An inquisitive review of contemporary education & health
Issue No. 5 • Fall ’13
The Reverse Gender Gap: Boys now lag behind girls in several significant areas of education. We look at the reasons— and possible solutions.
Finding Common Ground: Where can we find research-supported points of consensus amid the long-running clamor over school reform?
Inside the Mind of School Shooters: What teachers, administrators, parents, and students can do to help prevent these tragedies.
College of Education
the dean’s take
theory Practice To
2 The Frontline
what the best data tell us we should be doing in our schools?
10 I Profess “The Average Mistake” by Craig Hochbein, assistant professor of educational leadership
in depth 12 THE reverse GENDER GAP Boys now lag behind girls in several significant areas of education. We look at the reasons— and possible solutions.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is now studying the effects of hydraulic fracking.
20 Finding COMMON GROUND Where can we find research-supported points of consensus amid the long-running clamor over school reform?
26 inside THE MIND OF SCHOOL SHOOTERS What teachers, administrators, parents, and
students can do to help prevent these tragedies.
colloquy 32 On Topic Graduate students write on privatization in public education worldwide.
34 INSIGHT MOOCs have been hailed as a game-changer in higher ed, but Lehigh’s Scott Garrigan is more interested in their potential for K-12.
37 flashback Think the clash over standardized testing is bad today? Wait until you hear what happened in 1845.
advocacy and political considerations contrive to sometimes undermine Our lead article, “The Reverse Gender Gap,” provides a long-overdue discussion of the underperformance of boys in our schools and the role that gender advocacy may play in pathologizing the behavior of our male students. While controversial in that this topic is most often neglected in favor of the persistent emphasis on the areas where females continue to lag behind males in adult achievement, any objective analysis of the performance of boys in schools strongly suggests that it is past time we begin to provide for their welfare in a more aggressive manner. In “The Challenge of School Reform: Finding Common Ground” we provide an overview of some of the research our faculty have been doing to determine the most important factors influencing student success. Although variables such as class size, teacher pay, and high stakes testing have dominated the debate for a number of years, the work of Professors Wiseman, Drescher, and others points conclusively to teachers and school principals as most the critical elements. The adoption of this work and other research by policymakers will make it possible to move beyond the political posturing that often determines what practices are implemented in schools. In addition, we have included a compelling and timely interview of Peter Langman on the psychological profile of school shooters and what schools can do to identify troubled children and prevent incidents of violence. Rounding out the issue are articles that address the role of colleges in the organic gardening movement, dual language learners, sex trafficking, and issues regarding the privatization of schools. We are especially proud of this issue and of the work we are doing to provide leadership to schools and policymakers. Please enjoy this issue of Theory to Practice. photography by Ryan Hulvat
ADHD … climate change … behavioral disorders ... international research.
Education has been pursuing over the last five years. That is, what role
does research play in the ways our children are educated? And, how do
This issue of Theory to Practice is indicative of the path our College of
In brief Organic gardening … early education … sex trafficking … and more.
Gary Sasso Gary Sasso
Dean of the College of Education Lehigh University
Edu/stats The World Bank’s State of Education Series report on Gender and Education contained the following facts on gender disparity in youth literacy rates: nG lobally, there is still a gender gap in youth literacy rates, though the gap has been shrinking over time. n I n 1985-94, there was an 8.6 percent difference between male and female youth literacy rates (87.6 percent of males were literate compared to 79 percent of females). n I n 2005-10, that difference had shrunk to 5 percent (92 percent of males were literate compared to 87 percent of females). n W ith the exception of Pakistan (10th), the 20 lowest female youth literacy rates were all found in Sub-Saharan African countries. n H aiti’s female youth literacy rate worsened by 10 percentage points between 1999 and 2010.
PUBLISHER Gary Sasso EDITOR Jack Croft Design DIRECTOR Kurt Hansen CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Elizabeth Shimer Bowers, Lini S. Kadaba, Larry Keller, Eric Metcalf Theory to Practice is published annually by Lehigh University’s College of Education and the Office of University Communications and Public Affairs.
Note to printer: Please place FSC Info & Graphic within Grey area than delete grey area
| college of education • theory to practice
In This Edition
In the Classroom
Food for Thought | lehigh university • college of education
A fresh, new idea is growing—quite literally—on the
Mountaintop Campus, home to the College of Education. On a hill near the staff parking lot is an organic garden with eight small raised beds. In those beds have been planted the seeds of a program that, if properly nurtured, could one day help teachers feed their students’ bodies, as well as their minds. The organic garden is a response to Dean Gary Sasso’s challenge to faculty and staff to start a community garden as a first step toward doing something to get healthy food from gardens to school cafeterias. Tamara Bartolet,
director of marketing and communications for the college and a gardening enthusiast, took up the challenge and reached out to the nearby Rodale Institute for help getting the project off the ground (or in the ground, as the case may be). The Rodale Institute, an early and ardent proponent of organic gardening in the U.S., planted the garden and has maintained it for the first year. Experts from the institute also have conducted monthly organic gardening work-
shops open to the community on the Mountaintop Campus from spring through the fall. “This is a small, but meaningful, step forward,” says Bartolet, who earned her undergraduate degree in environmental studies and previously worked for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration at the University of Colorado-Boulder’s Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences. The big picture is to eventually develop a graduate-level curriculum to equip teachers to understand what it takes to start gardens in their own schools that their students would maintain to grow fresh, healthy food for the school cafeteria. In the process, the gardens would serve an educational purpose as well, teaching children the connection between growing healthy foods and leading healthier lives. As an added bonus, it could also help in the battle against childhood obesity. “It seems like a simple idea, but a lot of support needs to happen,” Bartolet says. It’s also an important idea, she adds: “We’re responsible for educating the whole child. If children are not being properly nourished, their minds are not fertile ground to accept information.”
Preschool helps give young children a leg up when they enter kindergarten. But research shows some young kids—namely, dual language learners (DLLs)—need additional support to reap maximum benefit. “Preschool Spanish-speaking, dual language learners are behind in their English (and Spanish) language ability when they enter kindergarten,” says Brook Sawyer, PhD, assistant professor of education and human services. Sawyer and colleagues at Temple, NYU, and USF investigated what preschool teachers were doing to support Spanish-speaking DLLs, and found they were using minimal strategies. “As a field, we have to do a better job at preparing teachers, and we need to differentiate our professional development so we are taking into account teachers who do not speak the children’s native language,” she says. Sawyer’s findings have helped shape her future research. Together with her colleague Patti Manz, Ph.D., associate professor in the school psychology department, Sawyer plans to help build partnerships between preschool teachers and parents of Spanish-speaking DLLs, as well as to use technology (iPads) as a means to improve language skills. “Parent involvement is a significant contributor to children’s academic performance,” Sawyer says. And when parents and teachers partner, they can share knowledge. “Parents can provide teachers with key words in their native language and information about their culture to build into their lessons,” Sawyer says. “And teachers can suggest to parents ways to enhance children’s language, such as reading with them in interactive ways.”
Zirkel Honored Perry Zirkel, one of the most cited authors in education law, recently won the Edwin M. Bridges Award by the University Council for Educational Administration. The award recognizes contributions to original, outstanding work in the area of research or development that contributes to the knowledge and understanding of how best to prepare and support future generations of educational leaders.
“For whatever reason, no one else has combined the empirical approach with legal material (i.e, legislation, regulations and case law) with a focus on the education practitioner.”—Perry Zirkel “It gives meaning to a long career of scholarly activity,” says Zirkel, whose research focuses on empirical and practical studies of special education law, as well as more general education law and current labor arbitration issues. With more than 1,350 publications and presentations behind him, his experience spans more than 35 years as an impartial specialist in education law, with a sub-specialty in special education law. The award recognizes Zirkel’s “originality of effort” in particular.
| college of education • theory to practice
photography by Christa Neu
Partnering with Parents
In the Classroom
Research Informed by Culture
The BOSS Is Watching
Brandon Knettel, a doctoral student in counseling psychology at Lehigh, takes an ethnographic approach to his research.
Parents and teachers often hear about the importance of keeping young children engaged. In the education research world, this engagement translates to the amount of time children spend interacting with their environment—adults, other children, and materials—in a way that is developmentally appropriate. To measure how well individual children engage, researchers need the right instruments. “These tools need to yield objective data that can be effectively summarized to inform intervention development, implementation, and evaluation,” says Robin Hojnoski, Ph.D., associate professor of education and human services at Lehigh. They must also take into account actions of children’s peers, for comparison, as well as the type of activity they’re involved in. “In addition, such tools must be easy to use in a range of settings and demonstrate adequate technical properties,” she says. Enter the proposed solution—The Behavioral Observation of Students in Schools—Early Education (BOSS—EE). The original Behavioral Observation of Students in Schools (BOSS) was developed by Lehigh Professor of Education Ed Shapiro in 2004. “The BOSS is a direct observation system frequently used in schools to assess the on-task and problematic behavior of students; it provides a good template for developing a similar tool modified for early education settings,” Hojnoski says. To create BOSS’s early education counterpart, Hojnoski and her fellow researchers on the project—Shapiro and Assistant Professor Brenna Wood—are currently collecting data from experts in the field as they review portions of the tool. “We are also gathering videotape data in early education classrooms in the Lehigh Valley area,” Hojnoski says. With their findings, Hojnoski and her fellow researchers will begin the initial development stage of BOSS-EE to measure the engagement that is such an important part of children’s social and academic well-being.
