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theory Practice

ISSUE No. 2 • fALL ’10



Education Held Hostage Across the globe, in the most unlikely of places, academic humanitarians help students turn tragedy into opportunity.



Our World, Our Lab Lehigh builds a community of K-12 scholars in the healing nations of Cambodia and South Africa.


Redemption Centennial School students persevere, achieve and become their own role models. A photo essay.

ColleGe oF edUCATion

the dean’s take


theory  Practice To

In brief 2

The Frontline

Lehigh faculty dissect the issues confronting the educational community.


Field Notes

Lehigh’s research extends beyond borders, affecting policy discussion around the world.

12 I Profess


…that hip-hop culture can have a positive influence in urban schools.

in depth 14 EDUCATION HELD HOSTAGE A new crop of academic humanitarians


persevere in the most unlikely of places.


in retrospect

Janet Middleton reflects on her Philadelphia High School Leadership Program experience.

24 our world, our lab Lehigh explores the benefits of a new


transnational curriculum inspired by philanthropic alumni.

28 14

28 REDEMPTION Faced with no more options, Centennial School students are given a new beginning— and a chance to excel.

colloquy 36 On Topic Is an educational renaissance in store for Persian Gulf countries steeped in tradition?


Five Trends

Robin Hojnoski looks for a few math Einsteins in the pre-K community.

41 flashback It was 10 years ago when Vice President Al Gore and Texas Governor George W. Bush debated the merits of education reform.

When in Rome?

Welcome to the second annual issue of Theory to Practice. It has been

designed to reflect both the changing nature of education and the college’s emphasis on cutting-edge research, which results in measurable changes within schools, clinics and policy circles throughout the world.

In this issue, you will read about international efforts that are being made to educate children and provide the services they need to thrive, and in some cases, survive. Our lead article, “Education Held Hostage,” details the work of our faculty and students in places in Asia and Africa—all of which bring evidence-based educational practices to countries with disparate cultural, economic and developmental challenges. Many of these global challenges are present here in the United States. For example, our faculty are working with Native American students in New Mexico, with families misplaced by Hurricane Katrina, and in the inner city Philadelphia schools. Our faculty have determined that many of the same cultural and economic variables relevant to developing countries are of primary importance here at home as well. Their efforts are designed to provide data within the context of an initial series of investigations that will allow scaled efforts across educational systems. Another success of the College of Education is our Centennial School, featured in a photo essay titled “Redemption.” This school, which serves as both a model for exemplary educational practices for children and youth with severe emotional and behavioral problems and a laboratory for the development of evidence-based practice, has long been one of the best kept secrets at Lehigh University. Under the direction of Dr. Michael George, Centennial now serves as a national exemplar for the effective education of children, and a reminder of the need for a continuum of services in this age of inclusion. The work detailed in this issue points to the vitality and influence of our college faculty and students who have devoted themselves to effecting real and positive change in the educational landscape today and into the future. We welcome you to this review of our current efforts, to many of the most pressing issues in the field today, and to the Lehigh University College of Education.

Gary Sasso Gary Sasso

Dean of the College of Education Lehigh University

Edu/stats This July, the National Center for Education Statistics released the following facts about America's population. n I n 2007, about 14 percent of the U.S. population was born outside of the country, including 69 percent of Asians and 44 percent of Hispanics. n F rom 2001-2008, the percentage of Hispanic students enrolled in U.S. schools increased from 17 to 21 percent. n I n 2007, about 69 percent of Hispanic and 64 percent of Asian elementary and secondary school students spoke a language other than English at home. n I n 2007, nine percent of 6- to 21-year-olds were served by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, including 14 percent of American Indians and Alaskan natives, the largest minority population served by IDEA.

PUBLISHER Gary Sasso EDITOR Tom Yencho Design DIRECTOR Kurt Hansen CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Kathleen Bittner, Michael Bradley, Geoff Gehman, Emily Groff Theory to Practice is published annually by Lehigh University’s College of Education and the Office of University Communications and Public Affairs. We welcome all comments and story ideas at

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In This Edition




Minority Identities, take two This past May, Gallup’s famous—or infamous, depending on your

perspective—values and Beliefs survey revealed a growing acceptance

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of same-sex relations by the American public.


Make no mistake—the issue is still one of the most divisive in American society. Only physician-assisted suicide is more controversial. But with a record-high 52 percent of Americans saying that gay/lesbian relations are morally acceptable, the issue is trending favorably for gay rights advocates and researchers like Cirleen DeBlaere, assistant professor of counseling psychology. “I think these numbers suggest that progress has been, and continues to be, made in creating an environment of increased acceptance of LGBtQ (lesbian, gay,

bisexual, transgender and queer) people,” she says. “But there is still much work to be done. These poll results really only get at the tip of the iceberg.” DeBlaere studies individuals with multiple and intersecting minority identities, such as lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people of color. DeBlaere hopes that, by drawing attention to the range of discrimination these people experience every day, mental-health professionals can become more adept at giving them proper support and counsel.


the Millennials v. the Law More than 109 million visitors frequent MySpace, one of the world’s busiest social media sites. Most are teenagers and young adults who believe their freedom of expression has few boundaries. Five years ago, Hickory High School (Pa.) senior Jayson Layshock created a stir when he created a MySpace profile of his school principal. The parody quickly went viral before coming to the attention of the principal himself. two years later, a strikingly similar incident struck Blue Mountain School District on the opposite side of the state. “J.S.,” an eighth-grade honor-roll student, created a fictitious MySpace profile of her school’s principal using unflattering and profanity-laced language. The cases have a lot in common. Both Layshock and J.S. took the principals’ photograph from their schools’ official Web sites. Both created the MySpace profiles from private computers off school grounds. Both students were suspended for 10 days and, subsequently, filed lawsuits that argued their First Amendment rights were violated. But that’s where the similarities end. This past summer, two separate panels of the Third Circuit Court of Appeals reached very different outcomes on the lawsuits, demonstrating just how unsettled First Amendment law is when social media is involved, says Lehigh University Professor of Education and Law Perry Zirkel. In a 2-1 ruling, the circuit court ruled against J.S., concluding the potential effect of the malicious MySpace profile was substantial, especially given the Internet’s capacity to disseminate this damaging information rapidly to students and parents. Yet, the other panel ruled in favor of Layshock, arguing that schools cannot control students’ activities at home. Because of the conflict, all 14 members of the Third Circuit Court will revisit the decisions together. Their joint ruling will come soon. “These cases are still a murky area in the law,” says Zirkel, who tackles the topic in his column in Phi Delta Kappan. “This shows that not only do the courts have difficulty establishing and applying criteria for student speech cases, but the Internet has also blurred the boundaries of offcampus and on-campus communications. “The result, unfortunately, is that this area of the law continues to defy any predictable, legally defensible course,” he says. 

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“I think this study highlights a great point—that oftentimes, the gay rights movement has been perceived as a largely white persons’ endeavor,” DeBlaere says. “But let’s draw a parallel to the women’s movement. For a long while, many women of color did not feel that the women’s movement accurately represented their interests as both women and people of color.” This distinction often creates a divide that is very difficult for individuals with multiple minority identities to traverse. How do you integrate multiple identities when we exist in a society that forces you to choose between them? Are you a woman or are you a person of color? Are you a gay man or a Latino person? “The insinuation is that you must choose one paramount identity. At any given moment, one or more identities may feel more salient, but they are all present all of the time,” says DeBlaere. The Values and Beliefs survey doesn’t probe Americans’ acceptance or understanding of individuals with multiple minority identities. But it does show a growing respect for gay rights, especially among younger men. That’s more than just a cultural phenomenon, according to DeBlaere. This past June, CNN chronicled the gay rights movement, featuring a same-sex Hispanic couple raising a young family. “Stories like theirs truly show the importance of reaching out to LGBtQ people of color in both of their communities. Inherent in this action is an acknowledgment that people of color exist in the LGBtQ community and that LGBtQ people exist in communities of color,” says DeBlaere. 

Effective, integrated care across clinical, classroom and home settings: that's what every student with ADHD needs to achieve academic and social success. Authored by George DuPaul, professor of school psychology, and Mark Wolraich of the University of Oklahoma College of Medicine, ADHD Diagnosis and Management: A Practical Guide for the Clinic and the Classroom is a complete guide to coordinated ADHD treatment for children in grades one through eight.

“Contains a veritable wealth of the latest evidence-based information for assessing and treating ADHD in clinics and schools...” —Linda J. Pfiffner, professor of psychiatry, University of California, San Francisco

Aligned with the American Academy of Pediatrics’ new guidelines for ADHD management and called “a friendly, inclusive guide to ADHD” by Eugenia Chan of Children’s Hospital Boston, the book outlines a comprehensive treatment program and includes an in-depth look at effective interventions—including both psychotropic medications and behavioral strategies—and successful classroom-based management strategies.

