first cohort will start in the spring of 2016. read the feature story in the fall issue of press release:

ed. and the november 2014



A Way to Launch Alumni at Harvard Now the alumni. After the Harvard Innovation Lab’s huge success helping Harvard students incubate and launch more than 350 ideas and projects during the past three years, helping them continue once they’ve graduated seemed like the logical next step. As Jodi Goldstein, director of the i-lab, as it’s known, says, “That’s when these entrepreneurs need the support the most.” This past fall, the i-lab unveiled the Harvard Innovation Launch Lab, exclusively for Harvard alumni. The Launch Lab mimics the i-lab, which is across the street, on a smaller scale, with open co-working spaces and shared lounges, conference rooms, and workshops. Alumni teams are also given what Goldstein jokingly calls a “gym membership” — full access to everything across the street at the i-lab, including the prototyping lab, a video conference suite, a treadmill desk, and all of the social and mentoring activities offered. There are a few differences, of course. Instead of arriving as students with just an idea, alumni Launch Lab teams must be further along with their project and must have



learn more about becoming a launch lab fellow:

Alum + Alum + Alum

Two of them learned about Montessori schools, based on a child-centered philosophy developed by Italian educator Maria Montessori, as parents in search of childcare for their son. One learned about the schools as a young student. Together, these three Ed School alums created an information and research center two years ago to promote the philosophy — in public schools. “Jackie and I moved to Williamsburg, Virginia, when our son, Jack, was three,” explains Keith Whitescarver, C.A.S.’90, Ed.D.’95, director of the National Center for Montessori in the Public Sector. They visited a local independent Montessori, knowing nothing about the school or style of learning. Jackie Cossentino, Ed.M.’91, Ed.D.’99, immediately fell in love. Their son liked it, too, so they stayed — through sixth grade. Sara Suchman, Ed.D.’12, on the other hand, felt she was “working too hard and learning too little” in her regular middle school, so she switched to a Montessori school for eighth and ninth grades. Later, as a doctoral student at the Ed School, she was frustrated, she says, with talk of education reform that seemed like “traditional education on steroids rather than a substantively different way to think about how children learn and what school could be.” She started looking at public Montessori schools. While finishing her dissertation, she asked Cossentino to be a reader for her qualifying paper. Four years later, in 2012, she joined Cossentino, senior associate and director of research, and Whitescarver, when they created the National Center (, based in West Hartford, Connecticut. 18

some funding. They also pay rent, although Goldstein says the space is highly subsidized. This fall, the first group of 12 teams arrived, half with female founders, including one Ed School team: Taylor Percival, Ed.M.’14, and Jessica Yarmosky, Ed.M.’14, who fleshed out their idea for ReadSource, an online literacy resource at the i-lab while they were master’s students. Percival says the new Launch Lab is allowing them to take that idea and turn it into a sustainable business. “Being located in the community provides ReadSource with access to invaluable resources and experienced mentorship that would have otherwise been unavailable to us at this stage of our development,” she says. “Having the Launch Lab as our home base is enabling us to move the idea forward while preparing to introduce our resource to teachers and students across the country.”


Since then, they have seen a huge jump in the number of public schools that are Montessori centered. Although private Montessori schools still dominate, with more than 4,000 across the country, there are now nearly 440 public Montessori schools, with South Carolina, California, and Arizona topping the list of states with the most. According to Whitescarver, more than half of those public Montessori schools have opened their doors in the last decade. High on the list of reasons why, he says, is parent dissatisfaction with current education models offered in public schools. “Parents looking for a student-centered yet academically rigorous alternative find Montessori,” he says. “Many of the groups with whom we work are parent groups. One example of this is in Boston. Boston Public Schools (BPS) had a small Montessori program in the East Boston Early Education Center. Parent efforts urging the district to expand the program led to BPS deciding to open a stand-alone Montessori school, Dante Alighieri Montessori, this year.” Still, the group can’t imagine every school in the United States — public or private — following the Montessori way. “Though we clearly value a Montessori education for all children, we also recognize that different families have different priorities and inclinations,” Whitescarver says. “There isn’t any desire in the Montessori community to force Montessori on districts or parents, and there certainly isn’t the political will to do so.” — Lory Hough


Professor Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot Ed.D.’72 Currently reading: Even though I rarely read more than one book at a time, in the last few

weeks, I have returned to three books. On the eve of my mother’s 100th birthday, I have been reading Balm In Gilead, the biography I wrote about her. Wanting to honor the 50th anniversary of the Mississippi Freedom Summer, I dove back into Taylor Branch’s Parting the Waters, the magisterial first volume of his Martin Luther King trilogy. And I have revisited Still Alice, the beautifully written, evocative, and luminous first novel by neuroscientist Lisa Genova about a Harvard professor’s descent into Alzheimer’s.

Reading to my children and now to my grandchildren:

Our bedtime ritual begins with two books, one old favorite and the other something new, followed by a couple of songs I sing to help them find sleep. Some of the classics enjoyed by both generations: The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Goodnight Moon, Snowy Day, Whistle for Willie, Where the Wild Things Are, Tar Beach.

Books education students should read:

These three foundational texts are close to the top of my long list of essential readings: John Dewey’s Art As Experience, W. E. B. DuBois’ Souls of Black Folks, Richard Kluger’s Simple Justice.

Reading rituals:

My reading rituals are seasonal. In the fall and winter, I like to curl up at night on the couch in front of the fire at our lakehouse in New Hampshire. In the spring and summer, I love to read in the very early morning on the screen porch overlooking the lake as I watch the sunrise.

My Lord What A Morning. She was my heroine; I loved her amazing courage, her astounding voice, and her grace.

Next up:

I will tackle Andrew Solomon’s imposing and powerful Far From the Tree: Children and the Search for Identity. — Lory Hough

Childhood reading:

I do not remember reading much on my own beyond what was required at school until I was about 11 or 12. (I was someone who much preferred to write than to read; I began keeping a journal and writing short stories when I was eight.) My first memory of being totally absorbed in a big “chapter book” was Marian Anderson’s biography,




The Art of Tinkering

Growing Up Muslim

Leaders of Their Own Learning

Karen Wilkinson and Mike Petrich

Andrew Garrod and Robert Kilkenny

Ron Berger, Suzanne Nathan Plaut, and Libby Woodfin

The cover alone of this hardcover book sets it apart: It uses special ink that conducts electricity. What follows is a visually stunning look at the tinkering done by 150 makers, including the authors, Karen Wilkinson, Ed.M.’98, and Mike Petrich, Ed.M.’98, codirectors of the Tinkering Studio at the Exploratorium in San Francisco.

In this collection of personal essays, Muslim college students in America discuss the role of Islam in their lives. Collected by Andrew Garrod, Ed.M.’76, Ed.D.’82, a professor emeritus at Dartmouth College and Robert Kilkenny, Ed.D.’92, a clinical associate at Simmons College, the essays show students grappling with stereotypes, 9/11, diversity, converting, family expectations, and creating one’s identity.

Full of tips and checklists, this how-to guide helps school leaders put students in charge of their own learning and assessment. Leaders was created by the Expeditionary Learning nonprofit where Ron Berger, Ed.M.’90, is the chief academic officer; Libby Woodfin, Ed.M.’09, is director of publications; and Suzanne Nathan Plaut, Ed.M.’99, Ed.D.’04, is director of curriculum design.



Summer Melt

Watch Me Rise

Benjamin Castleman and Lindsay Page

Douglas Luffborough

Even when students are accepted to college, as many as 40 percent — particularly students from low-income families — fail to matriculate to any postsecondary institution. In Summer Melt, Benjamin Castleman, Ed.D.’13, and Lindsay Page, Ed.M.’04, Ed.D.’11, offer effective strategies, like text messaging, that schools and districts can use to help students stay on track over the summer.

Raised by a single mother in poverty, Douglas Luffborough, Ed.M.’97, dreamed of being the first in his family to go to college. And he did, as he writes in his memoir, despite huge obstacles like the lure of gang life, a year living in a homeless shelter, and being told by his guidance counselor that he wasn’t “college material.”

read a full list of books featured in this issue:

if you’re part of the ed school community and

you’ve recently published a book, mail us a copy or let us know:

learn how to prevent summer melt:

— Briefs by Lory Hough



SIXONSIX illustrations by angelina berardi

From a pool of thousands, six graduates doing great work on six continents (sorry, Antarctica)


eaders of this magazine will not be surprised that the majority of our graduates live and work in North America. But did you know that Ed School alums are also spread across every continent? Well, except Antarctica, the coldest and windiest of the seven continents. (We tried hard to find one calling the South Pole home, but after spending a few months bundled in coats and snow boots on Appian Way, it looks like none of our graduates have opted to work where the temperature sometimes falls to -135 degrees.) Still, we had no problem finding graduates on the other six continents. We have captured the stories of a handful here. These stories are certainly just a drop in the bucket — or perhaps, a drop in the Atlantic, Pacific, Indian, and Arctic oceans — but they are great examples of the work being done in the field of education by our alumni in schools and districts, at nonprofits and NGOs, as education entrepreneurs, and with government agencies.


