- Letter from the Editorial Board
As we publish the second issue of our 95th volume, Occupy Wall Street protests have inspired people in over 1500 cities around the world to take to the street. The protesters feel that their voices are being ignored in a corporation-run market, and they are looking to their governments for relief. Currently, the Occupy Wall Street protests are in their second month with no signs of abating.
America's schoolshadtheir own"Occupy" moment when Senator Rand Paul (Klein, 2011) stood up against the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary EducationAct (ESEA).OnOctober 19th, the ESEA, most widely known for its implementation of No Child Left Behind, was due to move easily through committee and onto the Senate floor. However, Sen. Paul used a rare procedural rule to put a halt to the meeting. He argued that there had been no hearings on the bill, and he wanted to hear from teachers and school superintendents before he was asked to make the decision to reauthorize ESEA. "I have yet to meet a teacher who is in favor of No Child Left Behind," Education Week quoted him as saying (10/19/11). The hearings Sen. Paul called for, which began November 8th, included several teachers, principals, and one superintendent as witnesses.
These occurrences may be signaling an opening in public debate over education that may finally invite educators. After nearly a decade of the academy bemoaning the corporatization of education, perhaps the pendulum is ready to swing back to listening to public voices more than corporate ones. If we as researchers are to play a role in our communities, it is more important than ever that the academy do good work and that we make that work accessible to those in schools, where ever-shrinking budget conditions are demanding new ideas and approaches. And, more than ever, we need to listen to the voices of teachers and students in our efforts to create better schools.
This issue highlights three studies that are working to those ends. The first, "Promising Homework Practices: Teachers' Perspectives on Making HomeworkWork for Newcomer Immigrant Students," by Hee Jin Bang, investigates how teachers of English Language Learners can re-envision the purpose of homework in order to better serve students. "Systems Thinking Tools for Improving Evidence-Based Practice: A Cross-Case Analysis of Two High School Leadership Teams," by Lisa Kensler, Ellen Reames, John Murray, and Lynne Patrick, examines how dialogue and evidence-based practice can improve school climate. And finally, "A Preliminary Examination of Academic Disidentification, Racial Identity, and Academic Achievement among African American Adolescents," by Kevin Cokley, Shannon McClain, Martinique Jones, and Samoan Johnson, looks at the role academic disidentification plays in the academic success of African American students.
These three articles also share another commonality—they recognize successes going on in schools across the country. Educators are doing great things in American schools—our challenge now is to expand those pockets of excellence to meet the needs of all students.