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The timing was ripe earlier this summer when Lehigh's Ed Shapiro visited Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. to talk with Senate staffers about methods of identifying and helping young children who have difficulties learning math and reading. U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan was just about ready to announce the secondround finalists for Race to the top funds, a pool of more then $3 billion put aside to promote innovation and reform in K-12 schools. Shapiro, professor of school psychology and director of the College of Education’s Center for Promoting Research to Practice, had been invited to town to discuss one such educational innovation—Response to Intervention (RtI). His visit, and those of other researchers, was sponsored by the Response to Intervention Action Network of the National Center for Learning Disabilities. RtI was endorsed as a new option for assessing learning disabilities in children as young as kindergarten age in the Indi-

In the Classroom

a directorial debut leading roles haven’t come along often for Shaun tomko, a young man supported by the college’s transition and Assessment program. When the aspiring director took his curtain call following the production of his one-act play, he was thrilled to have won rave reviews from friends, family and the college community. tomko, who communicates through the use of a Dynavox speech device, wrote a script, held auditions, cast his classmates in roles and led rehearsals for

what became “Shaun’s Looney Play.” the short, four-minute act focused on an act of thievery by Bugs Bunny and the lessons of friendship and forgiveness by a cast of beloved cartoon characters. tomko’s directorial debut markes the first time that transition and Assessment has supported a student in college classes, says Amanda Helman, transition

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RtI: a Capitol Idea

viduals with Disabilities Education Act passed by Congress in 2004. Since then, Shapiro had received a competitive grant in 2008 from the U.S. Department of Education to launch a national training program in RtI for school psychologists. “RtI has really taken hold in all corners of the country as a proven method of assessment, early intervention and prevention of the development of learning and behavior problems” says Shapiro. “RtI is mainly about matching instruction with student needs at all levels, without labeling children.” According to RtI Adoption Survey 2010, 87 percent of K-12 school administrators surveyed say RtI has reduced the number of special education referrals, while more than 75 percent report gains in adequate yearly progress. “RtI is a national movement that has really come into its own in the past few years, and any legislation coming from Washington, D.C., needs to reflect that,” says Shapiro. 

coordinator for the program. “We work hard encouraging our students to be self-advocates,” says Helman. “What Shaun has done is really special and hopefully has opened the doors for his peers here at Lehigh.”

the transition and Assessment Program, which is funded by local school districts and counties throughout Pennsylvania, helps young adults adapt to new social settings when they leave school. tomko’s interest in college began a few years ago, when he attended a conference for students

with disabilities who were making the transition from school to adult life. He told his parents then that he wanted to go to Lehigh, the school his father attended. “Just the idea of saying he is going to Lehigh causes people to presume greater competence, which he in turn lives up to,” says


adHd and adulthood Few people realize Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is incurable. The disorder can be managed, but it persists with people throughout their lifetime. Studies estimate that more then 4 percent of the adult population lives with ADHD. The disorder has plagued adults during some of their most productive years. Michael Phelps became history’s most decorated Olympian, ty Pennington continues to be the world’s greatest home makeover extraordinaire and Albert Einstein postulated his Special Theory of Relativity, all while living with the disorder. Their personal and professional success is due largely to their ability to recognize and treat the disorder, says George DuPaul, professor of school psychology. Unfortunately, the National Resource Center on ADHD notes that, while a few catalogs list colleges with supports for students with learning disabilities, no such guide exists for students with ADHD. Not that college students can’t find help. According to DuPaul, universities offer many resources to assist students with ADHD from a functional standpoint. In an effort to help college students—one of the most understudied ADHD populations—DuPaul and Lisa Weyandt, professor of psychology at the University of Rhode Island, have kicked off the first-ever controlled pharmacological study for treatment of ADHD among college students. Shire Development Inc. is funding the five-year study. “The study will measure changes in attention, executive functions and social/psychological functioning, as well as perceived changes among the students,” says DuPaul. “Feedback from the students’ professors will also be sought.” In this first-ever, double-blind placebo study, researchers will test the effectiveness of Vyvanse™ for treatment of ADHD

Colleen tomko, Shaun’s mother. “I really believe he is getting many of the same benefits that other students attending Lehigh gain. You don’t need to be a ‘traditional’ student to realize the many real, practical and functional lessons that can be learned from a campus like Lehigh.” 

in college students. Vyvanse is a product marketed by Shire US Inc. Weyandt says that college students with ADHD are at greater risk for academic and psychological difficulties than their peers. “They are also in a unique developmental context at this stage of their lives, when they are expected to live and act independently,” she adds. In 2008, DuPaul earned a coveted spot in the Children and Adults with AttentionDeficit/Hyperactivity Disorder’s (CHADD) Hall of Fame. He also was honored with the 2008 Senior Scientist Award by the American Psychological Association’s Division of School Psychology for his devotion to ADHD research. 

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certification regulations coming from the Pennsylvania Department

colleges and universities, that will ensure teachers across the state are highly qualified and trained in how to work with special populations in the classroom. Not only were two separate certifications created—pre-K through fourth grade and fourth through eighth grade—but all programs were to include at least nine credits of training in inclusionary practices in special education and three credits of training in working with English language learners. Instead of finding temporary fixes and focusing on curricu-

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It all started in 2001, when No Child Left Behind mandated that teachers, including special education teachers who have primary responsibility for teaching core academic subjects, be “highly qualified.” The Gaskin U.S. District Court decision five years later only cemented the notion that schools across Pennsylvania must make the classroom as inclusive an environment as possible for all children—and that teachers are key to that success. The decision ultimately led the Pennsylvania Department of Education to create hundreds of new learning competencies, as well as a series of regulations for

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of Education have been in a constant state of change.

Inviting students to think When The Nation’s Report Card: Mathematics 2009 was issued in the fall of 2009, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan was clearly disappointed. “None of us should be satisfied. We need reforms that will accelerate student achievement, ” he said. His response was not unexpected. According to the report card, there had been no significant change in the performance of America’s fourth graders in mathematics from 2007 to 2009. Worse, the United States continued to lose ground to its counterparts in the international community, falling to the bottom quarter of industrialized nations in math testing. “We may need to look to our past to come up with fresh, innovative solutions to mathematics education,” says Lynn Columba, associate professor of teaching, learning and technology. “We need to find better ways to challenge our young students, to invite them to think.” Many different philosophical orientations and instructional theories offer quality mathematics preparation, but Columba supports an old favorite: Bloom’s taxonomy of the Cognitive Domain. the theory allows teachers to differentiate their lessons among classrooms that are becoming more and more academically diverse, but also highly integrated. Effective questions in the math classroom challenge students to think critically and engage the material. Bloom’s taxonomy accomplishes this by creating a series of questions that get progressively challenging, encouraging students to think at a higher cognitive level. All educators learn about Bloom’s taxonomy in their college courses, but often need a reminder to put it into practice, says Columba. “We’re getting insight into our students’ mental processes simply by having a conversation about mathematics,” says Columba. “the goal of our questions should be to deepen student understanding of mathematical concepts, so preparing questions effectively is critical. think about it: for a student to explain ‘Why,’ it requires reflective thinking and diminishes guesses or responses based on rote memorization.” “At a time when differentiation is becoming more important in the classroom, we should all aspire to help out students become critical thinkers,” she adds. “Bloom’s taxonomy does just that.” 

The Inclusion of Environmental Education in Science Teacher Education By Alec Bodzin (ed.) In the coming decades, the general public will be required to understand complex environmental issues, evaluate proposed environmental plans

and understand how individual decisions affect our global environment. In The Inclusion of Environmental Education in Science Teacher Education, Alec Bodzin, associate professor of teaching, learning and technology, and co-editors Beth Shiner Klein of SUnY Cortland and Starlin Weaver of Salisbury University take a close look at the issue of environmental literacy and the public’s understanding of pending ecological issues.

Just 12 percent of Americans can pass a basic quiz testing their awareness of energy topics. —The National Environmental Education & Training Foundation

The editors not only argue that teachers need to be trained to better address these issues, but that environmental studies need to be better integrated in science curricula. Coverage includes everything from the methods employed in summer camps to the use of podcasting as a pedagogical aid.

college of education • theory to practice

over the past five years, elementary and secondary teaching

In the Classroom

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a Highly Qualified Curriculum

lum “tweaks,” however, Lehigh completely redesigned its teacher preparation program to accommodate the changes. The radically different, 42-credit degree program now included changes to all existing courses and the creation of several new courses. And for 12 additional credits, students can leave Lehigh with dual certifications and two master’s degrees. The melding of special education and general education practices allows the college to focus on incorporating Response to Intervention across the curriculum. “We decided to focus on the spirit of the law,” said Ward Cates, associate dean and professor of teaching, learning and technology. “We took no shortcuts and completely started from scratch. We’re essentially developing a new kind of teacher, one who can competently teach in any number of settings.” to accommodate this increased cross-certification, Lehigh’s special education program and its teaching, learning and technology (tLt) program worked collaboratively to design a joint program of study. “This whole process really was the best outcome for our students,” adds M.J. Bishop, program coordinator and associate professor in teaching, learning and technology. “It’s a completely infused and integrated curriculum. Instead of simply ‘re-engineering’ our programs, we felt empowered and excited by the opportunity to do something new—something that our college was uniquely positioned to do.” 

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Despite the emphasis on national and state science standards, few students understand much about energy and our nation’s resources. As the debate about the sustainability of the American lifestyle heats up, it is increasingly important that young people understand the science behind energy resources. And yet, in a recent study of 1,043 eighthgrade students, Alec Bodzin, associate professor of teaching, learning and technology, found that many students do not understand energy acquisition, generation, storage, consumption or conservation. Information about energy resources is included prominently in U.S.


a stress On Interventions through the second quarter of 2010, the numbers looked daunting: a 9.5 percent unemployment rate and an economy that grew just 2.4 percent.


Principal academic Partners over the past 30 years, research on school effectiveness and

instructional leadership has largely concluded that a principal’s that’s a cause for concern, given that educational organizations like the National Forum to Accelerate Middle-Grades Reform have found that fewer than one-third of America’s eighth grade children can read and write at grade level and with proficiency. the impact that principals have on their students’ academic

performance and educational careers is important, says Ron Yoshida, professor of educational leadership. But he admits that, more often than not, the impressionable role that principals play is often overshadowed by other factors, like a school’s culture, the influence of the administration or a school’s classroom environment.

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effect on student achievement often goes unnoticed.