One of the tenets that Sara Wolf, Ed.M.’04, learned at the Ed School in the Learning and Teaching Program has been a guiding principle for her ever since. In fact, it guided her all the way to her current home in Haiti. “The school instilled in us that we should get to know our students really well. All my students were recent immigrants, many of them from Haiti,” she says, referring to her time at the International School in New York City. “In order to learn about them, I did a lot of traveling to where the students were from. I went to Ecuador, Peru, India, Cambodia, Mali, Vietnam, Bangladesh.” And, of course, Haiti. Wolf decided to move to Haiti in 2009 after doing teacher training there and falling in love with the culture, language, and people. Today, she is working at a small grassroots NGO called AMURT ( (@amurt). “I was drawn to AMURT because it is really local,” she says. “They don’t just parachute in and decide what people need. They have been there all along.”

Founded in India in 1965, AMURT has the very broad mission of improving the lives of the world’s poor and those affected by calamity or conflict. One of the projects Wolf worked on in Haiti was to create child-friendly, safe spaces where children could be educated after the big earthquake in 2010. “It became obvious that you couldn’t do education without ensuring an emergency response. … We had to figure out how to merge psychosocial services and education services to return things to normalcy,” Wolf says. In total, 3,000 children were involved in psychosocial activities though AMURT after the earthquake, and families reported that, as a result, the children were doing a lot better emotionally and were more communicative, Wolf says. Though the work on the ground was immensely satisfying, Wolf also saw a need to work with the Haitian government in order to make a sustaining difference. “I was convinced that I had to work at the systemic level as well as grassroots level to get the changes to take root,” she says. HARVARD GRADUATE SCHOOL OF EDUCATION


This insight has led to her current project — working with the Ministry of Education to establish the first-ever national teacher certification program under the auspices of Université Quisqueya. “Currently there is very little accountability and standardization in the programs available. And teachers don’t have the tools they need to handle the classrooms they have, which are multigrade with multiple languages being spoken.” Most people in Haiti speak Creole, although the official language of the country is French. The teachers are also paid so poorly that they usually have to work another job and therefore don’t have time to grade papers or do planning outside of the classroom. “Combine all that with child protection issues like children showing up without eating or without access to clean water,” she says, and you see what a huge challenge the teachers there face. Wolf says that 400 teachers have already gone through AMURT’s teacher training, and she is seeing results. “Teachers feel more free to play games, do collaborative work. They also feel like what they do really matters,” she says, “despite very difficult working conditions and very low salaries.” Despite these victories, frustrations still arise daily. “We ran into a devastating turn last week when one school we had been working with very closely got bulldozed for political reasons that no one is being transparent about,” she says. How does she deal with these difficulties as well as what she calls the “daily grind” of not always having electricity, water, or Internet access? “We look at the big picture and not let it get us down. I work with a great team of Haitians, and seeing their resolve really keeps me going,” Wolf says. That, and she meditates. A lot. — CHRISTINE JUNGE IS A FREELANCE WRITER WHOSE LAST PIECE IN ED. LOOKED AT SPARK ACADEMY, STARTED BY ALUMS, THAT INCORPORATES MORE PHYSICAL ACTIVITY INTO THE SCHOOL DAY.




ASIA: Ethan Van Drunen and Jamie Vinson

When Ethan Van Drunen, Ed.M.’10, and Jamie Vinson, Ed.M.’10, arrived in Burma, officially the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, in July 2011, just a year after graduating from the Ed School, the streets were nearly empty of cars and most buses were from pre-World War II Japan. Today, there are still no McDonald’s or international banks in the country, yet over the past three years, Van Drunen and Vinson have been part of a delicate change. “We chose Myanmar for the same off-the-beaten-track reasons that travelers might visit — it promised adventure, new experiences, and since I had been working on education in fragile states, I was interested in the country’s story,” says Vinson. Vinson currently works as an assistant programme specialist for education for UNESCO, where she helps coordinate the organization’s technical assistance to the country’s Ministry of Education, particularly for sector-wide education planning. She also assists with the management of UNESCO’s Strengthening Pre-service Teacher Education in Myanmar project, focusing on capacity-building in Burma’s education colleges. The married couple, both graduates of the International Education Policy Program, credit one of Professor Fernando Reimers’ courses with providing a framework for producing change at scale in the global context. This perspective was particularly important working in Burma, a country experiencing a sea change of reform in politics, economics, the economy, and education. Once a closed, secretive nation, the world has slowly been opening to this country, with Vinson and Van Drunen committed to a school system consisting of 40,000 government schools, more than 8 million students, and approximately 300,000 teachers. “It has been fun to see the overlap between my work and Jamie’s,” says Van Drunen, headmaster at Myanmar International

School Yangon, an inclusive British curriculum school with 550 preK–12 students from Burma and 22 other countries. “I knew through Jamie that the latest draft of Myanmar’s new education law didn’t have a provision for inclusive education for students with disabilities,” he says. “My school was able to partner with another research institution to help produce a report on what inclusive schools actually look like in a Myanmar context.” Vinson takes great joy in what the opportunity working with UNESCO in Burma has afforded her in terms of truly being a part of systemwide improvement across the country. “This is the first time I’ve had an up-close and behind-thescenes seat at a national-level education reform process,” she says. Prior, she taught at the International School of Myanmar along with Van Drunen, who was the school’s curriculum coordinator. Beyond educational change, these past three years in Burma have been a unique time of transition for the couple themselves. “At the time we moved to Myanmar, we had no idea that we would end up staying and having two kids while living in Yangon, the country’s largest city. In fact, we found out Jamie was pregnant only one day before getting on the airplane!” says Van Drunen. Vinson, now the mother of 2-year-old Wilder and baby Laken

(born in October), relishes this unique opportunity to raise her children as global citizens. “For me, the most powerful experience of living in Myanmar hasn’t been work-related. Rather it’s been trekking with our infant son through the mountains of Shan State in northern Myanmar,” she says. “I get chills thinking about how many languages and cultures our family has been able to interact with just within this country.” To them, global education is now inherently a family business, and their goal is to improve it whenever and wherever they can. “We are both motivated by the ideals of global citizenship,” they say, “and the transformational power of quality education.” — MATT WEBER, ED.M.’11

EUROPE: Leah Schabas Londoner Leah Schabas, Ed.M.’13, never really liked having a cold lunch from home when she was in elementary school. “Soggy sandwiches and an ugly lunchbox,” she remembers. It wasn’t until she was on the hot meal plan at her private secondary school that she realized food at school could be so much more. “Such a treat to have a ‘proper’ meal for lunch,” she says. These days, back in England, Schabas is on a mission to help revamp her country’s school lunches as coordinator for an ambitious new undertaking by the government called the School Food Plan ( (@SchFoodPlan). She joined the team directly after she graduated from the Ed School’s International Education Policy Program. The plan, she explains, germinated two years ago when Michael Gove, then secretary of state for education in the United Kingdom, wanted two questions answered: How could the country get 5 million children in about 22,000 schools eating well, and what role should cooking and food play in schools more broadly? A team started visiting schools and talking with stakeholders — students, teachers, cooks, chefs, parents, volunteers, and farmers. They also analyzed the economics of school food. What they found was disheartening. Nearly 20 percent of children in the United Kingdom leave elementary school obese. And the hot meals being served were not only not nutritious, but often “bland, boring, and beige.” Although some progress had been made since the horrors of unhealthy school lunches had been made public by folks like celebrity chef Jamie Oliver, interest in hot lunch had plummeted to a dismal 43 percent of students, with schools losing money and making up costs from other parts of the budget. And lunches brought from home were rarely healthier — only about 1 percent met nutritional standards. But wanting change wasn’t just a matter of health and money. Children who learn to eat healthier in school tend to eat healthy as adults, Schabas says. Research shows that nutrition — good and bad — affects learning. HARVARD GRADUATE SCHOOL OF EDUCATION


bas says, learning to cut herbs with safety scissors and shaking up sauces.) It also heavily focuses on the role that teachers can play by providing head teachers with training in nutrition and doing something that Schabas says is critical to the long-term success of the plan: helping teachers develop ways to change the eating culture in their schools. “I’ve been fortunate enough to have the opportunity to visit many brilliant schools around the country,” she says. “Some truly inspirational head teachers and other teachers have been great spokespeople and figureheads for the importance of school food. It really is critical for teachers, particularly school leadership, to buy into this and understand why this matters. Without leadership, there is only so much others can do.” — LORY HOUGH

SOUTH AMERICA: David Palacios

“There are many arguments to support the importance of food education and meals in schools as a part of pupils’ educational experience,” Schabas says. “There is also a powerful paradox in that on the one hand, there is a child obesity crisis. At the same time, we are also faced with hundreds of thousands of children at risk of food poverty in this country. Interestingly, school meals used to be free in England. Following a recommendation in the School Food Plan, the current government has now introduced universal free school meals for all 5- to 7-year-olds.” The plan is an actual set of steps, not just a series of recommendations. It includes new food standards for schools to follow. It is working to better train the nation’s 58,000 school cooks and to elevate their status while motivating them to prepare healthier, tastier meals that will eventually increase the percentage of students eating hot lunch to at least 70 percent. The plan set up breakfast clubs in the poorest schools and has made cooking a compulsory part of the curriculum up to the age of 14. (Even young students can become involved with food in school, Scha26