“My view is that no intervention can be effective if it isn’t informed by and rooted in the Tanzanian culture,” says Knettel, who is studying mental health conditions in Tanzania. Knettel taught at a university there with a counseling education program in 2009 and 2010, teaching primary and secondary
school teachers to recognize mental health problems in their students—for instance, being able to recognize signs of abuse and neglect that may be affecting a child’s emotional well-being. “I completely fell in love with the country’s culture,” Knettel says. “I also saw that psychological services are on the rise there,
for better or worse. I want to inform the development of those services—all while keeping in mind that it’s a very culturally sensitive matter.” Knettel, who has returned to Tanzania twice since 2010, is also a volunteer and practicum student at The Philadelphia Refugee Mental Health Collaborative, a group of resettlement agencies, mental health providers, physicians and arts organizations working to link refugees to culturally and linguistically appropriate mental healthcare. As part of his studies, he is interviewing mental health providers and the general public to get a better sense of how people in the East African country view mental illness. For instance, depression and anxiety, two of the main mental health problems affecting Americans, are hardly seen as a priority in Tanzanian culture, he says. More visible issues, such as schizophrenia and other forms of psychosis, gain more attention. Knettel, who plans to finish his doctorate in September of 2015, says that studying and working in other cultures “has helped me to understand that psychology as we know it is largely a Western, developed country phenomenon. For psychology to be truly global, we need to allow it to expand to include the diverse perspectives of people all over the world.”
Silova Wins for Best Article Iveta Silova, associate professor of comparative and international education, was recognized with the highest honor by the Comparative and International Education Society (CIES)—the 2012 George Bereday Award—for the best article published in the journal Comparative Education Review (CER). The winning article, coauthored by Silova and Stephen Carney, associate professor of psychology and educational studies at Roskilde University, Denmark, and Jeremy Rappleye, associate professor, Kyoto University, was titled “Between Faith and Science: World Culture Theory and Comparative Education.”
“It is a text that cannot be avoided by anyone wanting to address a critique of [World Culture] theory in the future.” —George Bereday Award Committee
Each year, the Awards Committee of CIES evaluates all of the articles published in the Comparative Education Review for their importance in shaping the field, analytic merit, policy implications, concern for theoretical constructs, and implications for future research.
college of education • theory to practice
| lehigh university • college of education
Re-routing the Futures of Sex-Trafficked Youth Many people hear the term “sex trafficking” and think of Third World
countries. But youth all over the United States—including the Lehigh
| lehigh university • college of education
Valley—become victims of sexual slavery every day.
“Our research in a local county prison revealed that 50 percent of the women inmates had a history of sex trafficking, and one-third of these exploitations took place before the age of 18,” says Amanda Eckhardt, Ph.D., professor of practice of education and human services. Eckhardt and her research team also found 100 percent of women with a history of sex trafficking needed housing, and 62 percent requested mental health counseling. So together with the organization Valley Against Sex Trafficking (VAST), Eckhardt has set out to understand both the prevalence of sex trafficking in the Lehigh Valley and to increase local organizations’ awareness, knowledge, and skills in sex trafficking provisions. “From my perspective, a critical component to aftercare for sex trafficking survivors is this awareness,” she says. In addition to spreading the word, Eckhardt and others in the College of Education at Lehigh are learning how to best care for local sex trafficking victims. Approximately 15 percent of counseling students (both masters and doctoral) have attended local sex trafficking service trainings within the past
two years. “These trained counselors know the right questions to ask of young people, as well as the red flags to look for in youth at risk for sex trafficking, such as frequent truancy, lack of parental responsiveness, and malnourishment,” Eckhardt says. The lack of parental support Eckhardt points to is a major
risk factor for sex trafficking in the first place. “One out of every three young people is lured into sex trafficking within 48 hours of running away from home, and unfortunately, even in the Lehigh Valley, some parents pimp out and exploit their children,” she says. “So I believe a great focus of our work, both prevention and intervention, must be family-based.” To come at the problem from all angles, together with organizations like VAST, Truth for Women, and Crime Victims Council, Eckhardt is working to provide the most effective support for victims. “This holistic therapy is essential to the well-being of youth who have been sex trafficked,” she says.
George White, professor in the College of Education’s educational leadership program and director of the Center for Developing Urban Educational Leaders, has been named to an interdisciplinary core group of five faculty members heading Lehigh’s new Community Health Cluster.
Examining China’s Examination System China has a long history of an examination system, which determines a student’s progress from one level to the next. But in 2001, the nation began implementing new Curriculum Educational Reforms aimed at moving away from the singular focus on examinations toward a better balance between teaching and learning. The resulting tension is the subject of one of Peggy Kong’s research projects in China. Kong, assistant professor of comparative and international education, conducted fieldwork to explore how senior secondary students, teachers, parents, administrators, and education leaders understand and negotiate the new curriculum reforms. The reforms were first implemented in primary and junior middle schools in 2001, and began spreading to senior secondary schools in 2005. They included removing the junior examination for the transition from primary to junior middle school, and developing student capacities for critical thinking, self-expression, moral and aesthetic sensibilities, physical and psychological health, and the ability to apply knowledge to practice. As universal implementation approaches, Kong also is examining the role of parenting behaviors and the home environment in educational transitions in a child’s life (i.e., junior to senior high, senior high to college) via the high school examination and college entrance examination. Kong’s research is a joint project with colleagues at Rutgers University and Northwest Normal University (Gansu, China) and Shanxi Normal University (Shanxi, China).
“It carries the potential to transform health in the community, as well as our relationship with the community.” —Chris Burke George White
The Community Health Cluster is the latest selected in the university’s commitment to address complex issues with broad-based, interdisciplinary approaches by funding small groups of faculty “clustered” around an intellectual theme, interest or problem. It will fund up to three new faculty positions. Chris Burke, assistant professor in the department of psychology and one of the other four core faculty members named from the College of Arts and Sciences, says the cluster will be strategically oriented around the community-based participatory research methodology that has been effective in analyzing and addressing determinants of health and health disparities.
college of education • theory to practice
White Named to Community Health Cluster
The Reach of Research Education in America is at a crossroads. Lehigh’s commitment
to innovative research and focus on applying research to practice allow College of Education faculty to help shape education and
| lehigh university • college of education
mental-health policy across the nation.
Greensboro, N.C. Kingston, R.I. Bethlehem, Pa. Now in the second year of a fiveyear longitudinal study, the TRAC Project is seeking to identify how students with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, may differ from their peers with respect to psychological, social, and educational functioning.
George DuPaul, professor of school psychology, is working with peers from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and the University of Rhode Island on the study. As part of the study, DuPaul is currently collecting secondyear data on 72 students (39 ADHD, 33 controls) who were first-years last year at Lehigh University, Muhlenberg College and Lafayette College. He also is recruiting another 70 students (35 ADHD, 35 controls) from current first-year students at the same three schools to take part. DuPaul and the other researchers are hoping the data will identify factors that may predict success vs. difficulties for students with ADHD as they progress through four years of college.
A 20-day climate change curriculum for middle school students developed by Lehigh University in partnership with the Bethlehem Area School District in Pennsylvania is effective in increasing student understanding of important concepts, according to research. Teachers also found that it provided new ways of teaching climate change science content with a technology-integrated curriculum developed by Al Bodzin, associate professor of science education, and others at Lehigh. The Environmental Literacy and Inquiry (ELI) curriculum is a coherent sequence of learning activities that include climate change investigations with Google Earth, web-based interactivities that include an online carbon emissions calculator and a webbased geologic time-line, and hands-on laboratories. The climate change science topics include the atmosphere, Earth system energy balance, weather, greenhouse gases, paleoclimatology, and “humans and climate.” Comprehension increased significantly from pre- to post-test after enactment of the ELI curriculum in the classrooms, research found. ELI is sponsored in part by the Lehigh Environmental Initiative.
Pennsylvania Tennessee Missouri More than half of high school students with severe behavioral issues never make it to graduation. Thanks to Professor Lee Kern and her $9.6 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education, there’s now a center where a group of special education and mental health experts are collaborating to make these children a national priority.
Kern, who is associate chair and professor of special education at Lehigh, has used the generous grant to develop the National Research and Development Center on Serious Behavioral Disorders at the Secondary Level. There, she and her fellow researchers have studied a range of interventions designed specifically for high school students experiencing intensive emotional and behavioral disorders over the past four years; the Center has one more year of funding. Research shows at least 2 to 3 percent of all school-aged children have severe behavioral disorders, and many more experience mental health problems that prevent them from succeeding in school. With that in mind, Kern’s work is imperative to making sure these students become fruitful members of society.
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.
Peggy Kong, assistant professor of comparative and international education, is conducting research on private supplementary tutoring in China, Hong Kong, and Japan. Kong is examining the influences of family background, definitions of private supplementary tutoring, and the forms of private supplementary tutoring within the context of Asia.
The intersection of mass education systems and the phenomenon of “scientization” worldwide is the focus of a project involving Associate Professor Alex Wiseman and faculty colleagues at the University of Tuebingen, Germany. They are concerned with the historical development of knowledge societies as a result of educational systems and the scientization of knowledge that accompanies educational institutionalization.
Jill Sperandio, associate professor of educational leadership, is working in Ghana on an international project looking at school principals’ understanding of social justice leadership. She also just returned from a Ghana conference designed by Women Leading Education, which brings women together who are studying, experiencing, or promoting women’s leadership in educational activities.
Professor Arpana Inman and Associate Professor Iveta Silova are working with two graduate students to improve public health training courses in Southeast Haiti. In collaboration with two partnering organizations, their students solicited feedback from 120 participants in a community health course focusing on maternal and child health and communicable disease prevention.