New research from Lehigh’s College of Education suggests it’s a dangerous oversight. the work is based on the doctoral dissertation of Jack Silva, the director of curriculum and instruction at

proficient eighth-grade students who held one-on-one discussions with a principal before a state reading test showed reading gains significantly larger than students in the control condition who held discussions after the state reading test. the discussions included a review of 2008 reading scores and

And matters only seemed to be getting worse as those concerns found their way into American homes. According to a benefits survey conducted by the Hartford, almost 25 percent of people have taken on additional work, while nearly 75 percent felt “moderately stressed” about their family’s predicament. For families with children with disabilities, the current economic environment can make home life exponentially more difficult, says Brenna Wood, assistant professor of special education. “Creating a home environment for social and emotional growth is critical, but many families are having a hard time adjusting to the new economic reality. Home has become a pressure-filled environment.” Although some children “grow out” of their problem behaviors, studies confirm that many engage in severe aggression and disruption throughout their school years, putting them at a greater risk for school failure, delinquency and substance abuse. Researchers have consequently found an increase in punitive teacher-child interactions. Unfortunately, the trouble doesn’t end there. When parents turned to childcare providers for support and respite, researchers found these children were three times more likely to be expelled from their childcare program than other K-12 students—further limiting their opportunities to learn appropriate social communication and emotional regulation skills. It is esti-

the setting of goals for the students’ upcoming 2009 reading scores. “Principals who are actively and personally engaged in their students’ success tend to realize their investment, making it a working relationship that needs to be encouraged, not diminished,” says Yoshida. 

mated almost half will be placed in special education programs by the time they reach the fourth grade. Special education experts like Wood are looking to help families readjust during difficult times, allowing for a stronger support relationship that can survive the tumultuous recession. “It’s about keeping things in perspective,” says Wood, who studies early intervention and positive behavioral support methods at Lehigh. “With all that is going on—with so many outside stressors impacting daily life—it’s important for parents and teachers alike to be even stronger advocates for children with special needs.” 


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a shock to the system

Souderton Area School District (Pa.) and the recipient of the college’s Stoudt Dissertation Award for best dissertation in 2009-2010. Yoshida and George White, professors of educational leadership, co-chaired the dissertation. the study found that non-

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national science and environmental education curriculum and state standards. Concepts pertaining to energy resources are also listed in the strand maps of the Association for the Advancement of Science’s Atlas of Science Literacy as important learning goals that should be achieved by students by the completion of eighth grade. they are standards that, simply, are not being met. “It appears that the implementation of energy resources curriculum in middle schools is lacking in conceptually rich and personally relevant learning experiences,” says Bodzin, who is also a member of Lehigh’s Environmental Initiative. to help increase understanding of energy resources, Bodzin and a team of researchers developed a new teaching unit incorporating geospatial learning technologies with support from the toyota USA Foundation. their initial findings show more significant knowledge gains by students using his idea for an energy curriculum. 

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Lehigh Valley, Pa.

Education in America is at a crossroads. lehigh’s commitment

to innovative research and focus on applying research to practice allows College of Education faculty to help shape education and

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mental-health policy across the nation.


Philadelphia, Pa. In Philadelphia, 45 percent of the families served by the Parent-Child Home Program have an annual income of less than $10,000. Forty-three percent of parents and caregivers were born outside of the United States. And fully 36 percent of the children involved with the program have nonexistent English language skills. But Project CARES, a fouryear study led by Patricia Manz, assistant professor of school psychology, shows there is more than a glimmer of hope for this underserved community. Her results reveal that three-year-old

children who completed the city’s Parent-Child Home Program showed significant improvement in their receptive vocabulary. The Parent-Child Home Program is a national program in which academic professionals visit homes to help families increase their language and literacy skills. Manz’ study also showed a direct relationship between the frequency of home visits and the growth in toddlers’ expressive vocabulary. Just as important, Project CARES revealed that home visiting enhanced caregivers’ involvement with their child, even for those families who experienced the greatest degree of socio-economic stress. 

st. Louis, Mo. Columbus, Ohio allentown, Pa. Preliminary data from the Center for Adolescent Research in Schools, or CARS, show that a newly designed package of

Beginning in 2010, the new package of interventions will be tested with a larger group of 60 high school students in states including Kansas, Kentucky and South Carolina. And starting in 2011, the interventions will be evaluated using a randomized, controlled trial with over 500 high school students across all six states. 

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The Reach of Research

interventions promises to reduce behavior and mental health problems, prevent dropouts and improve academic skills in high school students. Lee Kern, Iacocca Professor in special education, is co-PI for the national $9.5 million study, currently the largest of its kind. to date, the interventions have been tested on 35 students in Missouri, Ohio and Pennsylvania.

The Lehigh Valley area of Pennsylvania is a diverse region of 750,000 people comprising almost 20 school districts. to help encourage dialogue among the districts, the College of Education and its Center for Developing Urban Educational Leaders devoted its annual distinguished lecture series to “Leadership That Makes a Difference.” The event resulted in a new working group consisting of superintendents of the area’s three

urban school districts—Allentown, Bethlehem and Easton—along with local educators, business and nonprofit leaders and parents. Featured guest Martin Blank, president of the Institute for Educational Leadership, praised the area’s commitment to urban education. He was particularly complimentary of the partnership between Lehigh, the United Way and the Bethlehem Area School District in creating the first University Assisted Community School at Broughal Middle School (which also serves as an Integrated Professional Development School for the College of Education). 

Around theWorld

In a world that is becoming more connected, Lehigh faculty have become an integral part of the international dialogue surrounding education—particularly in regions where educational reform is undergoing intense scrutiny.



For post-socialist countries of Central Asia like Kazakhstan, a significant increase in private tutoring has led to more innovative learning experiences for students. But the individualized programs have also resulted in a greater socio-economic divide and widespread corruption in public education, says Iveta Silova, the Frank Hook Assistant Professor of comparative and international education.

In Bahrain and throughout the Middle East, a growing number of private schools are seeking accreditation from the Commission on International Trans-regional Accreditation. ron Yoshida, professor of educational leadership, has chaired CITA’s Quality Assurance review Teams. “Our mission is to continue to support these pioneers as they open up new learning opportunities and situations for cultural understanding, ” he says.

unIted ArAb eMIrAtes In the U.A.E. and Gulf Cooperation Council countries, the rise of the non-national population has altered the labor market—often at the expense of the native Arab population. Alexander Wiseman, associate professor of comparative and international education, explores whether science education and new market strategies can help Arab students effectively transition into private sector jobs.



hong Kong

There has been astonishing growth in counseling and mental-health programs across India in recent years. Arpana Inman, Fulbright-nehru Scholar and associate professor of counseling psychology, studied this dynamic at the national Institute of Mental Health & neuroscience. The experience gave her insight into the need for national accreditation standards and curricula in India’s universities.

In a country like Ecuador, traditional values are often at odds with advances in mental-health issues. This reflects a tension between what is foreign and what is perceived to be authentically Ecuadorian. Arnie Spokane, professor of counseling psychology, looks at mental-health issues such as teen suicide, immigration rights and women’s issues in Ecuador in respect to the culture and indigenous healing practices.

Lehigh’s Office of International Programs has extended its educational curriculum to five continents since it was founded in 2000. The latest addition to that international portfolio is Hong Kong, where Lehigh created a program of study for educational leaders in the spring of 2010.

Hip-hop artists like Run DMC helped to define a generation of AfricanAmerican youth.

The Rap on Hip-Hop

America’s urban schools offer an unusually candid perspective on our academic and social cultures. Can educators and their students work


I taught my first high school class in Selma, Ala., in 1995. Selma has always been a small, rural town deep in the heart of Dixie. But civil rights veterans and local folks alike look at the Southern outpost as hallowed ground. It’s there, after all, where Bernard Lafayette almost lost his life in his campaign for voting rights. John Lewis and Martin Luther King, Jr. started their marches to Montgomery in Selma’s Brown Chapel. Selma, and other predomi-

nantly black towns across the South, gave African-Americans a platform on which civil rights legislation would be built. It’s where our voices were unified as one, where our long-delayed march toward equality would begin anew. So when I stepped in my Selma High School classroom almost 30 years later, I wasn’t surprised to see that photography by ryan Hulvat

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together in this changing climate to define a new school reality?

the restless spirit that was such a part of the 1960s had been passed on to a new crop of AfricanAmerican youth. I had experienced it myself as a young black man. But though we’ve made significant strides in overcoming racial barriers, these students are still more aware of society’s view of them with regard to race than their counterparts. That’s abundantly clear in some of the nation’s largest cities where, today, students are influenced by a hip-hop culture that grew from our struggles but now knows few cultural and socio-economic boundaries. The musical breakthrough

gained popularity through the likes of Run DMC, Public Enemy, Queen Latifah, Tupac, Snoop Dogg and more recently P. Diddy, Lil Wayne, Jay-Z and Drake. It has transcended musical boundaries and now impacts speech, clothing, mannerisms, movies, Web sites, television programming, magazines and even energy drinks. In short, it’s a powerful subculture for African-American youth and many other young people today. And it’s a cultural force that has created an unhealthy divide in our nation’s urban schools. The reason is simple: Hip-hop culture is, and always has been, characterized by diversity, change, flux, improvisation and creativity. These are all healthy attributes. But most American schools are rigid, stagnant and slow to change. The problem facing our inner cities now may not be that the schools are so much failing, but rather that some of the teaching strategies have become obsolete. Educators have a critical role to play in urban students’ academic and social development. First, we must recognize the inherent inequities within our society and how they impact people. Second—but just as important—we must realize how cultural collisions play out in our schools. By acknowledging the background experiences of urban students, educators can gain insight into addressing student behavior, communication and values—character traits heavily influenced by contemporary hip-hop culture. We must make more of an attempt to understand its history and proliferation, clarify its negative aspects for students and channel its power in positive ways to enhance

students’ classroom experience. It’s a difficult task. Urban school leaders battle issues no one should be asked to address. Inadequate funding and teacher detachment illustrate a lack of investment in students’ futures— a (mis)perception that fuels student apathy. That passivity can be aggravated by external pressures of gang violence, drugs and alcohol, domestic conflicts and depression. And when young African-American children turn on the television only to see the media promulgate the myth that hip-hop increases social misery by only promoting violence, drug use, salacious sexual

and realize the subsequent effect on youth identity. Educators must help such students develop the kinds of value systems that encourage positive self-identities and give them the legitimate opportunity to become successful in school as well as in life. Students who develop a strong positive value system have less of a chance to be affected by negative aspects of hip-hop culture and more of a chance to be influenced by the “positivity” exemplified by a healthy school culture. At our core, educators are role models—roles we too often forget or are unwilling to accept.

