This page includes reports of various activities being carried out by Agenda for Education in a Democracy Scholars.
(posted 4 12 11)
Nadine Butcher Ball, EdD, Professor School of Education,Maryville University reports that in our programs, we'll be revising our lesson planning process and I hope to integrate the "democratic outcomes" shared both at the NNER conference in Normal and at our AED meeting. The “Grow Up Great” grant is still underway, and this year we worked with a second urban Head Start center as well as all classrooms in our original site. We have also recently received two significant grants for elementary science professional development.
In the “Building Inquiring Minds” grant, we will work with two St. Louis Public Schools Early Childhood Centers, PDS Wilkinson, and her sister school, STIX, as well as the Lutheran and Catholic schools networks. We have over 30 teachers committed to the two year program that will strengthen their science and environmental knowledge and pedagogical skills. The Missouri Botanical Garden is collaborating on this project with us. It involves intensive summer workshops, followed by coaching during the school year.
The other grant, “Growing Inquiring Minds,” involves Parkway School District, St. Louis Public Schools, and the Archdiocese and Lutheran systems. This grant supports summer workshops as well.
Finally, we are involved in piloting the “Teacher Performance Assessment” out of Stanford University. This process is modeled on the Board Certification process and includes planning, videotaping teaching, student work analysis, and reflection as a comprehensive and summative look at pre-service teachers' learning. It is being suggested as a more valid approach to teacher assessment and/or as a prerequisite for certification. Although very similar to our earlier “Student Work Sampling” process, the TPA has deepened our understanding of how academic language plays in learning, and its essential role in planning and instruction for English language learners. The St. Louis area still has many schools that serve very few ELLs, and so our learning curve is steep.
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(posted 1 31 11)
Some thoughts and questions from January 2011 meeting of AED Scholars – as written by Nadine Ball:
After first day:
1. Has school ever inspired you? What would it be like if schools were the Scotland
Yards of inspiration?
Yards of inspiration?
2. There is no word in Maori for "art"
3. The Dalit were the indigenous peoples of India before they were labled untouchable
4. Our goal must be to think what others have not thought about what everyone sees
5. No scientist would spend her or his lifetime studying a hypothesis s/he didn't believe
6. It is remarkable how much one must know to claim that one knows
7. I want to be famous like a pulley or a buttonhole. Famous not for what I do but for never forgetting what it is I do
8. Leadership by Outrage
9. Your life is your message
10. Stories that shrink the soul nibble at the variety and richness of the human condition
11. the realities of our lives are inseparable from how we imagine them
After second and third days:
1. what if we thought of school as a place to foster and enhance differences rather than a place of finding out what is the same among us?
2. Do we--do you--do I take the risk to engage the dissonant voice?
3. Anger and irreverence are important
4. How does privilege and geography impact optimism?
5. A shrug is a powerful thing in the collective.
6. What would you say if challenged not to articulate goals, but to speak clearly about what we educators must NEVER allow to happen in schools--that which we must avoid at all costs?
7. We must call for skeptical standardization and constrained improvisation
8. If you work in schools, do you believe it is your job to prevent the failure of your school? Of all schools?
9. Part of the political right wants to win at all costs--at the cost of discourse, of truth, and of collaboration on behalf of all citizens. Are we who support public schools, value equity, and see learning as part of a human conversation, willing to win at all costs?
10. We look back to our future (Maaka)
11. Stewardship thoughts. When people say we are stewards of Earth, I take offense. Earth does not need our oversight. We are part of Earth, a very small part. If a steward is one who "manages affairs of an estate on behalf of his employer" "or overseer" (online etymology dictionary) then is this the message we wish to convey? If public schools have never served well a people, then should we steward them? When is stewardship needed? ---for protection and for renewal.
12. Growing Greatness, Encouraging Voices
13. Every child a civic leader
14. Excellence without a soul
15. Have people ever paid attention to those things that are so common we do not see them? (water, land, our community)
16. Knowledge and action are one: knowledge is the beginning of action; and action comes from knowledge
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Nick Michelli (CUNY) activities related to the Agenda for Education in a Democracy.
1. I am in the final states of a book to be published by Routledge co-authored and co-edited with David Imig and Penny Earley on Teacher Educating Policy, examining the current policy climate and its effect on teacher education programs. The NNER and our principles are well represented with a chapter by Van Dempsey and Deb Stanley on the differences between rural and urban settings, a chapter by Ada Beth Cutler and Montclair and Newark administrators on partnership, and a chapter by Marilyn Cochran Smith on the impact of policy on teaching for social justice, to name a few. Should be out by AERA.