Associate Professor Alex Wiseman is faculty director for an internship program that will send five Lehigh students to Indonesia for eight weeks next summer. The students will work with Universitas Gadja Mada students and faculty on one of three projects: batik-making/tourism development; medicinal herbs/economic growth; or family welfare/ community facilitation.
Christine Novak, professor of practice in school psychology, is working with NGOs in the Czech Republic to promote social inclusion and educational outcomes for Romani youth living in isolated communities. Next summer, she will accompany five Lehigh undergraduates to work with three NGOs as part of Lehigh’s International Internship for Global Leadership program.
J-town students are equally split between white and minority students
Unfortunately, students at J-town do not benefit from in-house services like medical care, dentistry, or mental health. At J-town good grades do not earn students cash, nor does good instruction earn teachers bonuses. Instead, J-town relies on the two factors known to influence student achievement: teachers and leaders. As I have walked the
he remains for another year. Some might question my calculus, as talented educators and extended hours should not produce average results. However, the J-town population is anything but average. Nearly two-thirds of the student body receives free or reduced lunch prices. J-town students are equally split between white and minority students,
I am not a “bleeding heart” who hopes that my children’s attendance at J-town would better society or teach them some sort of altruistic life lesson. In fact, I am a competitive, rather conservative educational researcher who teaches and preaches the benef its of quantitative measures to aspiring school leaders.
| lehigh university • college of education
The Average Mistake
Just off a busy four-lane strip mall-lined road, within a quiet neighborhood in Jeffersontown, Kentucky, rests Jeffersontown High School. When arriving at the school, visitors will notice nothing remarkable about the setting or the building. Similar to the view from the parking lot, a review of the school’s published accountability statistics will uncover extremely average results. Yet, if my family still lived in Louisville, Kentucky, this would be the only high school in the district that I would want my son and daughter to attend. I am not a “bleeding heart” who hopes that my children’s attendance at J-town would better society or teach them some sort of
altruistic life lesson. In fact, I am a competitive, rather conservative educational researcher who teaches and preaches the benefits of quantitative measures to aspiring school leaders. I hope that my children matriculate to one of the top-tier schools my wife and I have attended (Northwestern, Notre Dame, Virginia), so that they might enjoy lucrative careers that bring them happiness. In the end, like many parents, I hope that my children fare better than my wife and me. So, why would I choose an average school like J-town? Skeptics might suggest that I am trying to game the system.
Talented children in a safe and mediocre school might more readily lead teams, earn awards, and achieve good grades. (Like I said, I am competitive and good with numbers.) More investigative doubters might suggest I am showing or would expect favoritism from my former student, co-author, and principal of J-town, Marty Pollio. However, spend some time walking around J-town with Marty and you will realize that giving breaks are not part of his charm or talents. This is where I am supposed to explain how J-town is an extraordinary and special school. But it is not. J-town does not house any elaborate specialty programs or utilize a unique schedule.
halls of J-town, I have witnessed excellence in teaching. I watched a young math teacher dissect his paycheck to connect with his students, as well as teach the tenets of algebra. I have seen a veteran chemistry teacher challenge the most talented students and reach those who will never use her content. The skills of these teachers are difficult to measure on standardized tests, but their dedication is easily ascertained by the number of teachers’ cars in the parking lot after school hours. Similarly, the skillful leadership required to orchestrate this educational symphony is difficult to measure. As seen in school grading systems across the country, researchers and policy wonks can use advanced statistical techniques to estimate Marty’s influence on multiple measures of J-town’s performance. However, these evaluations cannot quantify the increased trepidation among J-town teachers when rumors fly about Marty taking a new position, nor their satisfaction when
with as many students seated in advanced programs as are receiving special education services. The disadvantaged circumstances of many J-town students usually equate to sustained and poor achievement, as well as talented students fleeing the school. This mismatch between the forecast and reality of J-town results in my esteem for the school. J-town represents what is wrong with current judging and ranking of schools. Like many schools across the country, J-town will not be identified as a persistently low-achieving school, nor cited as a top school in the state. For many educators, this limbo-like designation has become welcomed camouflage. This lack of attention allows them to not only keep their jobs, but also provide meaningful educational lessons to future business leaders, doctors, military personnel, and educational researchers. The current state of accountability has put a premium on being left alone. Although such isolation
removes certain political and professional pressures, it also hinders or prevents the requisition of additional resources. For instance, schools with similar populations to J-town, but with worse academic performance, have received huge amounts of aid and assistance. On the other end of the spectrum, schools with much higher academic performance, yet dramatically different student populations, receive public accolades. Such admiration does not necessarily bring more monetary resources, but it does attract more high-performing students, their parental resources, and more opportunities. When it comes to schools like J-town, the numbers don’t always add up. Rankings by average student literacy and numeracy proficiency cannot appropriately value the often impressive and unexpected accomplishments of
great schools. Such rigid measurements can mask the excellent work of effective educators, by ranking their schools in the frequently disregarded middle. Many average rankings misjudge creative classrooms, talented teachers, and astounding student opportunity. As a parent, don’t make the average mistake. Craig Hochbein, assistant professor — of educational leadership
college of education • theory to practice
or years, women lagged behind men in educational attainment. More boys went to college, and Census data shows that twice as many men as women got bachelor’s degrees in 1960. Two decades later, a funny thing began to happen. By the mid-1980s, women not only caught up but also started to gain on men, not just by inches, but miles. Now, 57 percent of college students are women, and women earn about one-third more bachelor’s degrees than men, says the National Center for Education Statistics. As attention focuses on girls and women in STEM fields and they skyrocket ahead, however, some argue that the boys and men are getting left behind. In fact, a Mt. Everest of
Written by Lini S. Kadaba Illustrations by Laurindo Faliciano
evidence points to an entrenched reverse gender gap—boys lagging behind girls— that surfaces as early as kindergarten. Here’s a sample: According to U.S. Department of Education data, boys receive 71 percent of school suspensions. Boys make up 67 percent of special education classrooms. Boys are five times more likely than girls to be labeled hyperactive and 30 percent more likely to flunk or drop out of school. “It’s a story about females’ real gains, but also about stagnation in education for males that raises daunting challenges for American society,” write sociologists Thomas A. DiPrete and Claudia Buchmann in their new book The Rise of Women: The Growing Gender Gap in Education and What It Means for American Schools. One of the most talked about issues in education, the widening achievement difference between
college of education • theory to practice
The data is indisputable: Boys now lag behind girls in several significant areas of education. But the roots of the new gender gap are more complex and nuanced than has been reported. And so are the solutions.
lehigh university • college of education |
boys and girls has been debated vociferously for more than a decade. In the popular press, four words encapsulate the crux of the matter: Are schools failing boys? The question has a way of raising hackles and attracting polarizing expositions on the state of American schooling that are often fraught with political agendas. It suggests that there is a war against boys, as author Christina Hoff Sommers argued in her 2001 book of that title, and that gains by girls have been at the expense of boys. Other experts reject framing the conversation in terms of winners and losers. One of those is Adam J. Cox, a clinical psychologist who earned his doctorate in counseling psychology at Lehigh University. He has written extensively on the social and emotional development of children and adolescents based on his experiences in his private practices in Pennsylvania and, more recently, Rhode Island. “The anxiety that lies beneath much of the gender consternation is a zero sum mentality that leads some to believe that if we devote resources and attention to boys, those resources and that atten-
In non-cognitive skills, however, differences are significant. A 2012 study by Christopher Cornwell, head of the economics department at the University of Georgia, and colleagues found that boys on average score 15 percent lower on an assessment of non-cognitive skills (engagement in class, ability to sit calmly, interpersonal skills) than girls. The study falls short of calling teachers sexist, but points to the fact that the majority of elementary teachers are female, for the first time suggesting that a gender gap persists as a function of educators’ behavioral perceptions of their students. In addition, more girls like their teachers and schools. According to 2007 data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Survey (ECLS-K), 67 percent of eighth-grade girls report enjoying school compared to 59 percent of eighth-grade boys. The difference in engagement, in particular, could explain the gender gap. Interestingly, boys tend to start school as eager and as excited as girls, often with similar connectedness to teachers, says James Earl Davis, a professor of educational leadership at Temple University in Philadelphia who studery often, we’re patholOgizing boys ies gender and education. for being boys. They are being treAted “Then it’s squelched early on, by third or fourth grade.” as less-tHan members of a classrOOm, and Why the change? Boys people who are defIcienT or insufFicienT “continue to get the message they’re not doing right,” in a number of ways.”—Adam Cox Davis says, echoing Cox. The Cornwell study have conversations and students learn to voice also found that primary school teachers generally their opinions. graded boys lower than girls, even though the boys “This is a huge social issue,” he says. “We are scored similarly or better than the girls on stanso much more of a social culture. It seems your dardized tests. For example, the data show that alsuccess in the world, whether you’re accepted and though boys out perform girls on math and science liked by other people, the degree to which others test scores, girls are assigned the higher grades see you as smart and successful—a lot of that has by their teachers. The misalignment, the researchto do with your ability to read subtle social signals. ers say, is because teachers factored behavior and … It is important that boys be oriented to those comportment into the mix. things at a time when their brain still has neuroplasBesides social norms, some observers have ticity, when there is still learning going on.” attributed boys’ lower interest in school to bioTo be fair, many boys excel in traditional schools, logical differences. Cox, for example, points out and there is more variation among boys and girls that girls in general interpret language better than than between the genders. Researchers also agree boys, an advantage that can carry over to the that the overall academic prowess of girls is not classroom. “Girls hear language more deeply, usdue to more smarts. In fact, boys and girls share ing more of their brain to process and understand very similar cognitive abilities. language than do boys,” he writes. “The expanded