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i profess

13 Urban neighborhoods have embraced hip-hop as part of their culture.

imagery and mindless materialism, they feel even more chastised by a society that never understood their predicament in the first place. That is not to say that hiphop culture should be praised. There are elements of hip-hop that are detrimental, are in poor taste and conflict with the values of schools. This conflict of value systems sometimes results in discipline problems and lack of communication between students and educators. The task for educators is to familiarize themselves with youth culture and value systems

The lack of exemplary figures in urban schools leads many AfricanAmerican youths to adopt hip-hop culture’s brightest—and often misguided—stars. It’s a trend that needs to be reversed, soon, so that we can effectively provide progressive educational environments, show that we genuinely care about our students and the communities they come from, and willingly serve as role models for students who may not have many options.  —By Floyd Beachum, Bennett Professor of Urban School Leadership

By Geoff Gehman • illustrations by Emiliano Ponzi

On a crowded and squalid street in a Dhaka suburb, a school founded by a Scottish church gives street girls a new perspective on life, one that transcends poverty, illiteracy and the misery of forced marriage. Here, in a few small rooms of a hostel, these Bangladeshi children learn to read and write in two languages, including English, and study science and math. They learn a profitable, respect-

able trade like embroidering greeting cards. Their teachers are former street girls themselves, saved from a sorry and unremarkable life sorting rags, breaking bricks and waiting to be cast off by their parents as teen brides and financial liabilities. This unlikely escape from traditional Bangladeshi cultural norms is called “Meider Jonno Asha,” or “Hope for

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other Nature has decimated the educational systems of Haiti, Chile and Pakistan. But other global crises are just as devastating. Here, Lehigh researchers share their experiences as “academic humanitarians” intent on changing the odds for communities torn apart by culture, politics, tradition and war.


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Girls,” and has been studied extensively by Jill Sperandio, an associate professor in Lehigh’s educational leadership program and an authority on mentoring female students and teachers in Bangladesh. Her favorite success story is Selina, who entered the hostel school as an illiterate 14-year-old messenger for a squatters’ market. Now in her early 20s, Selina tutors youngsters in English and supervises the sale of embroidered greeting cards. She supports the school, her parents and her siblings’ education. Over six years, Sperandio has watched her friend become a confident role model for non-formal peer education. Sperandio belongs to a Lehigh crew of scholarly rescue workers who aid schools held hostage by everything from tribal corruption to HIV/AIDS, civil war to cyclone. These teachers and teaching graduate students do much more than write papers about educational challenges, conflicts and crises. They counsel, comfort, propose lesson plans, set strategies, send books, find medical supplies, pay tuition, and help kids spell their names for the first time. They are academic humanitarians, the College of Education’s version of the Peace Corps.

tive action for Ugandan women, who have traditionally been dismissed as property and who only recently earned the legal right to buy property.

ISLAMIC LAW AND GENDER SEGREGATION IN SAUDI ARABIA Islamic law and patriarchal tribal customs give women second-class status in Saudi Arabia, another corner of the world plagued by educational conflict. They are required to veil their faces, have a male guardian and socialize with the opposite sex only at home. They have limited access to advanced courses in math, science and engineering, one of the reasons they are rarely hired for high-level jobs by Saudi-owned companies. Even female leaders of the Ministry of Education, some with doctorates from co-ed Western institutions, can’t share offices, classrooms or school entrances with male colleagues. They can only survey a school when there are no males on the premises. Gender segregation in Saudi schools is a specialty of associate professor Alexander Wiseman, who has consulted with the country’s Ministry of Education. The coordinator of Lehigh’s comparative and international education program, Wiseman first encountered the quirks of this policy firsthand when he led a workshop in the Saudi city of Riyadh. His topic was the use of an international study of math and science tests and trends; his audience was Ministry of Education officials. The men sat in his room. The women sat in another room and watched him on a video screen. “If they had a question for me, they had to make some kind of noise,” says Wiseman. “It was very disjointed, and very distracting. For us, separate is not equal, although it took us a long time to reach that conclusion. For [Saudi Arabians], separate can be equal.” Wiseman notes that gender segregation in Saudi schools has some unexpected virtues. Female test scores and employment expectations are higher, even though females are unlikely to hold well-paying, pivotal positions as

mathematicians, doctors or engineers. And more women attend university, partly because they consider education a better alternative than marriage or menial work. Last year, Saudi women received two educational windfalls. King Abdullah appointed Norah al-Faiz as deputy minister for women’s education, the country’s first female cabinet-level official. He also opened the University of Science and Technology, the country’s first co-ed campus. Saudi Arabia has other educational challenges unrelated to gender. It’s one of the world’s richest nations, thanks to its oil supply, yet some of its academic infrastructure is in serious need of oiling. Wiseman recalls a colleague, a Ministry of Education leader and a fellow graduate of a Penn State University’s doctoral program, who coordinated computer upgrades for 25 schools for girls and 25 schools for boys. There were only two problems. One, students weren’t adequately prepared for the technological changes. And, two, neither were the teachers.

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Today she evaluates the training of female educational leaders in Bangladesh, where female illiteracy or semi-literacy is alarmingly high, even in free schools. Still, Sperandio has reasons to be optimistic. The Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee (BRAC) has created an innovative and unconventional system of rural schools, each with one room and each serving only one gender. Teachers are married, respectable women nominated by villagers. Each student has the same primary teacher for three to four years. Class sizes are in the low 20s—noticeably manageable and humane in a nation of more than 160 million. Flexible class hours allow students to work and raise money for families who rely on their income. Sperandio lists the benefits of the BRAC system, which is funded largely by international patrons. Female students learn better when they’re taught by familiar females. Female teachers feel more powerful when they’re endorsed by village elders; in fact, they’re more likely to seek promotion to principal or school owner. “They suddenly have a purpose; it gives them status in the village,” says Sperandio. “They’re part of a social revolution.” The BRAC system has also been adopted by educational co-ops in Uganda, where Sperandio has analyzed the effects of policy changes on girls in secondary schools. Local courses with local teachers please parents who are reluctant to send their daughters to distant boarding schools, where, far from their communities, young women might be ridiculed in class by male students and teachers. And they can be victimized by male taxi drivers who trade fares for sexual acts, a sordid exchange known as the Sugar Daddy Syndrome. Sperandio believes that education is a crucial kind of affirma-


THE IMPACT OF HIV/AIDS IN SOUTH AFRICA The need for better teacher development programs has been a common thread in countries where education remains a work in progress, says Wiseman. He and Sperandio have traveled to South Africa to explore education in a Western Cape slum long afflicted by poverty and racial segregation. Since 1995, the recent host of soccer's World Cup has ranked last among participating nations in international math and science test scores. Wiseman and Sperandio have proposed supplementary Saturday sessions aimed at training teachers to help primary schoolers study science more efficiently and effectively (see page 26). Poor test scores in South Africa are a dilemma. Disease, on the other hand, is a disaster. The country reportedly has the world’s largest number of people with HIV/AIDS: the country’s Human Sciences Research Council estimates that nearly 11 percent of citizens are infected. Wiseman reports

Opinions & Deliberations


Rising from the Rubble

Sperandio has roamed the globe as a public servant. A native of England, she taught English and geography in Uganda and served as principal of international academies in the Netherlands, Tanzania and Azerbaijan; at the latter, she helped launch preschool and community-service programs.

January, international observers have been passionately debating how

Since the catastrophic 7.0 earthquake hit Port-au-Prince this past billions of dollars of foreign aid should be channeled. No one debates the merit of aid and the support of the global community. Exactly what that aid should be used for—and how it is administered—are different questions, however, and are open to dispute. Here, four members of the Lehigh community share their perspectives.

RIP: A Eulogy for International Development in Haiti The failure of Haiti’s public sector—which we owe in part to last decade’s foreign-aid policy—is a harsh reminder of why and how foreign aid leads to debt, dependency and devastation, not necessarily to development.

The concept of foreign aid has good intentions, but more often than not, it perpetuates poverty rather than solves it. By trumpeting the ideology of rescue, it places power in the hands of aid agencies. And by stripping away the ownership of the poor, it allows international donors to dominate local decision-making.

CIVIL STRIFE AND THE LOST GENERATION OF LIBERIA Schools are under siege in Liberia, a West African republic reeling from civil wars started in 1989 and 1999. Tina Richardson, associate professor of counseling psychology, is helping teachers and administrators at the University of Liberia deal with severe mental-health problems triggered by violence and shock. Health officials, she points out, have a difficult time helping teachers who can’t cope with students traumatized by war and years of repressive regimes and an agressive military. Educators struggle to reach students less interested in learning than earning a living and being entertained. Major distractions range from delivering goods on motor scooters to supporting their extended families—whatever it takes to survive in a country just now getting on equal footing. Richardson plans to train Liberian educators with colleague Arnold Spokane, professor of counseling psychology. The goal, she says, is to help teachers help students set goals and eliminate barriers, a process called motivational interviewing. “Teachers have to learn how to be sensitive to the nature of their students’ traumas,” says Richardson. “They have to be taught how to understand the issues of

As money pours in during Haiti’s latest crisis, it inevitably lands in the bank accounts of international NGOs, CSOs and nonprofits. They provide services and relief that should come from the government but that the government can’t provide. This paradox leaves NGOs as a necessary evil: In times of disaster, they are capable of meeting

needs faster than a shattered government, yet they ultimately undermine the government itself. NGOs are good, but too many seek self-preservation—not national preservation. The longer international NGOs are present, the more likely the government will be unable—or unwilling—to provide essential services to its people. This unfortunately leaves

loss; they have to be more compassionate. And administrators have to be aware that teachers are traumatized too, that they may have lost their families to the civil war as well.” Richardson is a more personal public servant in Ghana, a West African democracy more peaceful and stable than Liberia. She’s steered Ghanan students to colleges in the greater Lehigh Valley, Pa. She’s paid for a year of tuition for students at Ghanan primary schools. She works with Women Ventures International, which lends money to Ghanan women whose businesses employ women, support families and benefit communities. She intends to improve her leadership campaign in Africa with information from her 2009-2010 fellowship from the American Council on Education.