When David Palacios, Ed.M.’13, left the Ed School, he left with more than just his master’s from the Technology, Innovation, and Education Program — he had the foundation for three education-based businesses. Palacios had known he wanted to start a business when he finished his master’s, so he took advantage of Harvard’s many entrepreneurial classes and experiences while he was a student. “I took some courses at the Business School and then took things a step further…, I took classes at the MIT Media Lab and through Harvard’s i-lab as well,” he says. On top of the lessons he learned in these programs, he also met mentors and contacts. “It was a good place to learn and to practice. I did more than just learn.” That practice, as he put it, allowed him to hit the ground running after graduation. Unable to decide which out of his three business ideas he should pursue, he decided — against advice — to start all three at once. “People kept telling that me I couldn’t do it, that it was too much of a load to develop all three at the same time,” he says. And it turned out that those people were right. But Palacios wasn’t discouraged. He decided to co-found one business that could encompass all of them: an incubator for education-based startups in Latin America. Palacios, who is from Colombia, based InncubatED ( (@inncubated) in Bogotá. He knew it was a good time to be working in educational startups in the country because the economy in Latin American was growing, unlike in many other places in the world. The government was also very supportive of businesses in the education sector, offering many grants, for

example. On the other hand, venture capital doesn’t really exist in Colombia. “I was very surprised to find that out, just coming from the United States, which is one of the most advanced countries in terms of venture capital funds. The model has been around there for years,” he says. And so in South America, Palacios’ company is filling that void in education. Unique, perhaps, is that his company has two models for developing businesses: incubation and factory mode. Incubation is the traditional approach to investing in startups: InncubatED identifies high-potential startups that already exist and supports them with resources and expertise in exchange for equity in the business. The second model is more innovative. “We start developing a company around an initial idea and then find entrepreneurs to take over the companies we start,” he says. Factory mode is how InncubatED developed its first two businesses, both based on Palacios’ ideas from his days at Harvard. Arukay is an afterschool program that teaches courses in STEM skills. Edufolium is an online job marketplace just for teachers around the world. They are currently looking for entrepreneurs to take on these two businesses. InncubatED is also currently funding two new businesses, both using the incubation model. Arunovo, an online learning provider, was founded by Harvard students. Palacios says it is similar to the U.S.-based Embanet. The second company, EDUmetrika, is working with a school to develop a new kind of school information system that emphasizes the use of data — metrics and key performance indicators — to help with decision-making. Palacios says that what startups come next will depend on how successful these initial startups are. “Those profits will provide the funds for other startups. Otherwise, we will have to get investors,” which he says could be hard in Colombia. But Palacios is hopeful and looking forward to a bright, expansive future. “It’s been a very productive year. I hope we’ll be around to create the most ed startups in Latin America and beyond.”

AFRICA: Liz Grossman

Her biggest joy working and living in Africa is also her biggest challenge. Liz Grossman, Ed.M.’13 (@lizgrossman87), loves discovering new things about a culture and sharing her culture with others. But, after working in Senegal for the past five years, and Cameroon for a year before that, mostly as a high school teacher, she also knows how challenging it is to make decisions in education in a culture and context that is not hers. “No matter how long I live in Africa, I was not born and educated there,” the Philadelphia native and International Education Policy Program alum says. “The challenge is to find the way to bridge my experiences and ideas with the realities of what is on the ground,” especially in a way that makes sense to her students.




“I began to give grammar lessons with examples that Senegalese children could relate to, such as local pop stars or Senegalese wrestlers,” she says. “Once they could contextualize the information, they could understand, but figuring out how to contextualize that was the real hurdle.” These days, she has taken her experience in the classroom to a nonprofit called Tostan, which means breakthrough in the Wolof language. Tostan ( is a nonprofit, based in Dakar, Senegal, that works directly with rural communities in six African countries as they lead and take ownership of their own development. “Tostan’s mission is to empower African communities to bring about sustainable development and positive social transformation based on respect for human rights,” Grossman says. “We believe that through this mission, every person — woman, man, girl, and boy — is able to live a life of dignity.” Last January, she worked as an internal communications and country relations officer, which involved working with traditional and online media. More recently, she has worked on external relations for a new project, the Tostan Training Center. “Because of our innovative development model based on proven impacts, Tostan has received requests for training from many international NGOs and universities, individuals, and organizations working at the grassroots level,” Grossman says. “Our trainings will be for sale, and we will create a business model to earn money, which will then fund Tostan’s activities.” Grossman is also part of another project focused on Africa: Cybraries, an idea she came up with during her first year teaching, when she realized her students didn’t really know how to use the Internet to do research. “I gave my students a research paper on any topic they wanted and told them they needed to use diverse sources from within the past five years,” she says. “They thought it was impossible. ‘Miss, we live in Africa. We don’t have libraries with those resources.’ I had just gotten out of college and was very used to using the Internet for my research. … I began by teaching them about online research. … In the end, they successfully submitted eight-page research papers on topics they were passionate about.” Grossman realized that more students in Senegal, including those at the university level, needed this kind of help. During her year at the Ed School, she began developing a plan to build Internet training centers, partnering with a Harvard Kennedy School 28



graduate who was working in the Senegalese Ministry of Education. Currently, she is taking the project slowly, as she continues to build relations with the government and local partners — an approach that she says is truly African. “What I love about Africa can be understood through the proverb ‘It takes a village to raise a child.’ Here in Africa, everyone in the community is [involved] in the education of the children,” she says. “Teachers are generally respected as the experts in the classroom, but at home, and even in the neighborhood, adults take the responsibility to show all children the right way.” — ­­LORY HOUGH

AUSTRALIA: Michael Lynch Australia native Michael Lynch, Ed.M.’83, has always been drawn to the religious life but says he chose to join the Salesians, a Catholic religious order, after graduating from college in 1964 because of the activities of its founder, a 19th-century Italian priest. “What attracted me to the Salesians was the work of Don Bosco for underprivileged youth, including work in developing countries,” Lynch says. Since then, he has taught economics, social studies, mathematics, and religion; has served as a principal; and has been the leader of Salesian residences in locations ranging from Melbourne to Tasmania. Lynch says he’s proud of the fact that the schools he’s worked in — which have tended to serve working-class students — have had good records and that “a high percentage of the students got jobs; some of them have done quite well from an academic point of view.” Among the graduates he mentions are the archbishop of Perth, the secretary of Victoria’s largest trade union, and a professor at the University of Adelaide who got his Ph.D. from Harvard. “They have done these things because they’ve had ability,” he adds. “It was probably just an accident of history that I happened to be there.” After eight years as a teacher in Chadstone, a suburb of Melbourne, and eight more as a principal in Adelaide, 500 miles to the west, Lynch chose to enroll in the former Teaching, Curriculum, and Learning Environments Program at the Ed School.

“I didn’t speak a language other than English, so it was either a matter of going to England or going to the states,” he says. “As you can well understand, from Adelaide or Melbourne, there is nowhere further than Boston. It’s pretty well as far as you can go.” Despite the distance, there were still Salesians to be found — Lynch points out they currently operate in 131 countries — and during his year or so in Boston, he lived at the Saint Dominic Savio High School in East Boston. “I used to take three trains on the underground to get to Harvard,” he says.

Lynch says he enjoyed the experience enough that he applied for and was accepted into the school’s doctoral program but decided instead to go back to Australia. “It was good to get right out of the scene I’d been familiar with in Australia and to be able to cope in another scene too,” he says. “But at that stage I was really too old to be starting a doctorate, and my mother was elderly and declining, and I thought I’d achieved as much as I could.” Back in Australia, Lynch went back to teaching in classrooms in Melbourne’s Ferntree Gully and then in Tasmania, where he was subsequently asked to run a residence set up by the Catholic Church for students attending the University of Tasmania. Lynch says that his wide range of experience has proved a good background for his current assignment, which he has held since 1996: director of the Australian Salesian Missions office, raising about $2 million a year for overseas aid and development, much of which goes to help build and maintain schools in countries ranging from East Timor to the Solomon Islands to farther afield. It’s a job that requires a significant amount of travel. “When we send money abroad, it’s important to follow up with a visit just to see how things are going,” he says. “One’s presence and one’s visiting can be a source of encouragement, and you also see things on the ground.” A humble, easygoing man who likes to poke gentle fun at the differences between Americans and Australians, Lynch says that he has no plans to stop working anytime soon. “Our Salesians usually keep going for as long as they can,” he says. — JONATHAN SAPERS IS A FREELANCE WRITER WHOSE LAST PIECE IN ED. LOOKED AT IDENTIFYING POSSIBLE DROPOUTS BY THE FIRST GRADE. Ed. HARVARD GRADUATE SCHOOL OF EDUCATION


You’re a teacher. The movie version of a book you want your students to read is about to come out. Do you steer students away from it for fear they’ll watch the movie instead of reading? According to a new study by Professor Robert Selman and current doctoral student Tracy Elizabeth, Ed.M.’10, you don’t have to. In fact, as they found when they started creating teaching resource guides for educators, including a recent one for The Giver,

the movie can actually do something amazing for the book:

It can spark a new interest in reading. by katie bacon


he Giver, Lois Lowry’s novel about a society with no war, no grief, and no poverty — but no memories, music, or love, either — is one of those books that lodges itself in your head, demanding to be discussed. Professor Robert Selman says, “I can’t tell you how many kids have told me it’s the best book they’ve ever read.” This is partly why he and current doctoral student Tracy Elizabeth, Ed.M.’10, jumped at the chance when Walden Media approached them to create an educator’s resource guide for The Giver, the film Walden produced, as they had for The Watsons Go to Birmingham the year before. In both cases, the guide has accompanied the release of a movie version of the book and has served as a bridge between the two media. The guide for The Giver draws on a theoretical framework Selman has been developing for the past several years about the interplay between education, ethics, and entertainment, or the three Es. The idea is that a curriculum designed to bring the three Es together will have more of an impact on students academically, socially, and emotionally than one designed only to educate. “The three Es together can strengthen each other and help with the connection between academics and students’ lives,” Selman says. The guide also draws on the relatively new idea of “transmedia,” a term popularized by the comparative media expert Henry Jenkins when he used it in 2003 to describe how different types of media (like television, books, movies, and games) can converge to strengthen the understanding of the original story or product. As Jenkins wrote in a column in MIT’s Technology Review, “Reading across the media sustains a depth of experience that motivates more consumption … [o]ffering new levels of insight and experience.” Selman and Elizabeth think that, given the media habits of today’s students, transmedia may be an essential, powerful, and inescapable way of helping students learn. This fall, in seven classrooms in three states, the guide served as the basis for an exploratory study by Selman and Elizabeth seeking to delve into how a transmedia curriculum may affect students’ motivations to read and learn and how it may affect their social and ethical development.