2. My teaching continues to focus on policy in general and teacher education policy in particular. My students are well aware of our work and have attended NNER meetings and Summer Symposia.
3. I am working in Wisconsin to develop an evaluation system to assess mathematics and science preservice students without relying on standardized tests and developed by the tripartite at each institution. This will the fourth year of this work involving 16 Wisconsin universities. I have made several presentations at statewide meetings on the Agenda for Education in a Democracy as part of this work, funded by FIPSE.
4. Almost all of the Ph.D. students who are my advisees and whose dissertations I chair are doing work related to democracy and/or social justice. Those who know the process understand that one cannot dictate or even control student dissertation choices. They have found me. Topics have included the effects of school leaving with special attention to the connection between school leaving and health and defining school leaving to reflect the various causes not the responsibility of the students, a study of the school to prison pipeline, incorporating a study of school safety and its impact, a study of the differential availability of high level science instruction in schools with varying percentages of free or reduced lunch students, a study of the effects of Islamaphobia in Amsterdam on the enculturation of immigrants from North Africa, a study of the impact of the common practice of the deportation of one parent on children left in the United States, a study of how school districts manipulate statistics to hide the degree of school leaving, and a study of immigration policy as it relates to education and the life’s chances of immigrant students. Can I possibly have more fun?
5. An article for James Banks’s Encyclopedia of Diversity focusing on democratic theory, teacher education, and diversity (with Tina Jacobowitz).
6. Two papers for the Hong Kong Institute of Education on Democracy and Education.
7. Continued development of Teaching in a Democracy for McGraw Hill (with Tina Jacobowitz as co-author, and contributions by John Anderson and a number of my Ph.D. students.
8. Planning a conference and presentation featuring the Lincoln Center Institute, The American Museum of Natural History and the Exploratorium to discuss the role of creativity and imagination across the disciplinary lines and their relationships to the public purposes of education.
Jennifer Robinson (Montclair State University) : AED Update
Activities that Jennifer and the people at Montclari State University have been engaged in over the past year that relate directly to the Agenda for Education in a Democracy:
1. With funding from the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation the MSU Center of Pedagogy launched a new pre-collegiate project called “The Honors Program for Teaching and Learning.” They recruited 16 culturally diverse and academically talented high school juniors and engaged them in a rigorous set of experiences that challenged them to become socially aware and actively committed to contribute their intelligence and talent to improve New Jersey’s neediest communities while encouraging them to become teachers.
The program included a six-week summer experience during which students enrolled in an MSU undergraduate course for credit. They were also involved in a special seminar led by tripartite faculty from the arts and sciences, education, and the schools who used the Agenda for Education in a Democracy as the framework for dynamic, interactive learning experiences and discussions on teaching and learning.
Each week they also engaged in community service at a local Boys and Girls Club. Youth were challenged to conduct social action projects throughout their senior year of high school and function as agents of change in their home communities. The culminating experience required each participant to make a formal presentation to family and faculty about the social action project which included topics such as, “Keeping the Arts in the P-12 Curriculum;” “Encouraging Teachers to be More Culturally Responsive;” “Starting a High School Gay-Lesbian-Straight Alliance;” “Designing Classrooms of the Future;” and “Parent Involvement from P –through 12th grade”).
2. Through MSU’s effort to increase the diversity of the teaching community, the Center of Pedagogy received $275,000 in federal earmark funding this past year, half of which was used to target recruitment of ethnically, linguistically, and racially diverse teacher education candidates. At present, we have 14 new teacher education students in our undergraduate and graduate programs in a variety (P-3, K-5 dual certification with special education, mathematics, English, and ESL) of certification areas. Requisite support systems are in place to retain these and other students from underserved communities.
3. Last year the Leadership Council of the Partnership for Instructional Excellence and Quality (PIE-Q), focused on the Agenda for Education in a Democracy and understanding what it means to be a Teacher Preparing School. The Council also endorsed a successful application for a U.S. Department of Education Teacher Quality Partnership Urban Teaching Residency grant. Montclair has the distinction of being the only university-based teacher preparation program with a hiring commitment from the Newark Public Schools. This policy break-through has stood the test of changes in top administration (superintendent) as well as in Human Resources leadership.