CRISES THAT PACK A PUNCH IN THE UNITED STATES Richardson, an American Council on Education (ACE) Fellow, is also familiar with domestic educational crises. Supported by the U.S. Department of Justice, she offered lessons in child development to police officers stationed at persistently dangerous public schools in Philadelphia, Pa. According to Richardson, cops need to remember that some adolescent defiance is natural, doesn’t necessarily equal juvenile delinquency and often doesn’t require excessive force. Richardson is one of several College of Education teachers who troubleshoot both in the United States and abroad. Sperandio has trained women of color to lead primarily black public schools in Philadelphia where, as in Uganda and Bangladesh, students tend to learn better from teachers from similar backgrounds. Wiseman introduced Western educational traditions at a New Mexico high school attended mostly by Navajos. He enforced the lessons of textbooks and standardized tests as an English teacher and a basketball coach. Spokane is an expert on stateside disasters. In 20052006, he traveled to Mississippi to help citizens and agencies affected by Hurricane Katrina. He counseled residents

a freely elected government to focus its attention away from its people, opening itself up to corruption and creating conditions of future destruction helped by the hands of those trying to “help.” Iveta Silova is the Frank Hook Assistant Professor of comparative and international education

Look to History— Not to Solutions Contrary to the mainstream media’s belief, the United States’ involvement in Haiti did not begin in 2010. It even began before the 1806 U.S. trade embargo on the small island nation. But it was this embargo, lasting for 75 years, that helped impoverish a people

of cruise-ship shelters who didn’t want to return to temporary housing on shore. He comforted evacuees who returned to their destroyed homes for the first time. He debriefed mental-health professionals who lost their residences. At times he became less a psychologist and more a rescue worker: he found lactose-free baby formula on the back of a drugstore truck, an oxygen device for a child with sickle cell anemia. Spokane was stunned by Katrina’s wrath. It wasn’t just the enormity of the devastation; rather, it was the inadequate online training he received from the federal government. The poor preparation compelled him to create Mental Health First Response, a weeklong summer course in psychological first aid for victims of disasters. In 2008, he took Lehigh students to Mississippi, where they participated in a drywalling class to restore a hurricane-damaged house. He’s proud to say he’s found a new calling in his seventh decade.

TEACHING ENGLISH LANGUAGE SKILLS IN KUWAIT Missionary work is natural for teachers at international schools who are enrolled in graduate courses run by Lehigh’s Office of International Programs. Consider the case of Ilene Winokur ’08G, a doctoral candidate in international educational leadership. She directs the intensive English program for the American University of the Middle East in Kuwait, the homeland of her husband, a pathologist for a government hospital. One of her challenges is convincing students to speak English outside class, where they usually speak their native Arabic. Winokur encourages the youngsters to practice their second language while reading online articles and books. “If

off the shores of the U.S. for over 200 years. The U.S. essentially isolated Haiti as a young, free nation to protect our economy, which was dependent on the slaves supplied in part by Haiti. As Haiti’s ruling elite could not provide basic institutional systems that most nations require because it was effectively shut off from the rest of the world,

we don’t catch their attention during those 20 hours a week we have them,” she says, “we lose them.” Some teachers at international schools in Kuwait encourage students to write argumentative essays on such sensitive subjects as capital punishment or textbook depictions of human reproduction. Winokur herself gently leads debates on the battle between Palestinian and Israeli extremists. “You can talk about the conflict,” she says, “but you can’t be seen supporting one side or the other.”

THE INTERSECTION OF TECHNOLOGY AND CENSORSHIP IN MYANMAR Censorship is an occasional obstacle for Jacqueline Lonergan, a master’s student in international counseling and a guidance counselor in Yangon, the capital of the Union of Myanmar, formerly Burma. One of her frustrations is an Internet controlled by the government, a military junta with

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that HIV/AIDS education for primary-school girls is practically non-existent. The lack of information about the need to use condoms and receive regular blood tests is catastrophic considering that nearly half the youngsters claim they’ve had a sexual experience by the end of seventh grade. Also at risk are secondary-school girls who pay for tuition through rather desperate means, as well as teachers who miss days of school after they become sick or become the caregivers for sick members of their family or community. Wiseman and Sperandio have recommended programs of teacher mentoring, cognitive development and general emergency intervention to combat these ongoing problems.


According to the Brookings Institution, only $12.6 million of the $292.8 million— just 4 percent—of funding support requested by the Obama Administration for Haiti in the FY2010 budget was allocated for education. Haiti became more despotic in nature and Draconian in practice, causing Haiti’s isolation to harden and become more widespread; the island eventually lapsed into inescapable poverty, forced to pay indemnities to the French and

unable to trade with most nations. The U.S. stood by, never seeing how its involvement—or lack thereof— provided the catalyst for poverty. In the aftermath of the latest devastation in Haiti, we must reconceptualize our conversa-

tion away from “help” and “solutions” and toward a truthful understanding of history and a real belief in democracy and self-determination. The U.S. must first own its history with Haiti (why is our sad involvement

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the neutral, rather pastoral title of State Peace and Development Council. In 2007, the council slowed down the Web, largely to punish council protestors. Denied online access, Lonergan couldn’t complete a three-hour multiplechoice exam. Even an IT expert at the U.S. consulate in Yangon couldn’t help her pick the cyber lock. In 2008, Lonergan began traveling to Bangkok for a reliable Internet connection. She e-mailed a paper from her friend’s apartment the day before Myanmar was hit by a cyclone that left more than 200,000 dead or missing. She insists the Myanmar government failed to give citizens adequate warning of the catastrophe. CNN, she points out, does a much better job of disaster coverage. There are many barriers at Lonergan’s Yangon International School, a seven-year-old K-12 institution with nearly 230 students, most of them Myanmar. Her pupils rely heavily on Internet research because there are no public libraries. Because there are no credit cards or ATMs, they can’t afford college-entrance exams. This year, Lonergan

not in our history textbooks?), and then support bilateral and multilateral aid, similar in size to the Marshall Plan, to the government of Haiti—not feel-good $10 cellphone donations to the Red Cross. William C. Brehm ’08, ’10G is a project manager with Caring for Cambodia

An Education of Accountability Haiti has lost thousands of educated workers in this disaster, but investment in the education sector can only bring long-term returns. Empowering its young through education will build the country’s talent pool that understands context and can take a leadership

Political turmoil and tribal conflict are among the hurdles faced by Pilar Starkey ’10G, a doctoral student in international educational leadership and a former principal of an American school in Madagascar, an island nation off of Africa’s east coast. In 2009 she closed her institution several times to protect students from guns fired by supporters of dueling presidents. The same year, she was evacuated along with other U.S. citizens, her second evacuation in seven years due to the threat of political violence. She imposed a measure of order by establishing a virtual school that allowed her K-12 students to complete the year’s studies in and out of Madagascar. In 2009, Starkey moved to Kenya with her husband, a regional safety and security officer for the Peace Corps. She began teaching English and social studies at an international school in Nairobi. She admits she struggles to make sense of Nairobi, a rich contemporary city of highrises and malls with a poor traditional society “struggling

role in moving along the path of self-determination, innovation and advancement. Many believe that India’s early post-independence investment in education has contributed to its current prominent role in the world economy. Policy makers must include Haitians in developing a system of education that is contextualized to Haiti’s needs. Given the history of aid

money in Haiti, a structure of checks and balances will need to be created that will support local efforts initiated by Haitians while requiring accountability and giving them a stake in its success. I would also consider including information about international aid as part of the required curriculum to educate Haitians about opportunities, and their rights and responsibilities in

with post-colonialism, angst, horrific corruption and intense tribalism.” She encountered a residue of this anxiety when a maintenance man at her school refused to change the sign on her door because he was worried he would be fired by school leaders, who belong to a majority tribe. Starkey took his screwdriver and changed the sign herself. Last year, Starkey took educational matters into her own hands by starting an integrated, interactive class in English and social studies. Students discussed such delicate topics as apartheid and Nelson Mandela’s debt to the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. They lived for a week with the Maasai, a semi-nomadic tribe renowned for their fierce independence and lion hunting. They raised money to buy school uniforms for slum children so they could receive free education.