“Transmedia is a way of increasing engagement, and, with the right kind of discussion, it will also, we hypothesize, impact reading comprehension and ethical reflection,” Selman says. Selman and Elizabeth’s eagerness to create the guide also springs from a depressing fact: According to a 2010 Kaiser Family Foundation study of 8- to 18-year-olds, students outside of school spend a huge amount of time each day — more than seven and a half hours on average — using media. But only 38 minutes of that time (down from 42 minutes five years before) is spent reading. While Selman and Elizabeth point out that the traditional view has been to steer students away from the movie version of a book, for fear that they’ll watch the movie instead of reading, the two researchers hypothesize that creating a deep and thoughtprovoking connection between a movie and a book could actually increase students’ interest in reading that book and that the very act of comparing and contrasting the way a story is told in two media could lead to a deeper understanding of the ideas in the story and of the characters and the choices they make. If it’s an unfortunate given that many students will spend much more of their free time watching TV than they do reading books (seven times more, according to the 2010 study), “what we’re puzzling over is, what can we as educators do to look on the bright side and take advantage of that?” Elizabeth says. “What can we do besides saying stop watching so much TV? What can we do to find the educational opportunities in their viewing time? What types of salient educational themes are they presenting that are also being presented in the book, and how could we possibly use the film as a trampoline to increase interest in the book?” In fact, in the best of circumstances, a high level of interest in both a book and a movie can feed off each other (think about the Harry Potter series). “There is a certain amount of engagement in a really good book and a certain amount of engagement in a really good movie, and if you put those two together, you get exponential engagement,” Selman says. Elizabeth’s own experience as a teacher is part of what led to her excitement about the possibilities of a transmedia connection between books and movies in the classroom. She spent three years as a literacy specialist at an elementary school in South Carolina and then worked as an instructional coach for grades K–5. Beyond

“There is a certain amount of engagement in a really good book and a certain amount of engagement in a really good movie, and if you put those two together, you get exponential engagement.” teaching reading, her job involved working with students on social development, which she would approach through organizing book circles in which students would read and discuss in small groups the issues brought up by various books. As a motivation to read the book and as a reward, Elizabeth started showing the movie versions to her students. Robin Hood (the Walt Disney version) and Because of Winn-Dixie were two of the movies they watched. What she found was that not only did the students love the activity, but it touched on many of the educational standards that were required in South Carolina. “Once kids learned that there was a movie version of the books or stories we were reading in class, they would express delighted curiosity in the ways in which the film would tell the story. What would characters look or act like? What parts of the book would the film include or exclude? Students were very excited by the possibility of seeing their favorite characters come to life. After being ‘invited’ to a movie viewing, students notably increased their focus when reading — they wanted to consume every detail of the book in preparation for critically analyzing the film. [It was] very cute — and a great way to motivate reluctant readers.”  In the case of The Giver, a story about a boy who discovers that his world has traded away free choice, human will, and emotion in the quest for a perfectly orderly society (the Community) both the movie and the book are targeted to adolescents and take on complicated ideas, such as when is it necessary to lie and to break rules? What sort of purpose does experiencing strong emotions — whether love, anger, or grief — serve in our society? If a society believes in euthanasia, when is it acceptable, and when is it not? The guide, freely avail-

— Professor Robert Selman

able online, can be used by teachers, parents, or anyone who wants some ideas about engaging ways to approach The Giver. Following the three-E framework, some activities are designed to build critical thinking skills. For instance, one activity challenges students to discuss how the lack of any works of fiction or history in the Community affects the lives of its residents. Another challenges them to create an imagined timeline over the past hundred years to show how the Community came to its current incarnation. Other activities are designed to help students think through ethical dilemmas or to examine an issue through different perspectives. In one activity, students are asked to play the role of town leaders charged with protecting their citizens from suffering. Where should the line be between societal protection and autonomy? In another, they’re asked to categorize the rules in the community portrayed in The Giver and those in their own communities. Which are the most important ones to follow and why? The last set of activities encourages students to think through the creative decisions made in both the book and the film. For instance, in the film, some of the scenes are in black and white; others are in color. How does the director decide when to make the transition? In another exercise, students are asked to create a soundtrack or playlist for the film, tying in the lyrics of certain songs with the mood of a given scene. The extensive variety of activities means that teachers could spend weeks teaching the curriculum if they choose or could just try out a few. Elizabeth describes the guide as a “lunch buffet where there are a whole lot of different options. It’s up to the educator to choose which kind of meal is most appropriate for her HARVARD GRADUATE SCHOOL OF EDUCATION


Sample classroom activities from The Giver Educator’s Resource Guide WRITING Challenge students to consider how schooling is portrayed in the story. What types of subjects do Jonas and his peers study in school? Consider the following excerpt from the book: School seemed a little different today. The classes were the same: language and communications; science and technology; civil procedures and government. But during breaks for recreation periods and the midday meal, the other new Twelves were abuzz with descriptions of their first day of training. Compare Jonas’ classes to your own. How are the subjects similar? Different? Further, think about what it means to be a teacher in the Community. Put yourself in the shoes of two characters from the story and write about what Jonas’ typical school day in the Community would be like for each of them.

MUSIC CONNECTION Irony is a literary technique that contrasts the expectations of a situation with the events as they actually happen. For example, the way Jonas’ Community uses the term “voluntary” to describe required community service is ironic. Invite students to listen to Alanis Morissette’s song “Ironic.” Encourage them to consider the lyrics and identify some of the ironic situations Morissette references. access the full guide: listen to an edcast with author of 34


the giver, lois lowry:


students.” The guide, with its emphasis on comparing different texts and considering the author’s (or screenwriter’s) purpose in narrative choices, is also designed to work with the Common Core standards. While the guide was timed for release with the movie version of The Giver in August 2014, teachers in Massachusetts and North Carolina tried out aspects of it last spring. One of them, a sixth-grade English teacher at a private school in North Carolina, found that her students were particularly drawn to the guide’s debates, an activity she hadn’t tried before in her classroom. In one particular debate, which drew from the Community’s rule in The Giver that people must never lie about anything, one group was assigned the Community’s position; the other was assigned to argue that sometimes lies can be harmless or even necessary. She recalls that the students responded enthusiastically to the exercise. “Kids loved the debates. They found them extremely challenging because it was the luck of the draw what side they would take; some of them had to take the position of a belief structure they don’t have,” she says. Starting in October, seven classrooms, again in Massachusetts and North Carolina, as well as Colorado, began testing several specific sections of the guide as part of Selman and Elizabeth’s study — the first of its kind. As Elizabeth wrote in her dissertation proposal, “A trend in our culture is to translate novels into motion pictures, yet no studies have been conducted to investigate how the teaching of a novel and its movie adaptation may affect students’ academic and social competencies.” To get at the answers, Elizabeth will conduct before and after surveys and interviews with students and will examine writing samples and transcripts of the class discussions. She’ll also go into classrooms to do a “movie club” with the students, where they’ll watch the film version of The Giver together and then talk about the film and how it contrasts with the book. Elizabeth points out that the research is very exploratory and that the goal is to use this study as the basis for more studies, with control groups, that will get further into the question of whether — and how — movies paired with books in a thoughtful way can increase both learning and student engagement. “What we will be able to do is dig into the brains of adolescents and find out what excites them in terms of transmedia or