college of education • theory to practice
as social pressures and stereotypes—that hurt their chances of success in traditional classrooms, and ultimately the workplace, now more than ever. “In your son’s twenty-first-century education, career, and relationships, he’ll be expected to participate in highly social networks,” he writes in his book. “His success will hinge on how well he can access and join those networks.” According to Cox, boys often feel alienated in school from the earliest grades. “They feel as though it’s a place they don’t belong, where their particular ways of processing are not valued,” he says. “Very often, we’re pathologizing boys for being boys. They are being treated as less-than members of a classroom, and people who are deficient or insufficient in a number of ways.” The key, Cox says, is to teach boys at young ages strategies to connect and communicate, to build their communication competency. That might involve learning how to give compliments or cultivating a conscience. In schools, Cox advocates social-skills groups, where teachers and students
tion must result in a concomitant reduction for girls,” says Cox, author of the 2006 Boys of Few Words: Raising Our Sons to Communicate and Connect and the 2012 On Purpose Before Twenty. “I think that’s erroneous.” While the data exposes an indisputable gender gap, the reasons why this is the case are anything but settled. Some researchers point to biological differences between boys and girls in the way they learn. Others say the gap all but dissolves when race and socio-economic factors are considered. Some advocate single-gender schools; others see little value, and perhaps even disadvantage, in that approach. Some writers even argue that the gender gap has not truly resulted in any disadvantage to boys in the long run. They point to a wage gap that persists, with women earning on average only 77 cents to every $1 men get, according to Census data. Men also run the vast majority of Fortune 500 companies; women hold only 4.2 percent of those CEO positions, according to the nonprofit Catalyst. And women are under-represented at all levels of government. For example, women hold only 18 percent of the seats in Congress, says the Center for American Women and Politics. However, Hoff Sommers contends, those data have little to do with educational attainment in school and instead are often used as a way to distract people from the very real effects of the threedecade-long focus on girls and their needs. In reality, there is not a single explanation or fix, as is often the case. The roots of the gender gap are much more complex and nuanced than often reported. Many factors can account for the discrepancies between the academic achievement of boys and girls. It is a picture that continues to emerge, and most recently, has focused on social norms for boys and girls and the way those standards impact educational success. In Boys of Few Words, Cox argues that many boys face communication challenges—born of innate brain differences and learning styles as well
might have a contest to see which team can build the tallest structure, or they might cook together or draw with pastels. The fundamental question, he says, should not be focused on whether schools are failing boys. That only stirs hard feelings and controversy, he says. Others posit that it was exactly this type of focus (i.e., “are schools failing girls?”) that resulted in the impressive gains made by girls over the past several years and should be used as a model for boys. Conservative author Kate O’Beirne contends the past two decades have seen many classrooms turn into reeducation camps for young boys. Kopelman asks what is the practical value of an education and how should that education look. “What,” he says, “are we preparing students for?” The answer when it comes to boys may well demand schools of the future that look quite different from current, traditional models. As Cox says: “We are a diverse species, and we have a range of differences. We ought to have schools, which are so important, that accommodate some of those differences.”
college of education • theory to practice
cation. “Boys as a group are still operating in this old world that doesn’t exist anymore. Girls have made a more successful transition.” Schools, he says, need to help all students, but particularly boys, see clearer pathways, the practical value of education as a way to improve engagement. Cox would agree. He has spent two years interviewing boys from around the world, the basis of On Purpose Before Twenty. “We cannot hope to educate the next generation for the good life,” he writes, “without making a more considered life part of that equation. Schools are an essential catalyst for this growth, and for shaping people whose strength should be manifest more in their citizenship than consumption. “Because the education of youth has become unbalanced,” he adds, “favoring an intake of content over a plan of action, young people are searching for a sense of agency.” Those words resonate with Alexander Kopelman, co-founder and head of the Children’s Arts Guild in New York. The after-school, nonprofit program seeks to help boys develop emotional skills by way of art. “We feel gender socialization is very detrimental to boys,” he says, noting the gender gap. Boys and men, he says, are often taught to swallow their feelings. Consider the classic, boys don’t cry. “What we’re learning is to cut away a very essential part of ourselves, and to view it as the other, and as something that’s weak and undesirable,” he says. “As we get older, we sort ourselves into what boys and girls do and don’t do.” That can impact interest in books—and ultimately academic performance. Or it can impact love of art—and creative expression. Many boys, Kopelman says, will not pursue art because it’s viewed as something girls do. At the guild, the goal is to break down those stereotypes. Boys aged pre-K through fifth grade are exposed to male role models and creative projects. They
lehigh university • college of education |
processing capability adds up to additional social the girls. “Girls, as a group, tend to be more acaperception and the versatility to use that knowldemic-oriented,” he says. “When you take all the edge in social communication.” girls out, you are simultaneously, in general, makLearning styles, in general, also vary between ing the classroom environment less academic. boys and girls. While many girls absorb academic And that hurts boys.” lessons by listening and looking, many boys rely on Still, many schools are seeing positive results kinesthetic learning, that is movement and touch, from single-sex options. In South Carolina, for exto master new information, Cox says. The typical ample, more than 100 co-ed public schools are exclassroom, however, rarely involves moving around. perimenting with segregating boys and girls for large In fact, students are expected to sit still in rows of chunks of the school day when core subjects are desks while the teacher delivers the lesson. taught. Overall, reports suggest increased academic Many kinesthetic-oriented boys are the ones getperformance and decreased disciplinary issues for ting in trouble at school for fidgeting and worse. “At boys and girls in these single-gender classes. an all-boys school, a lot of that is let go,” Cox says. “There should always be opportunities for girls “People don’t constantly provide a correction.” to be among girls and for boys to be among boys, At the Fenn School, an independent, 4th to and hopefully for girls to be nurtured by women 9th-grade boys school in Concord, Mass., the Lowand boys nurtured by men,” says Davis, who likes er School day includes “flop,” a few minutes break the idea of co-ed schools that use gender pullto “just flop on the ground,” Cox explains. “That is outs for academics, not just to address social and an ideal intervention for boys. It’s highly effective health issues. in helping them to cope with restlessness and excessive oys as a group are still operating energy.” in this old world that doesn’t He also urges more male teachers in the lower grades exist anymore. Girls have made a more to serve as role models, more successful transition.”—Thomas A. DiPrete boy-friendly books (sci-fi, action and adventure) and more projects that involve doing something “heroic.” However, the opportunities for boys to be ex“Where is the room to be Harry Potter?” he posed to male role models are distinctively disasks. The answer could be as simple as allowing advantaged across the nation by the dominance older students to mentor younger ones, he says. of women in teaching. Some have posited, not While research shows that male teachers in without warrant, that female teachers instincthe lower grades improve the likability of school for tively reinforce “female” behavior and fail to acboys, it does not necessarily translate into stronknowledge, or even punish, the gender-specific ger academic outcomes. All-boys schools also behaviors of boys. have mixed results. Peter J. Kuriloff, research director of the Cen“There’s been a proliferation of same-sex ter for the Study of Boys’ and Girls’ Lives in Philaschools and classrooms in public schooling,” Dadelphia and a professor of teaching, learning and vis says. “We would love to see more achievement leadership at the University of Pennsylvania, aroutcomes.” He reminds that urban schools, in gues that public schools in general are failing both particular, struggle with issues of teacher compeboys and girls. “The way the kids are taught in tency—and that issue does not go away simply by most ordinary public schools is boring,” he says. reorganizing the students into single sex groups. “That’s not good for boys or girls.” DiPrete, who also is the Giddings professor of DiPrete says schools have not kept pace with sociology at Columbia University in New York, says a changing economy and that boys have suffered his research shows that the gender gap diminmore for it. “The economy has changed fundamenishes in relation to the strength of the academic tally,” he says, as manufacturing jobs have given climate in a school—and that often depends upon way to an information age that requires higher edu-
Photo by theo anderson
In Retrospect: Fractured Debate “The shale gas train is rolling and won’t stop. As a society we need to do our homework and make informed decisions.”—Alec Bodzin, Associate Professor Since our 2012 issue, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has launched a study on the effects of hydraulic fracking that is expected to greatly influence the future debate. A progress report was posted online at www.epa.gov/hfstudy in December 2012, and the draft report of results from the study is expected in late 2014.