A GLOBAL VILLAGE COMES TO LEHIGH UNIVERSITY Starkey and Lonergan are among more than 250 students in over 60 countries enrolled in graduate courses sponsored by Lehigh’s Office of International Programs. This global village is supervised by a Middle East veteran. Executive Director Daphne Hobson, who founded the office in 2000, directed a kindergarten enrichment program for a state-owned oil company in Saudi Arabia, where her husband worked in public affairs. Hobson has monitored all kinds of overseas challenges, conflicts and crises over the decade. There have been threats of terrorism at Middle Eastern branches of American schools that were established in the early ’60s to promote democracy. There have been teachers escorted by armed guards from home to school in Pakistan, a bull’s eye of sectarian violence. There have been time-zone hassles in South America, strikes in France, coups in the Congo. Every now and then Hobson does double duty as an emergency supply officer. She burns CDs of reading lists and lesson plans for foreign students denied online access to them. She mails textbooks to teachers whose overseas

building their country with international aid money. Anuradha Sachdev ’11G works in early elementary education at Northampton Community College

Let’s First Get Our Priorities Straight Historical legacies, corruption, perverse incentives, institutional

failure and a lack of accountability in the development sector are all important topics for consideration when discussing Haiti’s long-term prospects. While the world is focused on Haiti, there is a temptation to right historical wrongs, impose good governance and reform the institutional structure in a way that produces a well-functioning democracy

schools can’t afford the volumes or who can’t afford to pay exorbitant customs fees for them. (According to Hobson’s office, some governments are more likely to permit shipments from a university rather than an individual.) Relief work, she adds, is all part of helping students complete their international programs within the required six years, and making Lehigh more of a vital global satellite. Every year, Hobson hosts two-month summer sessions for international graduate students in Iacocca Hall, the mountaintop home of the College of Education. It’s a chance to swap lessons about social justice and global citizenship. It’s also a chance to be inspired by global citizens and social-justice crusaders. There’s Spokane, who sent three boxes of mentalhealth books to the University of Liberia, which has no department of psychology. There’s Richardson, who sends coloring books to help Liberian youngsters recover from losing their families. And there’s Sperandio, who had a memorable meeting with a South African boy who couldn’t spell his name after a year of schooling. Sperandio went to Amstelhof, South Africa, to teach leadership to West Cape teachers at the request of a Lehigh alumnus. She was immediately drawn to a sad child from a squatters’ settlement. Dihago wore tattered sneakers too large for his feet. His arms were thin from malnourishment. He smelled so bad, his teacher warned Sperandio to keep her distance. Ignoring the warning, she sat down with Dihago and after five attempts, helped him finally nail his name. Classmates cheered the victory, which made Dihago beam like a beacon. Alas, he couldn’t duplicate his success after recess, which reminded Sperandio that she’s no miracle worker. The next day Sperandio visited a soup kitchen for squatters’ children. She felt an embrace, looked down and saw Dihago wrapped around her legs. His hair was still unwashed, but his smile was still cleansing. And she remembered that sometimes a disadvantaged child’s best advantage is the smallest gesture of help, the tiniest measure of hope. 

with double-digit GDP growth. The assumption is there is a complex econometric formula that can produce these results. This is irresponsible. My fear is that this desire to reform Haiti, this “never let a crisis go to waste” mentality, will cause delays and disruptions to the immediate humanitarian aid needed on the ground today. Even in the best of

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shelled out $160 for eight students to take SATs; she was repaid with the crisp, fresh American bills favored throughout Myanmar. Her patronage aided Khin Maung Latt, who was admitted to Lehigh’s Class of 2014 with a sizable scholarship. Lonergan is a civil-rights warrior. When she taught social studies, she refused to remove from a textbook a picture of democratic dissident Aung San Suu Kyi, who has been under house arrest since 1989 for loudly opposing the Burmese government. A former Peace Corps worker in Iran, she teaches English to Buddhist monks in Myanmar, members of a sect that led the 2007 anti-government rallies.


all possible worlds, fixing Haiti from an office in New York, Paris or Washington is impossible, and we are clearly not dealing with the best of all possible worlds. Right now food, medicine and shelter need to be the priorities. Mike Russell ’11G is a senior development researcher at Lehigh University

The instructional support officer reflects on her first year with Lehigh's Philadelphia High School Leadership Program.


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"Upon entering the program, my expectation was to develop into a high school principal with a focus on instructional leadership. One year later, I have exceeded even my own expectations. I have personally experienced a paradigm shift regarding the role of the instructional leader and how I view the role of principal as both a teacher and a learner."



In Retrospect: Janet Middleton




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By Kathleen Bittner


Culturally and geographically, Cambodia and South Africa are worlds apart, yet more than a few common threads bind these two resurgent nations. For nearly two generations, Cambodia was an unforgiving bastion of communist rule under the notorious Khmer Rouge. During that time, civil society was systematically dismantled as millions of Cambodians were relocated away from cities and into rural areas to work in fields. A proud heritage was left to die and any trace of Western influence was eliminated from daily life. Around the same time, South Africa was trapped under the unforgiving reign of apartheid. The segregated nation was a dichotomy of society: a small European minority enjoyed a lifestyle on par with first-world nations, while the native black population struggled under state-sanctioned oppression that extinguished any ray of hope for liberty and prosperity. Now, after years of neglect, the people of these two countries are boldly cutting ties to their recent and deplorable past and are finding hope in education—and Lehigh’s global community is taking that journey along with them.

“When I enrolled in the course ‘Issues and Institutions in International Education Development,’ I expected to write another research paper, take another test, as I had done in my previous graduate courses,” commented William Brehm ’08, ’ 10G. “I had no idea the conversations I had in early August 2009 would define my trajectory after graduation.” Last fall 15 graduate students in Lehigh’s comparative and international education program (CIE) teamed up to research, develop and propose an evolving educational partnership with Caring for Cambodia (CFC), an internationally acclaimed nongovernmental organization (NGO) headquartered in povertystricken Siem Reap. CFC was first established in 2003 by William ’79 and Jamie Amelio. After traveling to Cambodia on vacation, Jamie encountered a young girl asking tourists for money. “I asked her what she needed money for,” said Jamie Amelio. “When the little girl replied ‘to go to school,’ I knew there was a need for education. It was right before Mother’s Day, and I remember saying to

mutually beneficial to both CFC and Lehigh University. The partnership would enhance what CFC does already and take it to new heights, but at the same time, provide new learning opportunities and hands-on experience for Lehigh students. Iveta Silova, the Frank Hook Assistant Professor in the CIE

Caring for Cambodia has purchased more than 1,250 bicycles to help their students get to school safely and consistently.

program, was one of the professors approached to find a way to forge a partnership with CFC. “I wanted to get students involved immediately,” said Silova. “I suggested that we actually develop the proposal for the partnership as part of my ‘Issues and Institutions in International Education Development’ course. So from the very beginning, the students would go through the thinking and brainstorming process of how to enter into an educational partnership with a nongovernmental organization abroad.” Building the proposal required a three-pronged approach—a needs assessment of CFC, a capacity assessment of the College of Education and research on additional funding opportunities. Forming three separate groups, the 15 students worked on a different part of the proposal. Two of the students, Brehm and Ciara Lowery Johnson ’09, ’10G, accompanied Silova to Cambodia in November 2009 to conduct the needs assessment for the proposal. “As part of the coursework before the trip, we created a methodology to follow while in Cambodia,” said Brehm. “In its most simplistic version, we asked all stakeholders in CFC similar questions to determine the strength and weaknesses of the NGO itself. Upon our return, we analyzed our results in collaboration with the other two teams’ results, outlining the final proposal as a class.” The main goals of the partnership—establishing a scalable K-12 Cambodian education model, professionalizing CFC by creating sustainable structures and improving Cambodian graduates’ employment opportunities—were outlined and accepted by the Amelios at the end

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woodrow wilson school of public and international affairs, princeton university

Bill that all I wanted was for us to build a school in Cambodia. And seven years later, we are still here.” Through the NGO, the Amelios have built a total of seven schools, trained numerous teachers and provided countless meals to thousands of malnourished and hungry children of Siem Reap. As their mission statement reads: “One child at a time, we can make a difference.” “We have been blessed with the financial ability to make a difference in these schools, and the communities around them, so therefore we try and give back as much as possible,” says Jamie. Because of the growing size of the organization, the Amelios felt it was time to take a step back and incorporate an academic and educational feasibility study to help review and guide their strategic vision for the future. The Amelios then approached Lehigh’s Office of Advancement with the idea of creating a partnership that would be


“In only a few decades the prosperity and quality of life of all nations will be determined by today’s children, their families, their communities and their countries. Education unlocks this ability, and investment in children’s learning is the most important contribution a nation can make to a better future.”—marlaine e. lockheed, lecturer,




South Africa Running concurrently with the Cambodia project, another educational initiative in South Africa was beginning to take shape as Peter Morales ’84 asked Lehigh’s College of Education about ways to give back to his community. Morales owns vineyards in the town of Paarl, South Africa, and operates his own wine and spirits import business, 57 Main Street Imports. “While working in the community of Paarl, I wanted to do more than just give back monetarily,” said Morales. “By involving Lehigh’s College of Education, I hope to help bring forth an educational initiative that will work with primary and secondary schools in the previously disadvantaged communities of Paarl. This initiative will help better the communities’ future, and get Lehigh involved from an

“I believe there is a great opportunity for Lehigh’s students to play a pivotal role in the evolution of the schools in South Africa, as well as the schools here playing an important role in Lehigh students’ own personal and professional development,” said Koos. “The country and the education system are so vastly diverse and offer so many unique challenges and experiences that anyone who becomes involved will make a positive difference and will also experience tremendous personal growth.” Another Lehigh alumna, Toni Marraccini ’09, currently works with Amstelhof Primary School with hopes of furthering student health education curriculum using a school garden as a tool for learning. “The experience so far has been rewarding,” said Marraccini. “It has provided me with the opportunity to learn about a culture while collecting information about the nutritional status of the children in select grade levels.”

lasting Partnerships After becoming heavily involved with the Cambodia proposal and partnership last fall, Brehm and Lowery Johnson were both extended job offers to work for CFC as program managers in Siem Reap starting in August 2010. Also this fall, Silova is teaching a course titled “Program Evaluation.” Students will be partnering with Brehm and Lowery Johnson to evaluate the Child Friendly School Models used in the Amelio Schools in Cambodia. These evaluations will be used by a variety of educational organizations to improve programming. Wiseman is examining South Africa in the intro class “Comparative and International Education.” Students are reading texts and articles related to South African schooling as well as HIV and AIDS and their impact on education, and how education impacts the diseases. By the end of the class, Wiseman hopes the students will have enough information that they can put together a fundable proposal. “Both the Cambodia project and the SAEDI project were initiated by alums who care passionately about education in the developing world,” commented Mike Russel ’11G, one of Silova’s students. “Without their passion, I don’t think we would have been able to develop programs in East Asia or South Africa. One of the real strengths of both the Cambodia project and SAEDI has been the level of student participation. At every step, students were involved in the formation of this relationship.” 