“What we will be able to do is dig book-to-film translations, and then use those points of data as launching pads for further research,” Elizabeth says. And with this study, Selman and Elizabeth hope to get at something deeper too as they observe how students wrestle with the ethical decisions the characters make and how the students apply that thinking to challenges they may face in their own lives. As Selman and his colleague Janet Kwok, Ed.M.’08, Ed.D.’14, write in a forthcoming paper, “Being able to understand and observe how peers make their own moral and ethical choices could make early adolescence a much less lonely, and less destructive, place. Therefore, tweens are an optimal target audience for what we now begin to call the three Es, adding ethical reflection to entertainment and education.” Selman and Elizabeth already have a few more transmedia guides in the works. Depending on the results of this research and future studies, they may look to do even more. “Given the digital age, where there’s so much screen consumption, if we do find that this work is positively affecting kids, we could really take off with it and use it as an opportunity to promote learning,” Elizabeth says. Meanwhile, Elizabeth is also keeping her eye out for future projects that, like The Giver, challenge an adolescent to think deeply about the book he is reading or the movie he is watching. As Elizabeth explains, “I’m looking for projects where the story has depth and has with it some sort of authentic essence of adolescence. So that means, is there something going on that adolescents in real life might struggle with? Is there a way that this narrative can open doors for conversations or trains of thought for how to navigate these issues? So I’m really interested in conflict resolution, ways to avoid violence, to avoid bullying, ways to develop healthy romantic but also family and friendship relationships — those are the kinds of narratives that jump out to me.” In other words, she wants projects that help adolescents find their place in society by giving them the chance to think about and discuss its ethics and values. One of the teachers who will be testing out the curriculum as part of the Harvard study, says the challenge that the guide provides students, on both an intellectual and an ethical level, is a large part of why she agreed to take part in the project. “The guide taps into some pretty big themes, and it lends itself to some good higher-level thinking and deeper depth of knowledge,” she says. “I believe that if you treat kids as the thinkers and

into the brains of adolescents and find out what excites them in terms of transmedia or book-to-film translations, and then use those points of data as launching pads for further research.” — doctoral candidate Tracy Elizabeth, Ed.M.’10

learners they are, they will rise to the occasion. For too many years we weren’t asking kids these big questions, and they’re very capable of talking about them.” — Katie Bacon is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in The Atlantic and The Boston Globe. Her last piece for Ed. was on Lecturer David Rose and UDL. Ed. HARVARD GRADUATE SCHOOL OF EDUCATION


Professor David Perkins likes to tell this story: Indian leader Mahatma Gandhi was getting on a train. One of his sandals slipped off and fell to the ground. The train was moving, and there was no time to go back. Without hesitation, Gandhi took off his second sandal and threw it toward the first. Asked by his colleague why he did that, he said one sandal wouldn’t do him any good, but two would certainly help someone else. As Perkins writes in his new book, Future Wise, “People cherish the story as a marvelous example of a charitable act. And so it is, on a small scale, seizing a singular moment.” But as he also points out, and as he told an audience at the Future of Learning institute held this past summer at the Ed School, it was more than that: It was also a knowledgeable act. By throwing that sandal, Gandhi had two important insights: He knew what people in the world needed, and he knew what to let go of. Educators, Perkins says, need to embrace these same insights. They need to start asking themselves what he considers to be one of the most important questions in education:





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hat’s worth learning in school? It’s a question that students have been lobbing at teachers for years, in a slightly different form. “In the back of the class, there’s that idly waving hand,” Perkins writes. “You’ve been teaching long enough to be pretty sure that hand is going to go up as soon as you got started on this topic, and so it does, with an annoying indolence. All right. You gesture toward the hand, Let’s hear it. “The student: ‘Why do we need to know this?’” As a teacher, Perkins says he hates that question. Teachers work hard at what they do, and the question is disrespectful. Yet, he admits, the question is actually a good one — an “uppity version” of what’s worth learning in school. (It’s also one he admits having asked once or twice himself.) “When that ballistic missile comes from the back of the room, it’s a good reminder that the question doesn’t just belong to state school boards, authors of textbooks, writers of curriculum standards, and other elite,” he says. “It’s on the minds of our students.” That’s why Perkins decided to devote an entire book, and many lectures and discussions, to how that question gets answered. These days, he says we teach a lot that isn’t going to matter, in a significant way, in students’ lives. There’s also much we aren’t teaching that would be a better return on investment. As a result, as educators, “we have a somewhat quiet crisis of content,” Perkins writes, “quiet not for utter lack of voices but because other concerns in education tend to muffle them.” These other concerns are what he calls rival learning agendas: information, achievement, and expertise.


For starters, most education has become a mastery of a very large body of information, even if it’s not what Perkins calls lifeworthy — likely to matter, in any meaningful way, in the lives learners are expected to live. “It’s nice to know things. I like to know things. You like to know things,” Perkins says. “But there are issues of balance, particularly in the digital age. The information in textbooks 38



is not necessarily what you need or would like to have at your fingertips.” Instead, even though most people would say that education should prepare you for life, much of what is offered in schools doesn’t work in that direction, Perkins says. Educators are “fixated” on building up students’ reservoirs of knowledge, often because we default to what has always been done. “Conventional curriculum is chained to the bicycle rack,” he says. “It sits solidly in the minds of parents: ‘I learned that. Why aren’t my children learning it?’ The enormous investment in textbooks and the cost of revising them gives familiar elements of the curriculum a longer life span than they might perhaps deserve. Curriculum suffers from something of a crowded garage effect: It generally seems safer and easier to keep the old bicycle around than to throw it out.” As a result, “the lifeworthiness of the multitudinous facts and ideas in the typical curriculum is spotty,” he says. “It seems not to have been thought through very carefully.” And simply having a vast reservoir of knowledge isn’t helpful if it’s not being used. “Knowledge is for going somewhere,” Perkins says, not just for accumulating. But too often, we tend to focus on short-term successes — scoring well on a quiz, acing a spelling test. Unfortunately all of that test knowledge, all of that accumulated knowledge we thought was worth knowing, becomes useless if not used. “The hard fact is that our minds hold on only to knowledge we have occasion to use in some corner of our lives,” Perkins writes. “Overwhelmingly, knowledge unused is forgotten. It’s gone.” Here’s where, during the Future of Learning session, Perkins asked the audience to think about something they learned during the first dozen years of schooling that really matters in their lives today, beyond basics like learning to read and not including specialty professional skills. “The frightening thing when I have these conversations is how hard it is for people to answer,” he says. “I find that frightening. It also says a lot about the current state of education.” Take mitosis, the process of cell division. During the Future session, he asked everyone in the audience — hundreds of people — to raise their hands if they had studied mitosis in high school. Pretty much every hand went up. He asked how many people remember, basically, what it is. About half went up. He then asked how many have used their knowledge of mitosis in some way in the past 10 years. One hand went up. Perkins acknowledged that he personally finds mitosis fascinating and stressed that with learning, there should always be room for passion, “but in terms of generalized education and what everyone should learn, something like mitosis doesn’t score well.”

WHAT ABOUT THE DISCIPLINES? A few years ago, at an international conference on thinking, Perkins asked the audience this question:


Just as educators are pushing students to build a huge reservoir of knowledge, they are also focused on having students master material, sometimes at the expense of relevance. This happens, for example, with the achievement gap. While Perkins is quick to say that the achievement gap is a highly important problem that should be taken seriously, in general, he says, “achievement” is about mastering a topic and less about providing lifeworthy content. The achievement gap asks if students are achieving X. Instead, it might be more useful to look at the relevance gap, which asks if X is going to matter to the lives students are likely to lead. “If X is a good mastery of reading and writing, both questions earn a big yes!” Perkins says. “Skilled, fluent, and engaged reading and writing mark both a challenging gap and a high-payoff attainment. That knowledge goes somewhere. However, if X is quadratic equations, the answers don’t match. Mastering quadratic equations is challenging, but those equations are not so lifeworthy.” Perkins says we can fill in X with thousands of topics that make up the typical curriculum, such as geography. Students are drilled to remember state capitals and major rivers and rewarded as “achieving” when they score well. And while it’s nice and sometimes useful to know those things, Perkins argues that instead, knowing how the location of rivers and harbors and other features of the land have been shaped and continue to shape the course of history offers more in terms of lifelong usefulness — more so than “a bag full of facts. All that talk about achievement leaves little room for discussing what’s being achieved.”


And then there’s what Perkins calls “the Holy Grail” of learning in school: becoming an expert. The typical math curriculum is a good example of how we want learners to move toward expertise in a subject, with little regard for usefulness. Arithmetic leads to algebra, including many “hardly used twists and turns” of advanced algebra, then to geometry and calculus, “an entire subject that hardly anyone ever uses,” Perkins writes. Unfortunately, if someone questions whether this expertise serves students well and instead suggests more life-relevant topics, Perkins says the common reaction is: “We’re sacrificing rigor!” 40



What do you believe are some of the most important knowledge and skills for students to learn toward our complex future? The responses included, in random order: • technology • empathy • environment • communication • global perspectives • science • learning to learn • the arts • collaboration • mathematics • thinking • spirituality

• health • ethics • society and how it works • dealing with conflict • self-understanding

Which did the participants rank at the top most often? • thinking • ethics • self-understanding • communication • empathy And at the bottom? • science • technology • mathematics • society and how it works “What happened to the disciplines? Oh, there they are, way at the end,” Perkins writes. “What are we to make of all that?”


Share your thoughts on Facebook or Twitter.