The Challenge of School Reform: We talked with Lehigh faculty and other educational leaders and came up with four researchsupported points of consensus to help push true change forward.
lehigh university • college of education
educators lean forward in their chairs and tilt in a much larger room. Taking the their heads to ponder the situation from a new place of the student’s assignment perspective. They furrow their brows, contemin the center of the room is the plating how they will answer the question hanging over the room. United States educational system. The question that the teachers, principals, and administrators Gathered around is a crowd that is woke up early on a fall Saturday morning to answer is this: What less apt to work collaboratively: the is the message this student is conveying? nation’s policymakers, politicians, Jon Drescher has organized today’s event, the Lehigh/Ceneducation leaders, and other staketer for Developing Urban Educational Leaders (CDUEL) Socratic holders in the education system. Rounds. Now in its third year, the monthly gathering typically draws Given the range of perspecabout four dozen educators from the Lehigh Valley, Philadelphia, tives, the dedication to agendas, New Jersey and New York, and sometimes further afield. and the high volume of voices in The main purpose is to discuss crucial questions facing the room, is it possible to find any schools. But a central element in each workshop is the “collabagreement on the question of how orative assessment protocol.” to reform the nation’s Written By “Somebody brings in one piece of student work, schools? What areas of Eric and people look at it and talk about what they see. The common ground could teacher who produced the lesson is sitting there, and it’s they find that might proMetcalf non-judgmental and no one’s critiquing the lesson,” says vide some footing to help Illustrations By Drescher, a professor of practice at Lehigh University and them push education toHenrik director of its Urban Principals Academy. ward true change? “I’ve been doing this for years, and I’ve never in all Drescher Lehigh College of these years experienced a teacher who didn’t say, ‘Wow, Education faculty and I never would have thought of these things. I never saw those other educational leaders shared things myself.’ The more you expose people to the ability to obideas—and perhaps a few modest serve and share their perspective, the stronger the communicaproposals—on where we might find tion is going to be in a school, and the stronger the teaching is some research-supported points of going to become.” consensus amid the long-running Now, picture a similar, but hypothetical, scenario taking place clamor over school reform.
lehigh university • college of education
Alexander Wiseman, associate professor of comparative and international education at Lehigh, sees benefit in breaking down the walls between classes—figuratively speaking, of course. “We’re great at separating and siloing. We teach kids that life consists of different areas of knowledge, and that you can specialize in one without really having to know anything about another. But life is full of both. You don’t have the choice of being good at math or being good at English. You’re going to have to use both of those in some capacity. If you are bad at one and good at the other, they’re both going to suffer.” Beyond the Socratic Rounds, Drescher also has a long history of coaxing teachers to interrupt their weekend plans for the greater good. In 2003, when he was running Prospect Hill Academy, a three-campus charter school in Cambridge and Somerville, Mass., word came down that the school would have to finish the year with a 12-percent budget cut. “I called the entire staff together on a Friday afternoon and said, ‘Who wants to work with us?’ About 10 teachers gave up their entire weekend and we worked on how we were going to cut this budget and not impact instruction. And that’s why they trusted us. They knew that no matter what was going on, we were going to be transparent. They were going to have input into it, they were going to know what was going on all the time, and they knew what our goals were,” he recalls.
Cultivate effective leadership A wealth of research over the past decade or so shows that the most important factor in student achievement is the teacher in the classroom, says Tony Flach, national practice director at the Leadership and Learning Center, an international organization dedicated to improving student achievement and educational equity. And the second largest variable is the school’s leadership. When describing the qualities of effective leaders, he refers to Leaders Make It Happen! by McNulty and Besser (Advanced Learning Press, 2011). “They describe several actions of principals that I see time and time again in site work and visits: These principals set goals and clearly articulate expectations for student performance; they’re creating a vision of student success; and they’re making it clear to their staff members that failure not only is not an option, it’s just flat not acceptable.” Good leaders also have an enthusiasm for data, says Flach, a former math teacher, and before that, a businessman. “One of the most successful practices we see in school right now is frequent teacher collaboration around data. That takes time, coaching, and support to ensure success. So that’s very much a leadership action,” he says. This collaboration requires teachers to understand their common curriculum map, pacing guide, and standards for which they’re responsible.
“Teachers work together to design or select common formative assessments that they administer during those units of instruction. Then it’s a regular collaboration, and we literally see a relationship between how often they meet around data from those formative assessments and the kind of gains they see from their kids,” he says. “If we’re really going to shift what’s going on in the classrooms, then the teachers are going to have to know the data, know the rationale for any desired change in practice, and have some say in what would be necessary to result in change in practice.” In many ways, failing to use data to inform instructional decisions is analogous to the nurse who fails to measure a patient’s vitals. It is malpractice. Good leaders support collaboration and encourage teachers to take part in building-level decisions, as discussed in Point #1. Flach points to Investigating the Links to Improved Student Learning by Seashore Louis, Leithwood, Wahlstrom, and Anderson as confirmation of factors that the Leadership and Learning Center has found to be important in recent decades. In that study’s conclusions, the authors note that “reform in the U.S educational system is both lively and messy but, as educators grapple with emerging demands, we found that leadership matters at all levels.” The report also found that “… while principals and district leaders continue to exercise more influence than others in all schools, they do not lose influence as others gain it. Influence does not come in fixed quantities. Influential leaders wishing to retain their influence may share leadership confidently.” Drescher sees two other qualities as crucial for effective leaders: They stand up for their vision and are willing to take any
college of education • Theory to practice
More collaboration up and down the line can invigorate school staff, foster the spread of effective practices, and help students join together disparate skills so they can better wield them in the real world. “There’s a tendency in American schools for people to close their classrooms and just do their own thing. That doesn’t help the overall effort, though it might be nice for the individual teacher,” says Kim Marshall, creator of the Marshall Memo, a weekly distillation of new and notable educational research. He points to professional learning communities (PLCs) as a new iteration of a method of getting teachers to collaborate. “The pure version of a PLC is, let’s say there are four third-grade teachers in a school, all of them teaching the major subjects. Every seven weeks or so, they give a common math test or assign the same essay to the kids. Within a couple of days, they sit down to look together at how the kids did and compare what was working and what was not working. ‘Your kids did better on this than mine did. What method did you use?’ And the team is constantly analyzing that and constantly improving their performance.” Of course, collaboration doesn’t just happen on its own. As Stoll and colleagues observed in a 2006 Journal of Educational Change article: “It is difficult to see how a PLC could develop in a school without the active support of leadership at all levels. Leadership is therefore an important resource for PLCs, in terms of headteacher/principal commitment and shared leadership.”
| lehigh university • college of education
Make room for reform from the bottom up
The public tends to regard the educational system as if they were looking at it through a smudged pair of bifocals. Up close, the view looks pretty good. But the big picture at a distance is a lesspleasing sight. Wiseman points to the annual Phi Delta Kappa/Gallup Poll of the public’s attitudes toward public schools to highlight this disparity. In the 2013 poll, 53 percent of respondents gave the public schools in their community an A or B, compared to just 15 percent who gave the schools a D or Fail. But for the nation’s public schools as a whole, just 18 percent gave an A or B rating, while 25 percent gave a D or Fail. These proportions were similar in the 1993 survey. “Really the only thing we see in the news about the nation’s education system is how bad we are. Even if we were to make huge advances in the next two years, I still think people would say, ‘Eh, overall we’re not doing so well.’ But the closer they get to
the schools—they’ve been in them, they know some of the teachers— they see the context that they’re working in, and they tend to be more positive,” Wiseman says. “With the system we’re in, making reforms at the school level first, or having them driven by the school context, that’s probably a much better way to go,” than a top-down approach to reform. Drescher supports a bottom-up approach to reform, as well. “I think all of the change that needs to happen in education needs to happen on a school-byschool basis. We try to do it on too large of a stage,” he says. His vision of reform at the school level requires keeping the people in those schools front and center, not just the statistics they generate. That means giving teachers the time to show that they’re turning their classes around. It means making room for definitions of improvement that aren’t as easily quantified as testing. It means better engagement with the students filling those schools. “Something I teach as a leader, as a teacher, as someone responsible for children is: Take two empty chairs. Think about two students in your school. And when you’re going to do something, if it’s not right for those two children, you shouldn’t be doing it,” Drescher says. “When you’re improving the culture of your school, and people are happier and enjoy working, and students are much more engaged and enjoy being in school and know that their teachers care about them, those scores are going to go up. I’ve seen it happen. I’ve seen the research about it. I think that’s the common ground we need to keep talking about. How do we get that to happen?”
Pay heed to the world around the schools The character of each nation seeps into the doors of its schools. Wiseman has studied Saudi Arabia’s educational system (“one of the lowest-performing in the world”). Factors affecting its system include overlaps between religion, politics, and society; total gender segregation in schools; and a struggle over how to serve both its native residents and the children of workers imported from other countries. South Africa, meanwhile, faces lingering racial and economic divisions after apartheid, with unequal access to quality schools for poor blacks versus wellto-do whites. In both cases, Wiseman says, the context of education is the foundation for everything that does (or does not) happen in schools. Then there’s the much-hyped educational system in Finland. While the nation may have worthwhile approaches to share in terms of creating effective schools, it also has a much smaller—and more homogenous—student population to steer compared to the United States. It also has a much smaller proportion of children living in poverty. Wiseman emphasized that research repeatedly shows that schooling can only be as great as the community context allows. As a result, school reform must address the burdens that many students carry into class along with their backpacks: absent parenting and lack of encouragement at home; stress from living in unsafe neighborhoods; hunger; and the various pressures to drop out of school.
“Of course a kid who comes in from a violent home, a violent neighborhood, or a single-parent family where the mother is working all the time has disadvantages. The best schools—and this is the exciting research I’ve been following for years now—the best schools do manage to overcome that,” Marshall says. According to Karin Chenowith and Christina Theokas in the fall 2012 issue of American Educator, principals who can coax high achievement from disadvantaged students tend to: •Create a vision that all students will be successful •Create an environment of respect •Apply their time toward instruction—this includes making collaborative relationships “the core of the way their schools work” and allocating the highest-performing teachers to the students most in need •Keep from losing themselves in the details of running the school building and place a premium on not wasting their staff’s time •Constantly assess that their schools are progressing toward their goals and using their resources properly Marshall has his eye on the ongoing Harlem Children’s Zone project, which now provides comprehensive services to youths across 97 blocks of Manhattan. The project guides parents in raising toddlers, confronts health and social concerns, and aims to send Harlem’s kids on a trajectory through college into the job market. It doesn’t come cheaply. In 2010, its cost worked out to $5,000 per child. Will improving schools in America’s neediest areas help lift them out of poverty? Or does our society need to address its economic disparities in order to fix the schools? Or both? “Where I come down on that one is that poverty is deeply embedded and it’s going to be generations before we really get rid of it, and in some ways it’s gotten worse during the recession. In the meantime, there’s lots schools can do. And it comes down to good leadership, good curriculum, good teaching, good supervision, and all that stuff.”
| college of education • theory to practice
hits that come their way for it. And they protect the people below them from unnecessary pressures and demands. “The superintendents should be buffering their principals. The principals should be buffering their teachers. You know that’s a great person—that’s why you hired them,” he says. “Now do whatever you have to do so they have freedom to do their job!”