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of the fall semester. The three-year partnership presents opportunities for students in Lehigh’s (CIE) program to travel to Cambodia every year to conduct research, collect data and undergo training. “What’s really unique about this partnership is that we approached it philosophically as partners from the very beginning,” said Silova. “While in Cambodia, we were willing and interested to understand the uniqueness of the situation on the ground and were open to working with Cambodian colleges on an equal basis.” “This project felt much more like a life experience than a typical group project,” said Kelly Holland ’10G. “It was like a force of nature once we started the data collection, as each group had to be creative, aggressive and professional.”

taged areas. Sperandio researched educational leadership, and women’s leadership in particular. In South Africa, specifically Paarl, there is a real need for women’s leadership, she says. There is even an official push from the Ministry of Education to appoint more women to leadership positions, such as principals and assistant principals. Also, Parks researched special needs for learners related to cognitive and physical ways of learning. “The trip was by all accounts a successful fact-finding mission,” said Reed. “When the team and I got back to the States, we began to work feverishly on grant proposals to garner enough external funding for the project to move into the implementation phase. I personally worked on a grant proposal called ‘Science Saturdays,’ which is a science enrichment program that will be offered to students on Saturday mornings in conjunction with a free meal program that already exists.” Reed also helped develop a school partnership between Asa Packer Elementary School in Bethlehem, Pa., and Amstelhof Primary School in Paarl. Under the guidance of Wiseman, they were able to find enough funding for the school partnership to buy each of the schools three new Flip video cameras. A friend of Morales, Frank Koos ’86, has also played a vital part in SAEDI by volunteering his time in South Africa. Koos, who was Morales’ fraternity brother at Zeta Psi, currently lives in Paarl. Acting as goodwill ambassador, Koos helps the SAEDI team by offering input on project design and development, and also serves as a project coordinator on the ground.


Paarl, South Africa, is a study of contrasts, where shantytowns give way to aflluent communities and where diverse cultures find a welcoming home.

education perspective as well.” Alexander Wiseman, coordinator of CIE and head of the South Africa Education Development Initiative (SAEDI), traveled to South Africa for two weeks in August of 2009 to visit the schools in the disadvantaged Paarl communities. “It made sense for us to start a research initiative in South Africa,” said Wiseman. “South Africa is the best of both worlds—while it has a basic infrastructure, it is still a sub-Saharan country. You can have a truly sub-Saharan African experience and deal with all the issues and problems, yet only be 20 minutes from civilization.” While in Paarl, Wiseman decided that SAEDI would focus its research on special education, community development, leadership and math and science education. As with the Cambodia proposal, Wiseman wasted no time getting Lehigh students and faculty involved. In the fall of 2009, Wiseman left for his second trip to Paarl accompanied by Assistant Professor of Educational Leadership Jill Sporandio; Lehigh student Calvin Reed ’10G, a member of the CIE program; and doctoral student Jennifer Parks ’12G, from the special education program. While in South Africa, Reed looked at the local communities and ways education could be used to develop community in disadvan-





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few seconds. That’s all it takes for his contagious smile to bring a smirk to your face. Carlos was thinking back to when he got to play some football a few days ago. “Took out some aggression,” the 18-year-old says. He has been at Centennial for seven years. During that time, Carlos has learned to control the anger that was his ticket out of his community middle school. With a quieter temper, other opportunities start falling into place. “The teachers are trying to help me learn masonry,” Carlos says. reinvigorated by his new trade, Carlos will likely graduate next year and get a job. But his Centennial experience offers so much more. Carlos is developing tools he’ll need to handle a search for steady employment and life on his own. “I enjoy coming here,” he says. “At my old school, I always had to look over my shoulder, in case somebody wanted to fight me.” There is little, if any, violence at Centennial. Students learn in non-traditional classroom settings and with curricula designed to maximize each student’s capabilities. “We match the instructional level with the student’s ability,” says Carly Graber, a fifth-grade teacher. “We tell them they can succeed no matter what.” “We have different beliefs on how we approach our students,” adds Michael George,

Centennial’s director. “We don’t look at them as psychological problems but as spirited kids who can learn and accomplish great things.” Under the direction of Michael George, Centennial has become a haven for students without other options. They have been disruptive in classroom settings, unable to learn at the pace of even remedial programs or fighting emotional problems too complicated—or distasteful—for traditional schools to handle. Some head to Centennial in place of a juvenile institution or even jail. Others need the kind of individual instruction that Centennial’s faculty and staff, who are either students in Lehigh’s College of Education or its graduates, provide. The goal with each student is the same: find a way for him or her to maximize educational potential. That may mean learning a trade. Or developing life skills. Or returning to public school someday. That’s the course for Cameron, who reentered Catasauqua Area School District (Pa.) last December after five years at Centennial. He started slowly, with just one class, but by April, he was fully integrated. “It has gone really, really well,” says his mom, Kelly. The behavioral issues that had led teachers to ignore him and remove him from his first-grade class are gone, replaced by a desire to keep up with his peers. “What he learned at Centennial gave him the ability to learn in the classroom,” Kelly says. This fall, Cameron will join his friends in seventh grade. He’ll look back at Centennial as a school of last resort. And one of new beginnings. 

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Eight-year-old Joshua examines his reflection in a mirror. Though he was initially hesitant to explore Centennial’s facilities, he is now heavily engaged in school activities, thanks to the support of the Centennial community.

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Robert, seven, goes over his point sheet with a teacher. Centennial students discuss their academic and behavioral performance after every class period.

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Students like Jonathan, seen here socializing with peers, make friends and thrive in an environment in which their behavior is understood and addressed constructively.

Centennial tailors its curriculum to the needs of each child while embracing a number of positive behavioral interventions. Here, a child reviews his science textbook.

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Lisa Politi ’09G, ’11G, who is studying to be an administrator and is enrolled in Lehigh’s educational leadership program, leads her class in a discussion of recent stock market activity.

Students in a “functional class” learn how to follow simple directions through a series of hands-on activities, such as preparing food they can later eat themselves.

A Centennial classroom. Under Director Michael George, Centennial has been routinely cited as a model for its reliance on positive supports and its vibrant school culture.

Centennial students earn points for good behavior, and they can spend their accumulated rewards on activities at the annual year-end carnival.

High school teacher Corinne Ramunni ’10G, ’11G provides individual instruction to a student. Ramunni earned her M.Ed. in special education from Lehigh.

Students in a smallgroup class setting use hands-on craft assignments to help develop speech and language skills.

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Centennial students learn to “take time” to deal with environmental stress. They decide when they are ready to return to the group and become positive contributors to their class.



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An Islamic Paradox

In a corner of the world where tradition and the Islamic faith

wield far-reaching influence, can Persian Gulf countries reform their educational systems to keep pace with the world’s shifting social and economic demands?

alexander Wiseman Associate Professor of Comparative and International Education at Lehigh University

Schools throughout the Gulf Cooperative Council, or GCC, are economically and politically constructed institutions as much as they are socially and culturally

constructed. Saudi Arabia’s new Public Education Development Project, which is worth billions of riyals, is an example of this. But while some GCC member states post large economic growth and development potential, their domestic investments in education and educational infrastructure remain at levels comparable to

Naif H. alromi Deputy Minister for Educational Development and Planning, Ministry of Education, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is at a crossroads in the development of education, society and the economy, which is influenced and, in some ways, pushed back and forth by international trends and ideas. While global trends are important for national policymakers in the Ministry of Education to be aware of and track, the most fundamental element of any educational transition is the sharing of information. Information is the gateway to understanding, strategy and educational effectiveness. Information can be shared in many ways, ranging from one-on-one meetings among ministry-level educational decision-makers to mass-market awareness programs that use the Internet and electronic communication tools to disseminate information. Of course, the most important kind of information-sharing is two way, meaning that while the Ministry of Education in Saudi Arabia knows about the specific reform programs, curricular development and other educational improvement projects, the ministry is also responsible

for sharing that information with the public-at-large. But it is not a one-way flow of information. The public also has information to share about what works, the characteristics or demographics of a particular school or educational region, personnel specifics and the benefits and pitfalls of a large educational infrastructure. It is this reciprocal sharing of information that is the key to 21st-century educational reform throughout the Gulf, and in Saudi Arabia specifically, more than any specific global trend or model that a country adopts or adapts to local conditions.

daphne Hobson Director, Office of International Programs at Lehigh University

The educational challenge facing the Arab world in general—and Arabian Gulf countries in particular—is at once clear and stark. Most recently, a study by Korn/Ferry International, the executive search firm, highlighted deep concern by business leaders in the Gulf countries. “If only it were one lost generation,” Metin Mitchell, the firm’s regional managing director, told Arabian

Business in July. “Unless we fix the education system, we’re looking at two or three generations that could be lost.” The good news is that Gulf countries have lots of capital, which they are investing in expensive new showcase universities and branch campuses of elite Western institutions. But the best, brightest and most economically advantaged already have ample educational opportunities. The vast majority remain trapped in a substandard system that cannot prepare them for jobs in the global economy. true and lasting reform will be both challenging and delicate. It will require a sustained commitment by national and local leadership, a significant investment in public educational infrastructure and a massive, long-term training effort against national accreditation standards. Only that sort of commitment will produce the type of sea change necessary to neutralize the threat of lost generations. In a region where change is not so easily embraced, this is bound to be a very long-term project. The bottom line for educational reform in these countries is that it will not trickle down from

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Gender segregation is an accepted way of life in the countries bordering the Persian Gulf in the Middle East.

those of developing nations. The institutional context of schooling in GCC member states poses a challenge to conventional approaches to schooling because of the dynamic intersection of religious ideology, economic development and educational infrastructure. Although GCC member states are steeped in Islamic ideology that both prescribes and proscribes certain social and educational activities, these nations also seek political and economic legitimacy in the international community beyond the boundaries of their geographic region and even the broader Islamic community. Thus, GCC member states borrow from other nations’ educational structures and ideologies either in part or in whole in order to achieve international legitimacy and achieve internationally recognized standards of performance in education. Often these models from which GCC nations borrow are Western in origin and centered in the rhetoric of universal equality of access and opportunity. As a result, schooling structures and processes are institutionalized across GCC member states to fit models for education that have legitimacy among the international community and influential international organizations such as the United Nations and the World Bank. For better or for worse, this dichotomy of globally borrowed models adapted to local context is the process by which educational (as well as economic, political, social and cultural) change has, is and will come to the Gulf for the predictable future.



the top. It must begin at the bottom—actually below the bottom, with preschool, which is virtually nonexistent in the public sector of most Gulf countries. You have to create a highly motivated, welltrained class of preschool, primary and secondary teachers who are indigenous, not third-country nationals. And you have to train the trainers.