But that doesn’t have to be the case. Instead of building during the first 12 years of schooling toward expertise in an advanced topic like calculus that hardly ever comes up in our lives, Perkins says students can instead become “expert amateurs” in something like statistics — a rigorous topic that is also used in daily life. In fact, expert amateurism works great, he says, in most of what we do in our lives — raising children, filing taxes, appreciating art, understanding insurance rates, or dealing with our own health care. Perkins is very clear that expertise in a specific field is not bad; in fact, he encourages it and assumes it will happen at the college or university level. But he advocates that in today’s world, younger students need to first master the fundamentals of key learning and then decide where they want to specialize. o we come back to the question: What is worth learning? In his book, Perkins promises that he is not going to answer that question, at least not in a tidy way. There’s no list of 1,000 things we must know or teach. Perkins says


there would be no way to create a definitive list because there are lots of things worth learning at any given time or for a specialized career or even simply because we enjoy learning. Instead, he does know that the encyclopedic approach to learning that happens in most schools that focuses primarily on achievement and expertise doesn’t make sense. “The fixation on the heap of information in the textbooks is itself part of the problem because the world we are educating learners for is something of a moving target,” he says. Historically, the first 12 or so years of schooling have focused on educating for the known, “the tried and true, the established canon,” he writes. “This made very good sense in the many periods and places where most children’s lives were likely to be more or less like their parents’ lives. However, wagering that tomorrow will be pretty much like yesterday does not seem to be a very good bet today. Perhaps we need a different vision of education, a vision that foregrounds educating for the unknown as much as for the known.” And to do that, Perkins says we need to rethink what’s worth learning and what’s worth letting go of — in a radical way. “We do kind of need to blow up the system and start fresh,” he says. “Well, maybe not blow up the whole thing, but at least some corners.” One of those corners is the drive to educate through highstakes testing, he says. “It’s clear that NCLB has not worked well,” with pressures on teachers and students, sometimes leading to instances of cheating and maneuvering. With high-stakes testing, he says, there’s a fixation on “summative” versus “formative” assessment — evaluating students’ mastery of material with exams and final projects (achievements) versus providing ongoing feedback that can improve learning. “You end up shooting for the Big contest, the Big test, at the end of the year,” he says. “It’s a distortion.” As a result, “students are asked to learn a great deal for the class and for the test that likely has no role in the lives they will live — that is, a great deal that simply is not likely to come up again for them in a meaningful way.” Perkins stresses that he isn’t taking a stance against assessment, which he says is critical for learning. Instead, “it’s more about how assessment is made. This is a vote for a richer form of achievement.” To be fair, he says, the assessment “game” as it’s usually played in education seems perfectly reasonable — at first. Tests “are socially pretty efficient. You can distribute them widely and score them efficiently,” he says. “We give those tests. We evaluate those tests. But that makes for shallow learning and understanding. … You cram to do well on the test but may not have the understanding. It unravels.”

Instead, we should be moving away from an understanding of something — the information on the test, the list of state capitals — to an understanding with something. With the latter, he says, students are able to then make connections to other things. For example, rather than just learning facts about the French Revolution, students should learn about the French Revolution as a way to understand issues like world conflict or poverty or the struggle between church and state. Without those connections, Perkins says he’s not surprised that so many people have trouble naming things they learned early on that still have meaning today or that disengaged students are raising their hands, asking why they need to know something. “And students are completely right,” he says. “First-graders are very interested [in school], but over time, engagement slides and slides. There are often multiple reasons why, but one is that they don’t see the relevance of what they are learning. They don’t see how it serves their lives.” Growing up in Farmington, Maine, a small town with just under 5,000 residents, Perkins remembers it feeling safe and peaceful, a great place to come of age. He also remembers being bored with school through eighth grade. “I got excited in high school when I encountered a range of topics treated at a higher level,” he says. But, he acknowledges, he was probably unique. “I was lucky, I think, in that I’m not so much the kind of person that Future Wise was written for. I like a lot of knowledge for knowledge’s sake. Algebra, history — I can really get into those things. I don’t have to ask myself how is this going to be enlightening my life.” Still, despite his own experience, he says that in the bigger picture of learning, we need to remember Gandhi. “As the train started up and Gandhi tossed down his second sandal, he showed wisdom about what to keep and what to let go of,” Perkins says. “Those are both central questions for education as we choose for today’s learners the sandals they need for tomorrow’s journey.” Ed.



news & notes Mercer Diming in her WAVES uniform.



Ellen Mercer Diming, M.A.T., is now 92 years old. After leaving teaching, she spent time tutoring and proofreading. She writes, “I am grateful to the GI Bill for my year at Harvard. A highlight of my long life.” Prior to coming to Harvard, she served in the U.S. Navy WAVES from 1944 to 1946. To read a profile of her life, go to ellen.html.


Esther Roberts Sokol, M.A.T., a pianistteacher, performed Schubert, Schumann, and Shostakovich at the Raphael Trio Chamber Music Workshop in New Hampshire in August 2014.



Eve Sullivan, M.A.T., participated in the Doha International Family Institute last spring in Doha, Qatar, to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the International Year of the Family. Read her related piece in the Huffington Post:

John Stephens, M.A.T., retired in 2012 after 54 years teaching history and economics at the University School of Milwaukee. He writes, “Harvard Professor Raj Chetty was one of my best students.”


Peter Manos, M.A.T., is the author of Care of the Difficult Patient: A Nurse’s Guide, with Joan Braun, a registered nurse, and Dear Babalu: Letters to an Advice Columnist.


Gregory Alexander, Ed.M., worked as a community college counselor for 10 years before getting his Ph.D. in counseling psychology in 1984. Since then, he has worked as a psychologist, first at a VA hospital in New York and, currently, in private practice.




Louis DeFreitas, Ed.M., taught in the New York City school system for 24 years. After retirement, he was a school administrator in Isle of Wight, Virginia, for two years.

Robert Coan, M.A.T., spent 37 years teaching public school. He has traveled extensively throughout the United States, Canada, and Ireland.

Howard Rosenberg, Ed.M., is a professor of art and art education at the University of Nevada–Reno. He was a member of the Nevada System of Higher Education Board of Regents from 1996 to 2008 and is currently a member of the Washoe County School District Board of Trustees (until 2016).


Janet Emig, Ed.D., retired from Rutgers University in 1991 after 20 years as an English professor. For the next three years, she served as chair of the National Standards in English/Language Arts. More recently, she has taught summer session at the University of British Columbia. During her career, she received several awards, including the James R. Squire Award from the National Council of Teachers of English and the Distinguished Scholar Lifetime Achievement Award from the Literacy Research Association.


Terry Cobb Wall, M.A.T., is a volunteer tutor at North Carolina State University. Prior to her retirement, she directed a teacher recruitment program at the school.


Francis “Tuck” Amory, M.A.T., was a professor in urban studies at Worcester State University in Massachusetts for 32 years. He runs a practice in clinical social work for individuals, couples, and families, and serves on a variety of agency boards. He also spends much time gardening.



David Mahaffey, Ed.M., has been a winemaker in Napa Valley, California, for 34 years. He taught winemaking at Napa Valley College for 10 years.

Join the Harvard Innovation Lab’s Advisor Network Are you an alum with start-up experience? Industry expertise? The Harvard Innovation Lab invites you to share your knowledge with Harvard i-lab student entrepreneurs by joining the lab’s virtual Advisor Network. The lab is looking for alumni from across the university and around the world to become i-lab advisers. There is no one adviser profile. The lab welcome those with startup experience, industry knowledge, and functional expertise who are excited to guide students from all the Harvard schools, including the Ed School. The students will be developing new ventures in a wide range of areas and will be at various stages of development. Apply to be an adviser in three easy steps:


Richard Alan Sobel, Ed.M., is a clinical psychologist in private practice in San Diego.


Betsy Weaver, Ed.M.’76, Ed.D., is the founder and CEO of TPR Media, dba Ubicare, a communications services agency.


Frank Carnabuci, Ed.M., has been headmaster at the Birch Wathen Lenox School in New York since 1992. Previously, he was assistant headmaster at the Dalton School.


Valerie Tripp, Ed.M., is a children’s book author. She is best known for her work writing for the American Girl series of historical fiction. She is also the founder and editorial director of the Boys Camp series.


Simone Bloom Nathan, Ed.M., recently published Eight Candles and a Tree, a picture book about a child who celebrates both Christmas and Hanukkah. She writes, “I was inspired to write the book after I was unable to find a picture book on this topic.” For more information: Steven Blum, Ed.M., is a lecturer at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. He recently published the book Negotiating Your Investments. Deb Hirsch, Ed.M.’86, Ed.D., recently started as executive director of the Teaching and Learning Lab at the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation. Hirsch is developing and implementing a new model for teacher education: a graduate school and a laboratory, focused in an urban public school system and affiliated with a nearby university.


1. Promote the excellence in research and teaching in education happening at Boston’s only public research university. 2. Expand community and school partnerships to advance our mission of social justice through engaged scholarship. 3. Enhance our capacity to create leaders and professionals in education who value and reflect the diversity and complexity of our urban schools and communities.

THREE GOALS FOR FUN IN BOSTON: 1. Exploring the city’s neighborhoods with my six-year-old son. 2. Running, biking, and walking along the Charles River. 3. Great restaurants!


MICHAEL MIDDLETON, Ed.M., was named dean of the College of Education and Human Development at the University of Massachusetts–Boston. Previously, he was chair of the education department at the University of New Hampshire.

Jon Price, Ed.M., program manager for Intel Corporation in corporate affairs research and evaluation, recently co-edited and was a contributing author to ICT in Education in Global Context: Emerging Trends Report 2013–2014. The report addresses information and communications technology in education.