Written By Elizabeth Shimer Bowers illustration by Edel rodriguez
INSIDE � MIND �
SCHOOL SHOOTERS Q: The Bureau of Justice Statistics reports that in 2011, approximately 1 percent of students aged 12 to 18 reported being the victim of violence at school. For serious violence, it is one tenth of 1 percent. Does the public perception of the prevalence of violence in schools match the reality? Peter Langman (PL): First of all, we have to define what you mean by school
violence. Some people would include bullying. My focus is on the largescale school shootings. I can talk about that. There is also the whole issue of gang violence. In terms of school-related homicides, those are down significantly. In fact, violent crime in general has gone down over the last 20 years in the U.S. However, that is not people’s perception, so I think that is where the media comes into play.
| college of education • theory to practice
At the request of Theory to Practice, alumnus Peter Langman—a sought-after expert on the psychology of young people who commit rampage school shootings— recently sat down with one of his former professors in Lehigh’s College of Education, Professor of Counseling Psychology Arnold Spokane, whose research also touches on violence in schools. Their conversation uncovered some fascinating insights on the individuals who conduct school shootings as well as what teachers, administrators, parents, and students can do to help prevent these tragedies. The following is an edited version of their discussion.
| lehigh university • college of education
Arnold Spokane (AS): Are these psychopathic shooters isolated? PL: They don’t typically have a real strong social group. They may have some friends and they may have some followers. Some of them are fairly isolated. But when you are talking about isolated, the third group is the psychotic group. This group is under the schizophrenia spectrum and some of them are very isolated. Take Seung-Hui Cho at Virginia Tech. He
... school shooters often leave quite a trail, they often talk about their plans with their friends and encourage them to join them. And if those kids were trained on those warning signs, they’d know they’d better tell someone.—Peter Langman statistics on secondary school shootings, and you would have to be at that school for like 6,000 years before you would see a school shooting. That is how rare they are.
Inside the Minds of School Shooters—is three distinct types of people who commit school shootings. I think that is important to understand because they come from different backgrounds, and they do what they do for different reasons. The three types are the traumatized shooter, the psychopathic shooter, and the psychotic shooter. The traumatized shooters—they come from dysfunctional families, poverty, abuse in the home,
Q: What are some of the factors that lead kids to reach the point of becoming violent in school? And is it a slow build, or do they just snap? PL: Generally, it is a long, slow build. They don’t tend to snap as people talk about it—“He’s a nice kid, I guess he snapped.” You don’t just wake up one day and become a mass murderer. What I outline in my book—Why Kids Kill:
a number of them were sexually abused outside the home, parents are poor, kids bounce around between mom to dad to grandma, sometimes they are in and out of foster care, there is no stability. And eventually, the rage and depression build. The other two types come from essentially stable and intact families. One type is the psychopathic, someone who is narcissistic, doesn’t care about other people, no empathy, no remorse, no respect for laws and regulations or authority, they are going to do what they feel like doing. They are often sadistic, so they get a thrill over having the power over life and death.
didn’t have a friend. He didn’t speak to anyone in four years of college. He was an extreme loner. Adam Lanza at Sandy Hook [Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., where 20 children and six adult staff members were shot to death in December 2012] spent most of his time in his mother’s basement playing videogames and watching movies. He was very isolated. So when you see that extreme isolation, this is usually with the psychotic shooters. They are having hallucinations, they hear voices talking to them, paranoid delusions, delusions of grandeur. Going back to your question about slow build or do they snap, people
may be evolving into schizophrenia over a period of years. There often is a series of events shortly before the attack that pushes them over. What you see is there is some kind of an event, or they are rejected by a girl. They get in trouble at school—it may be a minor thing, but there is some kind of conflict with the school. Sometimes they get into trouble with the law, sometimes drugs or alcohol. So you see one thing on top of another thing on top of another thing, and it is building and building and building. And often they talk to their friends about school shootings, maybe about their own plans. Sometimes these friends are supportive, or they don’t say, ‘No you can’t do that’ or tell an adult, so there is a sense, ‘It is OK with my friends—they don’t object to it,’ and if they do object, they may say ‘I was just kidding—I would never do that.’ But really, they are planning and it builds and builds. There is often peer encouragement of some kind. Sometimes the shooters have role models for violence. They look at Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold at Columbine High School as a role model or Charles Manson or Hitler. They get into various ideologies that would support violence as appropriate. There are a lot of things coming together. But you don’t have an ordinary kid who wakes up
one day and becomes a mass murderer. Q: What’s the role of media, and videogames, movies, and television programs? PL: There is the media as in the news media, and then there is violent media as in films and so on. Some kids will tell you after the fact that they were very much influenced by something in the media. For example, [Eric] Harris and [Dylan] Klebold from Columbine, the code name for their attack was NBK, which is Natural Born Killers. They loved the movie and watched it so many times they could essentially recite the dialogue. Another kid, Jamie Rouse, said after he saw Natural Born Killers that it made killing look fun, it made killing look easy. When you talk about videogames or violent films, on the one hand, millions of kids and adults play violent videogames and watch violent movies and never pick up a gun. But there are a few kids who are already at risk, who may be close to the edge, who find sometimes inspiration in violent media. AS: Relatively speaking, school shootings are very infrequent acts. And we don’t have enough evidence yet to know which perpetrator is
going to actually wind up doing something, so it is very difficult to assess or predict who will actually go through with a shooting and who will not. There may be a large number of kids who will fit that description but who won’t do it so that is the trick—to try to figure out who will do it. Q: Regarding school violence, what should teachers and administrators be on the lookout for in terms of red flags? PL: When you talk about warning signs, there are a couple of key things. One is attack-related behavior. This means anything a kid or an adult is doing that indicates he or she is planning an attack. And that could be stockpiling weapons, researching other shooters, recruiting a friend to join the attack, or it could be warning a friend to stay away from school that day. The latter things fall under a category called leakage—when people leak their intentions. So secondary school shooters often leave quite a trail, they often talk about their plans with their friends and encourage them to join them. And if those kids were trained on those warning signs, they’d know they’d better tell someone. And if schools were trained on how to recognize threats, they could prevent
| college of education • theory to practice
| lehigh university • college of education
Also what comes into play is the fact that even when school-related homicides are going down, when they do occur, it seems like they are occurring en masse. It is not just one kid shooting another kid or stabbing another kid. It is the largescale rampage attacks that get the media’s attention. In terms of numbers, school shootings are such a rare phenomenon. Most of us will not see a school shooting in our lifetime. Someone once put together
shooting [after shooting and killing his father]. Fortunately, he didn’t do too much damage. But his mom obviously knew he was obsessed with Harris and Klebold. He was in love with his gun, named his gun, slept with his gun; his gun was his best friend at the time. So you have an obsession with firearms, obsession with Columbine, mental instability—a lot of warning signs. Q: Overall, what are some of the most important things teachers and administrators can do to help prevent violence in schools? PL: Schools need to have threat assessment procedures— multidisciplinary teams within the school, trained on threat assessment. Right now at the secondary school level, the focus is on lockdown procedures. That
ends up with a gun in the school. And that means training the students, too, because if anyone knows who’s planning something, it is most likely the other kids, and they need to be trained. For example, if you see this or hear this, this is what you do and why you do it. And even if it is your friend who you think will be mad at you, if you don’t tell anyone, your friend is probably going to be dead or in jail for the rest of his or her life. You may be dead, your other friends may be dead, and you are going to have to live with that. So kids need to be guided through and maybe given some role plays and scenarios. They need to think through the ramifications. In addition, teachers need to be trained in warning signs they may see that other people wouldn’t. There are kids who have
is what you do when there is an armed intruder in the building. That is a little late. Lockdown procedures are going to minimize the damage; they won’t prevent an attack. The idea of threat assessment is you look for the warning signs that lead you to the attack-related behavior, you identify the risk before someone
AS: Do you have any advice to students coming into the College of Education on how to conceptualize problems with violence in schools and school safety and education broadly for children?