Roger Hove President, International Schools Services, Inc.

In a February 2008 interview, the World Bank’s Marwan Muasher told BBC reporter Dale Gavlak “that educational reform must take top priority if the region’s youth were to be better equipped in a fast-changing world and high

unemployment combated.” It’s a very sobering statement, made even more so by the Brookings Institute’s estimate that between 50 and 65 percent of the population of this region is younger than 24 years of age. Without a robust educational system supporting this generation, the Gulf Region countries can’t improve the quality of life for the majority of the native population. Change must start by providing a meaningful and culturally appropriate education through the primary and secondary years, from ages 4 to 18. Any proposed program would help advance skills in literacy and communication (both Arabic and English, with

other languages to follow), working math, problem solving and critical thinking skills. The implementation and development of such a program should include: • the accepted concept of a universal free education for all children • equivalent education opportunities for both genders • the promotion of the teaching profession for host country nationals • teacher-training programs to provide host country nationals with the necessary teaching skills • centers of excellence to provide for and demonstrate such training programs • financial support to sustain the establishment and ongoing development of such a program This list may seem daunting, but countries within the region have already achieved such remarkable development in areas outside of the educational arena. The creation of such an educational system will bring about the desired renaissance to the great and lasting benefit of the citizens of each country.

Robert Rozehnal Director of the Center for Global Islamic Studies at Lehigh University

The only barrier to transforming education in today’s Middle East is political will. The modern

nation states of the Gulf are certainly not lacking in financial capital or local expertise. More importantly, there are ample cultural resources to draw on in the Muslim world: a rich, thousandyear history of intellectual openness and academic excellence, as well as contemporary models for educational reform. The search for knowledge and a pervasive cosmopolitanism have been the hallmarks of Islamic civilization from its beginnings in seventh-century Arabia. The modern Western university is itself the heir to the traditional Muslim madrasa—a diverse and dynamic institution that combined rigorous training in the Qur’an, hadith (traditions of the Prophet Muhammad) and sources of Islamic law with a full engagement with Greek philosophy and scientific inquiry. With this past as prologue, educational reform is already underway in numerous Islamic countries, especially in Southeast Asia where both Malaysia and Indonesia (the largest country in the global Muslim world) offer a workable blueprint that bridges East and West. The recent opening of NYU Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates offers another salient example. This four-year liberal arts research university will be financed entirely by the Abu Dhabi government, with a thoroughly modern campus and curriculum, adjacent to the future outposts of the Louvre and Guggenheim museums. When it comes to education, Islam is not the problem and 21stcentury Muslims are fully capable of accommodating local traditions to the changes and challenges of global modernity.

Emily anderson ’12G Graduate Student, Comparative and International Education Program at Lehigh University

Education systems in Gulf Cooperative Council nations (GCC) are tightly linked with traditional Islamic religious and cultural values which are articulated in national curricula and school processes. However, to promote global economic participation and competitiveness, countries across the region have begun to reform national curricula to reflect international trends related to the incorporation of information and communication technology (ICt). this is uniquely

complex in the GCC because of the perception that students’ cultural and religious values may be compromised by exposure to Western and non-Islamic ideologies through ICt use at school. the incorporation of ICt in

national curricula alters teachers’ pedagogical practice and changes the expectation for student learning outcomes. In this paradigm teachers are expected to facilitate greater student autonomy in the learning process through ICtenabled instruction. If ICt use is contested by students’ families and communities, their abilities to effectively transfer these skills in their daily lives, and eventually the labor market, is marginalized. In order to realize the perceived economic benefits associated with the incorporation of ICt in education, teachers will require dedicated training to use ICt in instruction throughout their professional development, beginning at the pre-service level. this process involves greater collaboration among education policymakers with teacher educators to train teachers to appropriately utilize ICt in classroom instruction while respecting the cultural values represented in their communities. Greater capacity building among community-level stakeholders is also needed to mediate cultural resistance concerning the use of ICt in curriculum and instruction to promote effective transfer of ICt-related skills. 

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five trends

flashback: November 7, 2000

mathematics. I assure you that mine are greater.” This was before he

published his theory of relativity and founded modern cosmology nearly a century ago. Robin Hojnoski, assistant professor of school psychology, explains how tomorrow’s Einsteins can learn to love math today.

Building Blocks

New research indicates mathematical knowledge at the beginning of kindergarten is highly correlated with first-grade math achievement and calculation abilities in second grade. Further, mathematical skill in kindergarten is a strong predictor of later achievement. Simply put, math skills—even at the pre-K level—are a precursor to greater accomplishments.


40 More than One, Two, Three

Math skills do not develop accidentally, although it may seem that way. Young children learn about numbers, quantity, shape, pattern, position, size and, even, addition and subtraction through


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rich everyday experiences and interactions with others. This informal sense of mathematics is linked with more formal mathematics, such as writing numbers, when children enter school. The two are intertwined.

Young children are smart ...

If you’re already fretting about teaching your child story problem techniques or algebra, don’t worry. Young children have an incredible capacity and interest in learning about mathematical concepts. Some research suggests informal notions of mathematics begin at birth with an innate appreciation for mathematical concepts. During the preschool years, children's interest in mathematics is reflected in their use of mathematical language and concepts during play and, indeed, much of children's play implicitly involves mathematics. For example, playing with blocks is a complex activity of size, shape and spatial relations.

Gore campaigned on reducing class size while aggressively hiring and retraining teachers. He called for adding 100,000 new teachers within four years. But the greatest difference between the two centered on the charter school movement and use of vouchers.

… but so are we

Parents, caregivers and teachers can shape early math development. The types of activities adults and children engage in, the types of materials provided and the language adults use can all influence children’s growing understanding of mathematics. For example, research with families suggests incorporating “math talk” into shared storybook reading, playing board games together and talking about mathematical concepts in everyday routines and activities support young children’s math development.


Albert Einstein once said, “Do not worry about your difficulties in


Math Skills Add Up

Math is everything

Try taking a walk down the street with your child and not being able to point out shapes, numbers or size. Opportunities are everywhere. Recognizing the use of mathematics in our everyday routines and activities allows us to make explicit connections for children between their experiences and mathematical skills and concepts. To maximize the opportunities for children to engage in mathematical thinking and to provide rich mathematical experiences, adults need to be purposeful in their interactions with young children. 

“We all must demand that candidates and our leaders share their opinions and policies on how our country will offer all young people strong American schools.” —Bill Gates, co-chair, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

“Education is on the ballot this November.”

Vice President Al Gore raises the stakes against Texas Governor George W. Bush in the final weeks of the 2000 presidential election. The two candidates gave strikingly different views of educational reform. Asked about Governor George W. Bush’s support for charter schools in the final 2000 presidential debate, Vice President Al Gore gave a reply that took absolutely no one by surprise. “Yeah, we have a huge difference between us on this question.” Gore could have been talking about anything, really. In the months leading up to the historic November 7 election, education

grabbed the spotlight early and often. Bush had promised that education would be his first priority upon taking residency in the White House, where he would install many of the accountability measures he championed in Texas. He spoke at the debate about “the soft bigotry of low expectations.” Gore scoffed at the notion. A proponent of $115 billion in additional education funding,

“Under my plan, if a school is failing, we work with the states to give them the authority and the resources to close down that school and reopen it right away with a new principal, a new faculty, a turnaround team of specialists who know what they’re doing,” Gore said. Vouchers simply weren’t going to be an option in his administration. It was—and still is—a controversial topic. That night, people in 18 states went to the polls to decide on ballot initiatives involving education, a handful of which dealt with vouchers. Ten years later, and the results are still mixed: a recent study conducted by the U.S. Department of Education showed that the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program—the first federally funded voucher program in the country—“significantly” raised graduation rates by 12 percent. But the program has failed to raise standardized test scores and Congress ended the program this past summer. 

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college of education 111 RESEARCH DRIVE BETHLEHEM, PA. 18015-4794

In This Issue

Lehigh University’s College of Education is a research-intensive and highly collaborative team of scholars and graduate students. Over the past year, we’ve studied a

number of issues that are changing the educational landscape in the U.S. and across the world. This thought cloud represents a few of the topics discussed in this issue of Theory to Practice, including an in-depth look at

humanitarian crises around the globe. We also take a look at classrooms without boundaries, a culture of positive behavioral supports, and issues ranging from ADHD to curriculum changes to environmental literacy.

Theory to Practice - ISSUE No. 2 • FALL ’10  

Theory to Practice, a research review produced annually by Lehigh’s College of Education, is designed to reflect both the changing nature of...