4. Four PIE-Q elementary schools (Benjamin Franklin, McKinley, Maple Ave., and First Ave.) participated in the “Classroom Inquiry Project” (CIP) to improve experienced teacher retention and infusion of critical thinking in 2 – 5th grade classrooms. The schools conducted critical thinking workshops for parents to reinforce what elementary students were experiencing in the classrooms. Teachers who participated in the workshops found them to be helpful in changing their classrooms into democratic learning communities.
One school launched a major new initiative as a result of this project. The teachers have developed a new program called Growing Minds, to help students and parents learn about healthy living. They have collaborated with the Newark Beth Israel Hospital, Scholastic, and Slow Food NNJ to inspire healthful living in their families.
5. In the fall of 2009, MSU and the Newark Public Schools received a Teacher Quality Partnership grant for 6.3 million dollars to create an urban teaching residency program to recruit, prepare on-site, and retain new P-3 dual certification special education, K-5 dual certification special education, mathematics, and science teachers for this high-need district. Jennifer serves as the project’s Principal Investigator. Because this project is based in MSU’s PIE-Q schools, four of the fourteen NMUTRP mentors also participated in the CIP last year and they are fully implementing the methods and strategies they learned from that Project. MSU continues to strengthen its ability to work with the Newark district Human Resources Dept. The Director of HR is the NPS lead liaison on the urban teaching residency program. She and her staff are involved on the NMUTR Operations Committee, and participate fully in the admissions process for each cohort.
Arturo Pacheco, professor at UTEP, reports he has recently completed the development and revision of three graduate level courses at the Master's and doctoral level, all of which have education in a democracy as a central theme. These are required courses in the both the Master's and Doctoral degree programs:
Education 5386--Ethics and Education
Education 5391--History of Higher Education in the U.S.
Education 6301--Historical and Philosophical Foundations of Education
He is also developing two courses for a new Ph.D. program in Higher Education and has written a book chapter published in 2009 called "Mapping the Terrain of Teacher Quality," in Drew Gitomer (ed), Measurement Issues and Assessment for Teacher Quality. Los Angeles: SAGE, 2009. This essay tries to counter some of the facile economic conceptions of teacher quality.
Finally, Arturo is working on an jointly written critical essay on the use of slogans in educational discourse, especially those used to support notions of public education as a private vs. public good.
Nick Michelli of CUNY is back from Hong Kong where presented two seminars -- stay tuned for an update from Nick:
May 19, 2010-- Education in a Democracy: Why, How and What
May 24, 2010-- Democracy and Social Justice: What do the Concepts Mean for Education?
David Keiser of Montclair State University reports that:
he is extending his investigation of Nurturing Pedagogy as an organizing paradigm in teacher education. Also, recently, he visited Thailand with one objective being to further institutionalize collaboration between Montclair State University and Burapha University in Chonburi, two comprehensive universities that started as normal schools. Barring a continued escalation of the current political conflict there, he plans to take a class of potential teacher education students in the course Public Purposes of Education for a short study abroad program, perhaps as early as December 2010 or January 2011.
Tom Poetter of Miami University (Ohio) reports that:
he is continuing in his role as one of the editors of the NNER Journal and that he is seeing a number of good contributions for the next issue that provide evidence of good work in NNER settings.
Also Tom says this spring his master's students in curriculum studies are producing what he calls "research essays," 8-10 page papers on issues of their choosing about curriculum broadly defined. They will be published in five groups of papers with a journalistic cover story for each group and made available on Miami's "Mi-Whi" website (short for Miami-Whitewater Valley), an online clearinghouse of content meant to be picked up by news agencies and others for publication in the region. This is exciting work; the students feel like their advanced work and their passions can be shared legitimately with a wider public.
Nadine Ball of Maryville University reports that:
She is working as project evaluator for Growing Up Great, a program for early-childhood Head Start students in urban St. Louis that involves Head-Start, Parents as Teachers, Project Backpack (a food-relief program), Grace Hill ministries, St. Louis Art Museum, St. Louis Symphony, St. Louis Science Center, and Missouri Botanical Gardens.
Such collaboration represents an exemplary effort to engage many of the educative forces that exist in a community in a common effort.
Dick Barnes former Dean at University of Southern Maine reports that:
he is working with one of the candidates in the Gubenatorial race to help deal with K-12 and higher education issues in the state.