Dionne Grant McLaughlin, Ed.M., earned her Ed.D. from the University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill in 2011. Her first book, Insights: How Expert Principals Make Difficult Decisions, will be published in February 2015. She was recently named an assistant professor in the education department at North Carolina Central University in Durham, North Carolina. HARVARD GRADUATE SCHOOL OF EDUCATION


In Memory Natalie Fenelon Ousley, GSE’45 Martha Tucker Harris, GSE’46 Mary Barrett, Ed.M.’47 Ellis Mortimer Benson, M.A.T.’47 Kaya Sabiha Toygar, Ed.M.’49 Mary Ricketson Bullard, M.A.T.’50 Helen Lewis Cackener, M.A.T.’50 Marguerite Bottjer, M.A.T.’54 Gordon Allan, M.A.T.’39, C.A.S.’56 Joy Scott, Ed.M.’56 Ancel Tikasingh, M.A.T.’57 Eleanor Mary Priestley, GSE’55, C.A.S.’58 William Friend, M.A.T.’59 Ann Rosenblum Karnovsky, Ed.M.’60 Esther Elizabeth Matthews, Ed.M.’43, Ed.D.’60 Joseph Hugh Strain, GSE’58, Ed.D.’60 Wanida Poonsirivong, Ed.M.’61 Janice Thresher, Ed.M.’61 Arnold Dunn, Ed.M.’62 Renn Tolman, GSE’62 David Sena, Ed.M.’63 Leverett Davis, Ed.M.’64 Janice Murray, M.A.T.’64 Alice Jeghelian, Ed.M.’65 John Reed, Ed.D.’65 Margaret Henderson, M.A.T.’66 Michael Barry Katz, M.A.T.’62, Ed.D.’66 Gordon Bruce Megibow, M.A.T.’66 Robert Bethoney, M.A.T.’67 Mary Welsh Vise, GSE’67 Mary Olney, M.A.T.’68 Nancy Ahlquist Juechter, Ed.M.’69 Joseph Young Jr., Ed.M.’54, Ed.D.’72 Russell Beecher, GSE’71, Ed.M.’73, Ed.D.’73 Sandra Moore, Ed.M.’73 Joseph Walker III, Ed.M.’74 Alphonse Angelli, Ed.M.’78 Ann Majestic, Ed.M.’78 Matthew Rutter, Ed.M.’78 John Robert Tebeau, Ed.M.’08 Laura Miller Cheung Chen, Ed.M.’09 Maureen Brinkworth, Ed.M.’06, Ed.D.’13


Erika Dreifus, Ed.M., joined Fig Tree Books as media editor. Fig Tree Books is a new publishing company in New York specializing in fiction on the American Jewish experience. Dreifus invites fellow alumni to follow the company’s Twitter news and discussions @FigTreeBks. Elizabeth Wong, Ed.M., recently became the philanthropic director with Foundation Source, a company that provides support services for private foundations. Based in Seattle, Wong will be advising foundation clients on the West Coast. She is a former senior program officer and consultant to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. 


Pamela Rollins, Ed.D., a certified clinical speech language pathologist and founding director of the Early Communication, Language, and Social Skills Preschools at the University of Texas–Dallas, for children with Autism spectrum disorder, published a book last fall, Facilitating Early Social Communication Skills. Abby Shuman, Ed.M., completed her doctorate in clinical psychology in 2001. Her psychology practice focuses on teenagers, young adults, and their families. She is the founder and president of the Mica Foundation, a nonprofit that promotes responsible animal stewardship. She is chair of the board of Andover Bread Loaf, a program created to enhance teaching and testing globally.


Will Crossley, Ed.M., became president of the Piney Woods School, a 105-year-old, predominantly African American boarding school in Mississippi. Crossley was a student at Piney Woods. Prior to his current position, he served as a senior executive service appointee under President Barack Obama, working in the Office for Civil Rights at the Department of Education. listen to an edcast with crossley: 44



Isela Gonzalez Santana, Ed.M., is a tenured English instructor at Merritt College, a community college district in Oakland, California. At Merritt, she coordinates the Puente Project and has assisted many underrepresented students in transferring to four-year universities. Richard Santana, Ed.M., travels across the United States speaking to schools about resilience and change. He created his own speaking bureau, Homeboy Goes to Harvard Productions, and trains others to speak about their transformational experiences.


Dave Louis, Ed.M., received two awards at the end of his first year as an assistant professor in higher education at Texas Tech University (TTU): the Texas Tech Alumni Association New Faculty Award and the TTU College of Education New Faculty Excellence in Teaching Award. Eric Sasson, Ed.M., has been running Camp Akeela, a residential summer camp in Vermont, with his wife since 2008. The camp works with children who are struggling socially, many with Asperger’s syndrome, and helps them develop 21st-century skills while experiencing a traditional New England summer camp.


Lindsey Boden, Ed.M., joined AIM Academy this summer as director of enrollment management and financial aid. AIM is located in Conshohocken, Pennsylvania, and focuses on children with language-based learning differences, including dyslexia, dysgraphia, and dyscalculia. Kevin Colleary, Ed.M.’94, Ed.D., an adjunct professor at Fordham University in New York City, moved to Lisbon, Portugal, where, he writes, “I’ll be learning Portuguese, exploring the city, and will start teaching online courses for the Graduate School of Education at Fordham University in the fall 2014 term.”


Learning Never Stops!

Rachel Schechter, Ed.M., and Don Schechter announce the birth of their child, Zoey Alexandra, on February 22, 2014. Schechter was also named a Lexia Hero by Lexia, a Rosetta Stone company, for her work as a senior research manager and for her contribution towards the mission of teaching all English-speaking children how to read.

Here are a couple of upcoming professional education opportunities for spring 2015 that you don’t want to miss! May 7–9, 2015

educating immigrant students: attending to individuals and their communities

June 1–5, 2015 school turnaround leaders

For the full list, go to

Schechter with Zoey Alexandra.

Christina Tobias-Nahi, Ed.M., managed TechGirls this past summer. The program, sponsored by the United States Department of State, provides tech-savvy girls from the Middle East and North Africa with the know-how and resources to pursue higher education and careers in technology.


Emily Jordan Cox, Ed.M., served as the first education adviser to Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe. Currently, she works as Beebe’s director of policy, handling issues including education and budget matters. At the conclusion of Beebe’s term this January, she will manage government relations for the city of Little Rock, Arkansas.

JARRID WHITNEY, Ed.M., executive

director of admissions and financial aid at Caltech, made a surprise guest appearance on Modern Family this past October. Whitney says they filmed in August during a long day — 6 a.m. until 5 p.m. The storyline had to do with an admissions tour for Alex, one of the Dunphy daughters. Initially, Whitney was asked simply to be there to make sure the script was an accurate portrayal of what might actually happen on a campus tour. He ended up making it into a scene.

Whitney (far right) with the cast.

ON MEETING THE MODERN FAMILY I got to meet with all the main Dunphy family. Julie (“Claire”) and I chatted about our kids. Ty (“Phil”) commented on the fact that I was wearing a blue blazer on a 95-degree day once he saw I was in one of the scenes. Another funny interaction was with Sarah (“Haley”). She was in character looking at materials on my “admissions table.” Her role was to seem disinterested and thus she messed up my table of brochures. Since I’m an admissions officer by trade, I neatly squared up all my brochures after each take.



Elizabeth Hawkins Lincoln, Ed.M., is mom to two girls: Adeline and Clara. Since graduating, she has worked as an instructional technologist and a nonprofit program director and executive director. She has also worked in Uganda and has gone “gorillatrekking” in Rwanda. Kay LaBanca, Ed.M., has been a team leader, English department chair, reading specialist, literacy coach, and staff development teacher in three high-poverty middle schools since 2007. She has also taught English in China, South Korea, and India, and was a teacher leader and English teacher in Montgomery County Public Schools in Maryland. Rich Reddick, Ed.M.’98, Ed.D., an associate professor at the University of Texas–Austin and coordinator for their College and University Student Personnel Administration, had a mini-reunion with four Ed School graduates at a National Urban League/Educational Testing Service meeting in Princeton, New Jersey, in September, including Frank Tuitt, C.A.S.’96, Ed.M.’97, Ed.D.’03; Dave Louis, Ed.M.’98; Robyn Ince, Ed.M.’97; and Hal Smith, Ed.M.’95, Ed.D.’00.

Laura Vago, Ed.M., teaches seventh-grade science and serves as a curriculum support leader in Malden, Massachusetts. She is a board member of the Massachusetts Teachers Association, where she also serves on the New Member Committee.

Kerry Thompson, Ed.M.’08, spoke to students at the Ed School in November about her journey as an individual with Ushers Syndrome, a form of deaf-blindness. She is currently a fellow with the German Marshall Fund of the United States and a program associate with the Disability Rights Fund, based in Boston.

Victor Jones, Ed.M., was selected by the National Business Institute to present a seminar, Special Education Laws Made Simple, this past November in Shreveport, Louisiana. Jones is an attorney at the law firm of Kelly Hart & Pitre in New Orleans, where he provides special education advice to Louisiana’s charter schools and has represented education entities in labor and employment matters.   Nanayaa Kumi, Ed.M., is working for the Peace Corps under the Obama administration, recruiting and placing volunteers to teach overseas in the places they are needed most. Kristin Murphy, Ed.M. recently completed her Ph.D. in special education at the University of Florida, where she conducted research on two Institute of Education Sciences grant projects and assisted in the preparation of the proposal for the CEEDAR (Collaboration for Effective Educator Development, Accountability, and Reform) Center, which received $25 million in funding from the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education Programs. She is currently an assistant professor of special education at University of Massachusetts– Boston and lives in Cambridge. 

Thompson at the Ed School.


Luis Enrique García Brigard, Ed.M., a graduate of the International Education Policy Program, was appointed deputy secretary of education of Colombia in August 2014. Prior, he founded several companies, including Envoys, Off Bound Adventures, and Appian Education Adventures. He also started two nonprofits: Volunteers Colombia and Teach For Colombia, a partner of Teach For America.

read a story about thompson:

Emily Carroll, Ed.M., is founding principal of KIPP AMP Elementary School in Brooklyn, New York. The school opened in August 2013 with 103 kindergartners and currently has 210 kindergartners and first-graders.