PL: A few thoughts come to mind. The first is, avoid reductionist thinking. So much of the material on school shooters points to a single cause or a single explanation. The kid was written stories about kids bullied. Well, millions of kids killing other kids at school are bullied in this country and handed them in as and maybe one in ten school assignments. A few million becomes a school weeks later they do exactly shooter. He may have been what they wrote about in bullied, and he may not their papers. have been. In some cases, When Cho was in maybe he was the bully. Or high school, Columbine people blame the media. occurred, and he wrote a paper in favor of Columbine. He watched Natural Born Killers. Yes, but so did Virginia Tech didn’t know
There is a phenomenon that occurs, I’m not sure how often, but someone will have an inkling or small thought or feeling that a student is in trouble or something is wrong, but they will gloss over it. —Arnold Spokane High School. They drove by the house Eric Harris had lived in. While he was out there, he bought a black trench coat just like Harris wore. He was obviously obsessed with Harris and Klebold and Columbine. And a few months after his attempted suicide on the anniversary of Columbine, he committed a small-scale
that, but when he was at Virginia Tech, he wrote a paper about a guy named Bud who was planning a school shooting. Bud ended up not doing it, but there was an interdepartmental email from Virginia Tech where one of his professors told colleagues, ‘Every assignment he had handed in has been about shooting people.’ So teachers may see suspicious school assignments. Harris and Klebold made a video in their video production class called “Hit Men for Hire,” where a kid was being picked on, and he hired Klebold to come in and shoot people.
millions of others. There is a tendency to focus on one cause, but you have to think very broadly. That may have been a factor, maybe he was bullied. Or he was obsessed with the videogame Doom. But why was he obsessed with Doom? What did that do for him as a person, why was he drawn to it? What was the family life like? Was there a lot of rejection? Was he using drugs? What of a dozen or more different factors came together to cause him to do this? AS: In other words, look at a child’s context deeply and broadly and not superficially. Know these kids. PL: Yes. AS: There is a phenomenon that occurs, I’m not sure how often, but someone will have an inkling or small thought or feeling that a student is in trouble or something is wrong, but they will gloss over it. And I think it is important in the training to trust those suspicions or small feelings and not just dismiss them. Rather, take some action and find out whether that is a kid who is in trouble and whether there needs to be something done to respond to it. PL: If you read 10,000 papers in your career, and suddenly you read one and
you start getting nervous, pay attention to that. AS: Even a student’s behavior that seems out of line. We are psychologists, but even as professors and trainers, we may see things, and they may hit as almost a subconscious feeling about someone. You may act on it, or you may just forget about it and go on about your business. I think the tendency to go on about your business is a mistake now, and I think monitoring behavior and recognizing it as suspicious is very critical. I think it is hard for teachers and school personnel when their ratio [of students] is so high. Now with cutbacks with the economy, collateral personnel are now being withdrawn, and that is the wrong way to go. It means fewer eyes on the classroom. What we need is more people looking, more people checking their instincts for what might be going wrong and then acting on those instincts to try to prevent them. Instead, I don’t think the economics we are dealing with is backing that up. Instead, we are having fewer eyes on the classroom, fewer eyes on the school and neighborhood. And there is very good evidence that the more monitoring you have of any environment, the safer that environment is.
Peter Langman, Ph.D., has worked with children and adolescents for more than two decades. He is author of Why Kids Kill: Inside the Minds of School Shooters and is clinical director of psychology at KidsPeace Hospital in Schnecksville, PA. He received his B.A. in psychology from Clark University, his M.A. in counseling psychology from Lesley University, and his Ph.D. in counseling psychology from Lehigh University. He is also a poet and a playwright.
photography by Ryan Hulvat
| lehigh university • college of education
that attack. Sometimes kids are so obsessed with another shooter that they model themselves after that kid, quote them on their website, etc. In a couple of cases, they have even made pilgrimages to the places where those shootings occurred. For example, in 2006 a kid named Alvaro Castillo lived in Hillsborough, N.C., and he was obsessed with Columbine. In fact, he tried to commit suicide on the seventh anniversary of Columbine. His father came home and stopped him. He was psychotic. He decided God had spared his life for a higher purpose, which was to commit a Columbine-type attack. He lived in North Carolina and convinced his mother to drive him to Littleton, Col., where he videotaped from the car scenes of Columbine
Arnold Spokane, Ph.D., is professor and program director of counseling psychology at Lehigh. His most recent research focuses on the relationship of architectural features of the built environment to the social interaction, health, and recovery from disaster in underserved communities. Spokane received his B.A. in psychology from Ohio University, his M.S.Ed. in higher and adult education from the University of Kentucky, and his Ph.D. in counseling psychology from The Ohio State University.
Privatization in Public Education
The following are excerpts from Education Policy Talk, a
comparative education blog written by graduate students as part of their coursework in Spring 2013. The blog sought to promote a public debate on the issues relating to the nature, impact, and implications of privatization in public education worldwide.
Fauzia Nouristani A native of Afghanistan, Fauzia Nouristani is a second-year Comparative and International Education student, with a concentration in International Development in Education.
Lack of educational opportunity for Afghans, especially Afghan girls, has been a highly controversial topic that has been used as
Taliban, education has been seen more as a detested mechanism of Westernization and secularization of Afghan children. Taliban members in Afghanistan and Pakistan have fought it every step of the way, going so far as attempting to assassinate teenage activist Malala Yousafzai as she was returning home from school. … Many promises were made by Malala Yousafzai
at all, but to establish a brandnew, private, for-profit American University of Afghanistan catering to the Afghan and international elite.” The former finance minister and president of Kabul University stated: “You cannot support private education and ignore public education.” The aid money is given to American private contractors who have no real stake in education for the average Afghan but rather making a profit. The Western media sensationalizes a young girl shot fighting for her right to education and assumes moral high ground—then at the same time the U.S. government uses drones to kill these children. The Taliban, on the other hand, connects girls’ education, learning and knowledge, to Westernization—as siding with the invaders and occupiers—thus feeling justified to kill and maim.
| lehigh university • college of education
A native of Kazakhstan, Olga Mun is a first-year graduate student in the Comparative and International Education Program.
a tool to serve political agendas for both the Western powers and the Taliban. For the U.S. and its allies, bringing education to children—and especially girls—became a propaganda tool to partly justify invasion and occupation of Afghanistan. For the
the Bush administration regarding support of education. On a visit to Kabul, Mrs. Bush promised millions of dollars and a long-term commitment to education for Afghan women, but unfortunately, this “was not for Afghan public education (or women and children)
Attracting private investors in education is said to be of an utmost importance for the future of education and science. It is expected to increase funding of universities by 10 percent by 2014 through public-private partnerships and to integrate education and science through commercialization of science. For the purposes of lifelong learning, employers will be responsible for co-financing education of the employees. The expected outcome of the program is that by 2025 financing of education in Kazakhstan will be similar to the models in the “developed” countries.
Marina Kudasova Marina Kudasova is a Fulbright Fellow from Russia, who is in her second year of the master’s program in Comparative and International Education.
The biggest concern is that “Western” education is grossly generalized and overly idealized. There is no evidence that a simple injection of private funds into the public education system would improve the quality of education. Furthermore, privatization of public education is likely to intensify socioeconomic inequities. According to Businessinsider. com, USA is one of the world leaders in spending money on education and its schools are ranked as “average” by international assessment organizations. Moreover, education privatization trends in some “developed” countries also reveal that people with more money may have access to higher-quality education. … [I]t is not possible to simply borrow educational practices from the U.S. or any other “developed” country and implement them in Kazakhstan due to different political, socio-economic, and cultural contexts. … Education should support students to become responsible citizens, persons with high ethical standards and multifaceted personalities, rather than creating a generation of “test-takers” for the purposes of questionable economic growth.
Federal Law N-83 FZ activated the process of commercialization of public education that brought so far only uncertainty and frustration for Russian society. Certainly, there are more questions surrounding the reform than answers. Yet, it is becoming clear that the reform will have a major impact on school curriculum and family budget. The law guarantees to provide basic education for free. However, people express fears that fee-free curriculum will be cut down to a bare minimum. One concerned parent explained that experimentation with the new law in her child’s school has resulted in narrowing down of the fee-free educational program to the following subjects: two hours of math, two hours of Russian language, three hours of physical training, and three hours of religious studies weekly. The “free program” is so
basic that students have no choice but to attend fee-based courses in order to gain the necessary knowledge. Some reports suggest that teachers force their students to attend fee-based courses and give low grades to those students who do not obey ... Meanwhile, some activists are beginning to unite their efforts in opposing the reform. For example, there is a public initiative of concerned individuals called “Civil Initiative for Free Education” that boycotts the new law and regularly organizes demonstrations. There are also those who collect signatures and write petitions to stop the reform, as well as many others who are creating smaller internet communities. Their main concern is that the new law will lead to raising “a generation of dummies” and “grey masses that can only read and write, but not think.” Therefore, the negative impact of the reform is predicted to go far beyond the curriculum and family finances. It is believed that in a longer term the law will have a severe effect on the overall education level in the country.