In a step to increase community engagement in education he has recently joined the board for the Maine Historical Society for the purpose of helping advise staff at that institution to structure their grant-funded and self-funded efforts to work with rural Maine communities in building collaboration between local historical societies, local libraries and local high schools in using the digital archives that the MHS maintains for the purpose of building a “curriculum of place.” He sees this as an opportunity to support student learning, preservation of community heritage and preservation of key local institutions that are essential foundations for our democracy.
Leslie Wilson of Montclair State University reports that:
he has been working to promote and secure Teaching American History Grants for NNER settings. To fulfill this goal he has worked with Tom Bellamy of the Goodlad Institute for Educational Renewal at the University of Washington to recruit a team of historians and encourage several NNER settings to apply for the grants.
John Skillings, Academic Vice President at Miami (Ohio) University reports that:
The first edition of of the online journal, Education in Democracy, appeared in the fall of 2009 and the next edition is due in the fall 2010. As one of the three co-editors of this journal he has been extensively involved in the following activities: a) recruitment of articles for the journal, b) review of the 30+ articles that have been submitted for the journal, c) preparing the website for the on-line presentation of the journal, and d) editing the final version of the articles that appeared or will appear in the journal. Many of the articles included in the first edition dealt with issues that are pertinent to the work of the AED Scholars, and hopefully the first edition of the journal did spark some conversations at the various NNER sites. Co-editors Skilling, Tom Poetter and John Anderson are preparing articles now for the fall 2010 edition of the journal.
Paul Chaplin of the University of South Carolina reports that:
he will be conducting a two day workshop for general education classroom teachers during the week of July 12th. The Agenda for Education in a Democracy is a vital component to this workshop. The worskshop's goal will be to provide classroom teachers with the knowledge and skills required to develop and appreciate democratic learning environments.
Bernard Badiali of Pennsylvania State University reports that:
he has just published an issue of Catalyst for Change that focuses on teachers' writing. The theme was "voices from the classroom." At PSU they are preparing for the annual Inquiry Conference on May 8 so Badiali is busy scheduling more than 80 sessions where teachers will report on school-based research they have been conducting since January. He observes it is always a marvel to listen to what they have learned about curriculum and instruction, but most importantly, about themselves.
Badiali also reports he has been chosen and the President-elect of the National Association for Professional Development Schools.
Alan Wood of the University of Washington (Bothell) is
working on a book project that he hopes will lay the conceptual foundation for a global civil society.
The article that outlines the analytical framework is entitled “Fire, Water, Earth, and Sky: Global Systems History and the Human Prospect,” and will be published this fall  in the Journal of the Historical Society.
The overall line of thought begins with the realization that we live at the dawn of a new world of challenges in the human experience. In the past, we could slaughter each other and poison our environment on a local scale without fear of global consequences. Now, whether one talks about climate change, atmospheric pollution, nuclear proliferation, disease, crime, terrorism, bio-diversity, energy and water shortages, poverty, human trafficking, or genetic manipulation, the problems we face as a human family can no longer be addressed effectively on a local scale, within the borders of individual nations. They are fully global in their reach.
Margie Maaka of the University of Hawaii reports that:
As she continues work begun with the HO ‛OKULĀIWI community, school, and university partnership for the vitalization of public education she is building on prior successes and trying to move a six million dollar bill through the Hawaii State Legislature--a monumental feat given the economy. Last week it crossed out of both the house and the senate and was sent to conference. If it survives the conference it will go one last step to the governor.
Steve Baugh, Executive Director BYU-School University Partnership reports that:
His long-standing Partnership works hard to sustain its focus on the Agenda for Education in a Democracy (AED). Each year they organize 5 cohorts of 25 individuals each who participate in 10 days of conversations regarding the AED. Each cohort is comprised of 20 teachers and principals from the partner schools and 5 professors (school of education and arts & sciences) from the university. The Participants engage in essential core readings, presentations, and conversations about the Agenda. He recruits the university participants for the program. Since the beginning of such Associate's programs the Partnership have had approximately 1500 participants.
Special attention is also give to leaders within the partnership. Twice a year they hold a 2-day Leaders Associates gathering with the tripartite leaders in the Partnership. Specifically, this includes the deans and associate deans from 7 arts & sciences colleges, the dean, associate deans, and department chairs from the school of education, and the superintendents and assistant superintendents from the 5 school districts. Each session features presentations, conversations, and action planning around topics related directly to the AED.