Will You Be in the AREA for AERA? This year, the annual American Educational Research Association (AERA) meeting runs April 16–20 in Chicago. The focus is “Toward Justice: Culture, Language, and Heritage in Education Research and Praxis.” The Ed School will hold a reception on Saturday, April 18, from 7 to 9 p.m. For details and location, go to the alumni office site: Tuitt, Louis, Ince, Smith, Reddick




Shannon O’Brien, Ed.M., started Whole U ( in 2012, an agency dedicated to supporting people in living balanced, purposeful lives.

Do Anything Fun Lately?


Anissa Conner, assistant director of alumni relations and the HGSE Fund (R) and Michael Goetz, Ed.M.’15, a student in the Higher Education

Cyd McKenna, Ed.M., joined the campaign of her former boss, Vincent “Buddy” Cianci, former mayor of Providence, Rhode Island, which is McKenna’s hometown. Cianci previously served two terms as the city’s mayor, starting in 1974. “I’m excited to be running Buddy’s campaign. I believe in Buddy and everything he’s done for Providence, and his leadership now is what is needed to take Providence to the next level,” McKenna told local Providence blog Cianci was defeated in November.


Drew Coyne, Ed.M., teaches full time in Westport, Connecticut. He is founder of One Goal Prep, an admissions consulting firm.


Jessica Faith Carter, Ed.M., is working on her Ph.D. in multicultural special education at the University of Texas–Austin. She works as a program manager for the New Teacher Project.


Ali Crocker, Ed.M., teamed up with illustrator Mark Marderosian and Jacqui Fishman, Ed.M.’85, to create a DVD series, Drawing with Mark, and Angels from the Attic, a collection of learning materials, activities, comics, and toys. The work is designed to bring creativity and the arts back into homes, schools, and libraries — particularly, Crocker says, in communities where the budgets for these programs are being severely cut. Lissa Young, Ed.M.’09, Ed.D., is an assistant professor in the department of behavioral sciences and leadership at the United States Military Academy at West Point. She has also worked making rum for Privateer in Ipswich, Massachusetts.

Program, did and we have the photo to prove it! (Beat Yale!) Where’s your fun photo?


Anjali Adukia, Ed.M.’03, Ed.M.’12, Ed.D., joined the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy this past fall as an assistant professor. Her primary interests concern improving access to education in developing countries, particularly at the intersection of education and health. She’ll be teaching courses related to education and development economics. Vanessa Beary, Ed.M.’11, Ed.D., is a fellow with the Franklin Fellowship Program in Washington, D.C. In her role, she serves as a senior adviser on youth entrepreneurship and partnerships at the U.S. Department of State. She is working with partners to design, implement, and evaluate entrepreneurship education programs for disadvantaged young people living in challenging and under-resourced environments. Josh Klaris, Ed.L.D., became director of school leadership services for Generation Ready, a professional learning service provider for teachers. Klaris will focus exclusively on consulting with schools about principal leadership and developing and supporting ongoing leadership offerings. Prior, Klaris was the founder, principal, and executive director at DREAM Charter School in East Harlem, New York. He also served as a resident principal with the U.S. Department of Education.

LONG PHAN, Ed.M., spent last summer

interning at the White House in the Office of Public Engagement where he conducted outreach to the business community. Recently, he moved back to his hometown, Seattle, to work on outreach and implementation planning for the Seattle Preschool Program, the city’s universal preschool initiative in the mayor’s Office for Education

WHAT MADE YOU WANT TO GO BACK TO YOUR HOMETOWN? Seattle has a reputation of being one of the most educated cities in the country, but what most people don’t realize is that many of those people didn’t grow up here. I grew up in a community where more than 70 percent of students are low income, more than two-thirds are students of color, and only one-quarter of students actually complete college. I believe that all students should have access to educational opportunity and economic success regardless of their zip code, and I want to dedicate the rest of my career to making that a reality for students in this region.







G 1. Student musicians from Conservatory Lab Charter School kicked off the Community Celebration.

The HGSE campus was buzzing on September 19 as more than 1,200 students, faculty, alumni, and friends gathered for a daylong event, “Critical Conversations and Bold Ideas.” Marking the launch of HGSE’s $250 million fundraising campaign, the program featured high-profile speakers and faculty discussing the topics that matter most in education today. Dean James Ryan also outlined the school’s vision for the future, asserting that HGSE is uniquely positioned to change the world through education. Highlights of the day included talks by U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and Harlem Children’s Zone CEO Geoffrey Canada, Ed.M.’75; a musical performance by Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Project; and “8x8,” a series of eight-minute talks by eight faculty members with bold ideas for improving education. — Brigham Fay learn more about the campaign and watch videos of the day’s events:




2. Geoffrey Canada, Ed.M.’75, said during his keynote address, “The only chance we have to make a good life is to get an education.” 3. Marcos Suares, member of the Network D Young Men’s Leadership Program in the Boston Public Schools, introduced U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. 4. The audience was treated to a performance by world-renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma. 5. Following her speech, Harvard University President Drew Gilpin Faust took a few selfies with students and Dean Ryan. 6. Janelle Bechdol, Ed.M.’14, and Familiarevolution rocked the block party on Appian Way, which capped off the day’s events.

#ThroughEducation In September, we began asking people around the world to reflect on how their lives have been changed through education. So far, #ThroughEducation has reached more than 1.4 million people on social media, and community members continue to share the power of education through tweets, photos, and video. Have you shared your story yet? Here’s how: Every Thursday through social media and the campaign website, we’ll be sharing #ThroughEducation posts from the HGSE community and beyond. Follow these four steps:

STEP 1: Visit to get started. STEP 2: Print out our #ThroughEducation sign and show us where you make a difference through education. For example, photograph the sign in your classroom or workplace. Take a selfie holding the sign. Customize the sign with your writing or artwork — be creative!

STEP 3: Tell us in 25 words or less how your life or community has been shaped (or will be) through education.

STEP 4: Share it on a Thursday on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram with #ThroughEducation. You can help us spread the word, too — invite your friends, family, students, and colleagues to share their own stories!

— Brigham Fay

At the campaign launch, Treshika Melvin, Ed.M.’15, a student in the Human Development and Psychology Program, shares how her life has been changed through education. learn more about melvin:







Nonprofit Organization U.S. Postage PAID Holliston, MA Permit No. 20

Harvard Graduate School of Education Office of Communications 13 Appian Way Cambridge, MA 02138

Showing much self-control by not tearing into the latest issue of Ed. magazine, Penn Associate Professor Angela Duckworth instead spoke to a standing-room-only crowd in November 2014 about delayed gratification, the marshmallow experiment, and how this all affects students. Duckworth, founder of the Character Lab, was in town as part of the Dean’s Distinguished Lecture Series. “Self-control matters,” she said, “and maybe it matters more than we think it does. The more self-control, the better off kids will be.” ed. using the #wheresED

hashtag. using email? send them to


using instagram? post your pics reading


Emiliana Vegas When Emiliana Vegas, E.M.’96, Ed.D.’01, looked out her plane window on a hot morning in March 2013, the village of Tuiuie was almost invisible. Signs of human habitation had been sparse since they had taken off from Manaus, the capital of the Brazilian state of Amazonas. Almost as soon as the city’s skyscrapers disappeared over the horizon, its opera houses, universities, and urban slums seemed a world away. There were few roads, and only the occasional tin-roofed farmhouse dotted the banks of the Rio Purus, an offshoot of the Amazon that winds its way through almost 2,000 miles of rainforest. Boats plied the waters, but most other human activity was hidden under a thick layer of rainforest vegetation. As the plane descended, Tuiuie came into clearer focus: a few dirt roads, a huddle of houses, and the big blue dome of a hangar-shaped high school gym. rmany, and contains at least 6,100 communities that, like Tuiuie, are located along the Amazon or one of its 1,100 tributaries and are accessible only by plane or boat. She was at the edge of an immense wilderness, a hinterland, the most remote place she had visited in her six years as chief of the education division at the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB). She was there with the head of the bank’s Brazil field office, Marcelo Perez, a Harvard Kennedy School grad, at the invitation of Amazonas’ Secretary of Education, Roseilli Soares da Silva. He was seeking their help.

Emiliana Vegas When Emiliana Vegas, E.M.’96, Ed.D.’01, looked out her plane window on a hot morning in March 2013, the village of Tuiuie was almost invisible. Signs of human habitation had been sparse since they had taken off from Manaus, the capital of the Brazilian state of Amazonas. Almost as soon as the city’s skyscrapers disappeared over the horizon, its opera houses, universities, and urban slums seemed a world away. There were few roads, and only the occasional tinroofed farmhouse dotted the banks of the Rio Purus, an offshoot of the Amazon that winds its way through almost 2,000 miles of rainforest. Boats plied the waters, but most other human activity was hidden under a thick layer of rainforest vegetation. HARVARD GRADUATE SCHOOL OF EDUCATION


Harvard Ed. Magazine, Winter 2015  

The alumni magazine of the Harvard Graduate School of Education, winter 2015 edition. Stories include a look at what’s worth learning in sch...

Harvard Ed. Magazine, Winter 2015  

The alumni magazine of the Harvard Graduate School of Education, winter 2015 edition. Stories include a look at what’s worth learning in sch...