college of education • theory to practice
MOOCs Finding Their Niche in K-12 Education MOOCs have been hailed as a game changer in higher education. But Scott Garrigan is interested in their potential for K-12 education. The jury is out as to whether MOOCs – (massive open online courses ) being offered by an increasing number of colleges and universities are an effective means of learning. But Scott Garrigan, Lehigh professor of practice of teaching, learning & technology in the College of Education, is already looking ahead to the day when MOOCs may be an integral part of the K-12 curriculum. Garrigan is intrigued enough
that he made a presentation on the subject at the International Society for Technology in Education conference in San Antonio over the summer. “I’m interested in how effective it can be … its potential,” he says. “It’s definitely something drastically different than what we’ve seen before, and it’s coming from that most conservative institution, the American university.” Online courses aren’t new, but
MOOCs only became a phenomenon in the past two years. They differ from traditional online classes in that they feature informal video presentations of five to 15 minutes by top professors on various subjects, with frequent pauses for non-graded quizzes and instant feedback on the chunk of material just discussed. The course presenters can determine if students are missing certain questions far more than others, indicating that perhaps the material needs to be tweaked in some way to be clearer. MOOCs have been hailed by some as a game changer in higher education—providing a universal, high-quality, low-cost education to anybody in the world with Internet access. Skeptics point out that they provide little or no interaction between students and professors, and are so new that there is scant research on their effectiveness. Most MOOCs are free. Few are for credit, but that’s changing. The University of Maryland University College has begun offering credit for six MOOC courses. Georgia Institute of Technology will begin offering a MOOCbased online master’s degree in computer science in January for $6,600—a fraction of the $45,000 on-campus cost. MOOC madness began when a free, non-credit course on artificial intelligence was offered by Stanford University in the fall of 2011. Some 160,000 students enrolled from around the world. Since then, three major providers of university-level MOOC courses have emerged. One of them, Udacity, was co-founded by a professor who taught that
AI course. Another start-up, edX, began last year with $60 million in funding from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University. The third company, Coursera, has raised about $65 million in venture capital. Despite their rapid growth and sometimes breathless accolades, MOOCs have stumbled at times. San Jose State University opted in July to “pause” its partnership with MOOC provider Udacity to offer forcredit MOOCs because of low pass rates in three math courses. Colorado State University-Global Campus offered credit for a computer science MOOC and students showed no interest. And a MOOC offered by Coursera and taught by a Georgia Tech professor was suspended after one week because of technology and design problems. The subject: “Fundamentals of Online Education: Planning and Application.” Garrigan and others, however, see MOOCs in K-12 education as a different sort of online animal. He cites Khan Academy as why. Formed in 2008 by Salman Khan, a former hedge fund analyst with three degrees from MIT and an MBA from Harvard, the online platform provides free lessons in K-12 subjects, particularly math. The academy provides interactive exercises and real-time data on student performance that lets them, their teachers and their parents gauge their progress. Khan pioneered the MOOC feature of short videos and immediate-feedback quizzes, Garrigan says. This method provides “an opportunity for retrieval of what was just learned, and places that content in long-term memory,”
says Garrigan, who has taught and developed online courses and was a classroom teacher for 20 years. “It implements a form of mastery learning that is otherwise difficult to manage with a group. It’s a model that seems to speak to the way we learn.”
improvement in K-12 learning. The latest annual report on ACT scores found that 31 percent of high school graduates weren’t ready for any college coursework requiring English, science, math or reading skills. Meanwhile, school districts in Philadelphia,
“It implements a form of mastery learning that is otherwise diff icult to manage with a group. It’s a model that seems to speak to the way we learn.”—Scott Garrigan Garrigan teaches the theory and implementation of MOOC technologies in his Instructional Technology classes to prepare Lehigh graduates to understand the education model and help design and build MOOC-like resources themselves for higher education and K-12. Khan received $3.5 million in grants from Google and the Bill Scott Garrigan
and Melinda Gates Foundation in 2010. It now numbers 6 million users in 216 countries per month who can peruse more than 4,600 videos as of August, according to its website. It has pilot programs in a number of U.S. schools. Certainly there is a need for
Chicago and elsewhere are grappling with enormous budget crises. Garrigan sees potential for MOOCs to not only improve K-12 learning but to save schools money. “Our existing K-12 system is very personnel-heavy,” he says. “By its very design it’s an expensive system. It deals in teaching groups of students where we know students’ needs are more individual.” Robin Worley, a technology educator who is working on culturebased Hawaiian online history courses for students at the private, college-prep Kamehameha Schools in Hawaii, agrees. “My interest in education is in developing countries,” she says. “[But] even in the U.S. we’re lacking in qualified math and science teachers.” MOOCs have the potential to enable high schools to offer electives that their budgets otherwise don’t permit, Garrigan says. They can “expand access to opportunity, expand access to higher-level courses … which typically would be under-enrolled and canceled
college of education • theory to practice
| lehigh university • college of education
| lehigh university • college of education
at the high school level. There is essentially no incremental cost.” Mike Kaspar, a senior policy analyst at the National Education Association, is wary. “It’s going to continue to grow until people wake up to the real problems with it,” he says. Those problems, in Kaspar’s view, are that some students could lag behind if they don’t have a computer or Internet access, or their computer crashes. “For us at NEA, it’s about equity and fairness.” Kaspar also is concerned about who reviews MOOC content before making courses available. Still, he concedes MOOCs may have some value in K-12 education. “They definitely have a role to play and they do it well in rural schools and with courses students wouldn’t otherwise have access to,” he says. “It serves a valuable pur-
pose” if used to supplement, not supplant, classroom education. That isn’t the intent, MOOC’s K-12 advocates say. A K-12 MOOC “is really just to fill in the holes where there aren’t necessarily experienced teachers in an area,” Worley says. “Absolutely, teachers are essential for K-12.” Worley is so sold on MOOCs
that she has created a website (www.k12mooc.org) to build a community of volunteers who she hopes will provide and vet MOOCS for K-12 global consumption. MOOC higher education skeptics note that courses lack the interpersonal connection between
they seem, he says. “Most students view taking a MOOC like browsing through a library, taking a book off the shelf and paging through it to see would I be interested in reading this book,” Garrigan says. “And most of the books they take off, they put back until they find one
“I think there are a lot of things that would appeal to some high school students. This is not a one-size-f its-all. It’s more an opportunity to extend access.”—Scott Garrigan students and professors that they have in a classroom setting. Students can email questions to the professor, but typically only those that are asked most often are answered online. In urban areas, MOOC students sometimes get together for study groups, but that’s less feasible in rural and suburban areas. That’s not an issue with K-12 education, supporters say. Khan Academy, for example, says that its courses free up teachers to interact directly with students. One method of doing so is in a “flipped classroom” where teachers assign a video for homework, then work on related problems in class the next day. Ideally, the academy says, students watch videos and work on exercises at their own pace. The program allows the teacher to gauge students’ progress and areas where they need help. Critics also point out that the dropout rate in MOOCs is about 90 percent. Garrigan prefers to refer to completion rates. Put in context, the figures aren’t as bad as
they are interested in. Then they take that and finish it.” Nor is Worley concerned about the low completion rate because K-12 MOOCS will ideally be used in face-to-face or blended instruction. “There’s a demand from parents for online courses as low as first grade,” Garrigan says. “I see it as most applicable to the senior level of high school, and then going down to … some students at the sixth grade level who would be interested in taking some MOOC elements of courses and who would be successful. I don’t see MOOCs being threatening to K-12.” MOOCs could enable high school students to graduate early or accumulate college credits before attending a university, Garrigan says. “I think there are a lot of things that would appeal to some high school students. This is not a one-size-fits-all. It’s more an opportunity to extend access. “I don’t see state departments of education rushing into this, nor should they. It’s totally unproven for K-12. It needs time to see where does it fit or not fit.” — By Larry Keller
Battle Over Standardized Testing Begins in Boston Ralph Waldo Emerson’s poem “Concord Hymn” commemorated “the
shot heard ‘round the world" in the clash between local militiamen and
British troops that marked the start of the Revolutionary War in 1775. But 70 years later, in nearby Boston, another shot was fired—figuratively speaking this time—that launched the war over standardized testing that continues today not only in the United States, but across the globe. The man considered to be the Father of Standardized Testing in the U.S. is Horace Mann, who was secretary of the Massachu-
setts State Board of Education from 1837-48. Before 1845, oral examinations prevailed as the primary way to measure educational attainment in American schools. But Mann, after visiting schools in Europe in 1843, returned convinced that written exams were superior. He wrote: “When the oral method is
adopted, none but those personally present at the examination can have any accurate or valuable idea of appearance of the school…Not so, however, when the examination is by printed questions and written answers. A transcript, a sort of Daguerreotype likeness, as it were, of the state and condition of the pupils’ minds, is taken and carried away, for general inspection. Instead of being confined to committees and visitors, it is open to all; instead of perishing with the fleeting breath that gave it life, it remains a permanent record. All who are, or who may afterwards become interested in it, may see it.” In 1845, Mann had members of his Board of Education prepare and administer written exams to students in the Boston schools that the local schoolmasters had not seen. The examiners then used the test results to harshly criticize the teachers and the quality of education students were receiving. Teachers countered that the written questions had little to do with what students had been taught. In the resulting bitter clash, some teachers were fired and school board members were sent packing. As historian William J. Reese, author of Testing Wars in the Public Schools: A Forgotten History, wrote in a New York Times essay: “What transpired then still sounds eerily familiar: cheating scandals, poor performance by minority groups, the narrowing of curriculum, the public shaming of teachers, the appeal of more sophisticated measures of assessment, the superior scores in other nations, all amounting to a constant drumbeat about school failure.” Eerily familiar, indeed.
NON-PROFIT ORG. US POSTAGE PAID PERMIT NO 504 lehigh valley, PA
photography by Ryan Hulvat
college of education 111 RESEARCH DRIVE BETHLEHEM, PA 18015-4794
In This Issue
Educators from the Lehigh Valley, Philadelphia, New Jersey, New York, and further afield gather for the monthly Lehigh/Center for Developing Urban Educational Leaders (CDUEL) Socratic
Rounds led by Jon Drescher (bottom right), a professor of practice at Lehigh University and director of its Urban Principals Academy. The Rounds model the collaborative problem-solving environment necessary to implement true school reform. See page 20 for “Finding
Common Ground,” an article presenting ideas—and perhaps a few modest proposals—shared by Lehigh College of Education faculty and other educational leaders on where we might find researchsupported points of consensus amid the long-running clamor over school reform.
Published on Sep 1, 2013
Theory to Practice, a research review produced annually by Lehigh’s College of Education, is designed to reflect both the changing nature of...