Bill Mester, Superintendent of the Snohomish Washington School District reports that:
In addition to a variety of community conversations about the role of education in a democracy his administrative team over the last number of years has been extensively involved in conversations and dialogue around these same matters. Last summer, at their week-long administrative retreat, they spent time exploring more deeply the communities that they serve. Administrators not only explored their communities on the basis of a number of diverse interests, but also the extent of geographic connectedness. Part of their work involved sending administrators in teams to various locales throughout the school district and larger community area in an effort to understand whether they could develop a tentative “Bill of Rights” for the invitational community. The administrators worked with a noted landscape architect who helped them explore the ways in which various forms of physical representations are or are not inviting. Administrators in groups became “away teams” and went to explore various corners of the community at large. Armed with Flip-Cams and supported by district tech teams at home, each team presented a ten-minute review of particular areas of the community with suggested guiding principles as to how space and structure can contribute to openness, inclusiveness and invitation.
Audrey Kleinsasser of the University of Wyoming reports that:
the Wyoming School-University Partnership’s leadership in a statewide high-school-to-higher-education transitions initiative continues to grow. At the University of Wyoming, about 25% of first year students are on academic probation following the first semester. This statistic merits the attention of secondary and postsecondary alike, supporting the need to work more closely across settings.
The Partnership received a $15,000 grant from the Qwest Foundation to support the initiative in May, 2010. To date, the Partnership has convened secondary and postsecondary faculty in writing/reading, life science, world languages, and mathematics (still working on the social sciences) for meetings, workshops, summits, and institutes. It will celebrate the 5th annual life science summit this spring.
This ground-level, teacher-to-teacher work receives strong support from university administration and was noted in the institution’s recent accreditation site visit. There is no question that the approach exemplifies the principles of simultaneous educational renewal that are part of the AED.
Dianne Bath of Georgia Southern University reports that:
As Director of the GCER there are many opportunities to strengthen the partnerships between the COE (College of Education) and school districts. One of the more recent initiatives has been to establish a Reading Round Table through the Center for Excellence in Teaching that invites P-12 teachers and college professors from across the campus to engage in reading and sharing thoughts together. We have completed two such round tables. One used Hoffman, Vargas, Vanezia, & Miller’s work, Minding the Gap, and the other was Willingham’s, Why Don’t Students Like School? There seems to be some really good potential for scholarly engagement as we continue this initiative. However, the greatest challenge is finding time when P-12 folks can engage. The GCER has a web page where additional information about the diverse work can be found, http://coe.georgiasouthern.edu/gcer.html.
John Anderson of the University of Nebraska at Kearny reports that:
One project is currently active and through it we (me and a group of funded undergraduate researchers) are engaged in research that addresses the question, “What do schools do to educate citizens?” We are using a case study approach that will investigate the practices of two Nebraska schools along with two Brooklyn schools. We anticipate completing the research this spring and we will then begin to write the research paper with the goal of publishing it.
Also, my colleague Peter Longo and I are working with Nebraska schools to engage students in community or school improvement projects under the auspices of a small grant from the University of Nebraska Foundation.....
On another front, I am working with another undergraduate student on a project that will look at the origins of trust (and distrust) in two similar Nebraska communities. This project looks to find the roots of social capital and its relationship to democracy—we know schools and families are important but we suspect we are going to find that associational life in the community is one of the most important
Francisco Rios of the University of Wyoming reports that:
he and his colleagues in the Educational Studies Department are working to infuse democracy in education constructs into the educational foundations coursework for which they are responsible. Based on an initial survey of what they were doing and how ther students responded, detailed in a manuscript to the NNER journal ( see http://www.units.muohio.edu/nnerjournal/index.htmlwe ) submitted in February 2010, they have begun revisiting their initial effort aimed at renewing their energy, thinking, and efforts on this initiative.
Liz Urban of Colorado State University reports that:
She is working with a new CSU degree program called the "Master’s in Educational Renewal and Change." Upon completion of the degree requirements, the students also receive their Colorado teaching license. One focus of this program is the study of teaching in a democratic society including the understanding of the moral dimensions of our profession. She has taught a number of courses in the program which include the partnership practicum and seminar, schooling in the U.S. as well as philosophy and methodology focusing on collaboration and interdisciplinary methods. All of these courses are grounded in the principles of a Professional Development School and the mission of the Agenda for Education in a Democracy. The program is taught on site at the newest of the five high schools in Ft. Collins Colorado.