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How Well Are American Students Learning?
The Brown Center Report on American Education provides an accurate, nonpartisan, data-driven account of American elementary and secondary education. Its purpose is four-fold: to determine the direction of achievement in U.S. public schools; to gauge the significance of changes; to uncover the policies and practices influencing the direction of student achievement; and finally, to figure out whether the public is getting the full story on student learning. This year’s report tackles perennial questions of how to interpret trends in test scores, the distribution of achievement, school turnarounds, and charter schools. It examines national test data going back to 1971 from the National Assessment of Educational Progress, compares the 1989 and 2009 test scores of more than 1,000 schools, and compares the test scores of conversion charter schools from 1986 to those from 2008.
How Well Are American Students Learning?
An overarching theme of this year’s report is that events in the field of education are not always as they appear to be—and especially so with test scores. Whether commentators perpetrating myths of international testing, states winning races while evidencing only mediocre progress, or an eighth grade test dominated by content below the eighth grade, the story is rarely as simple as it appears on first blush. This report digs beneath the surface and uncover some of the complexities of these important issues.
Seven Essays, Four Letters, & Five Interviews
Award-winning novelist Samuel R. Delany has written a book for creative writers to place alongside E. M. Forster's Aspects of the Novel and Lajos Egri's Art of Dramatic Writing. Taking up specifics (When do flashbacks work, and when should you avoid them? How do you make characters both vivid and sympathetic?) and generalities (How are novels structured? How do writers establish serious literary reputations today?), Delany also examines the condition of the contemporary creative writer and how it differs from that of the writer in the years of Hemingway, Fitzgerald, and the high Modernists. Like a private writing tutorial, About Writing treats each topic with clarity and insight. Here is an indispensable companion for serious writers everywhere.
When the Dar es Salaam Declaration on Academic Freedom and Social Responsibility of Academics came up in the early 1990s, African higher-education systems were in a serious, multi-dimensional and long-standing crisis. Hand-in-hand with the imbalances and troubles that rocked and ruined African economies, the crisis in the academia was characterised by the collapse of infrastructures, inadequate teaching personnel and poor staff development and motivation. It was against this background that the questions of academic freedom and the responsibilities and autonomy of institutions of higher-learning were raised in the Dar es Salaam Declaration. In February 2005, the University of Dar es Salaam Staff Association (UDASA), in cooperation with CODESRIA, organised a workshop to bring together the staff associations of some public and private universities in Tanzania, in order to renew their commitment to the basic principles of the Dar es Salaam Declaration and its sister document - the Kampala Declaration on Intellectual Freedom and Social Responsibility. The workshop was also aimed at re-invigorating the social commitment of African intellectuals. The papers included in this volume reflect the depth and potentials of the debates that took place during the workshop. The volume is published in honour of Chachage Seithy L. Chachage, who was an active part of the workshop but unfortunately passed away in 2006.
For more than 15 years, The Academic Job Search Handbook has assisted job seekers in all academic disciplines in their search for faculty positions. The guide includes information on aspects of the search that are common to all levels, with invaluable tips for those seeking their first or second faculty position. This new edition provides updated advice and addresses hot topics in the competitive job market of today, including the challenges faced by dual-career couples, job search issues for pregnant candidates, and advice on how to deal with gaps in a CV. The chapter on alternatives to academic jobs has been expanded, and sample resumes from individuals seeking nonfaculty positions are included.
The book begins with an overview of the hiring process and a timetable for applying for academic positions. It then gives detailed information on application materials, interviewing, negotiating job offers, and starting the new job. Guidance throughout is aimed at all candidates, with frequent reference to the specifics of job searches in scientific and technical fields as well as those in the humanities and social sciences. Advice on seeking postdoctoral opportunities is also included.
Perhaps the most significant contribution is the inclusion of sample vitas. The Academic Job Search Handbook describes the organization and content of the vita and includes samples from a variety of fields. In addition to CVs and research statements, new in this edition are a sample interview itinerary, a teaching portfolio, and a sample offer letter. The job search correspondence section has also been updated, and there is current information on Internet search methods and useful websites.
Memoir, Cultural Theory, and the University Today
Franklin considers how academic memoirs have engaged with a core of defining concerns in the humanities: identity politics and the development of whiteness studies in the 1990s; the impact of postcolonial studies; feminism and concurrent anxieties about pedagogy; and disability studies and the struggle to bring together discourses on the humanities and human rights. The turn back toward humanism that Franklin finds in some academic memoirs is surreptitious or frankly nostalgic; others, however, posit a wide-ranging humanism that seeks to create space for advocacy in the academic and other institutions in which we are all unequally located. These memoirs are harbingers for the critical turn to explore interrelations among humanism, the humanities, and human rights struggles.
How Faculty Manage Work and Family
Academic Motherhood tells the story of over one hundred women who are both professors and mothers and examines how they navigated their professional lives at different career stages. Kelly Ward and Lisa Wolf-Wendel base their findings on a longitudinal study that asks how women faculty on the tenure track manage work and family in their early careers (pre-tenure) when their children are young (under the age of five), and then again in mid-career (post-tenure) when their children are older. The women studied work in a range of institutional settings—research universities, comprehensive universities, liberal arts colleges, and community colleges—and in a variety of disciplines, including the sciences, the humanities, and the social sciences.
Much of the existing literature on balancing work and family presents a pessimistic view and offers cautionary tales of what to avoid and how to avoid it. In contrast, the goal of Academic Motherhood is to help tenure track faculty and the institutions at which they are employed “make it work.” Writing for administrators, prospective and current faculty as well as scholars, Ward and Wolf-Wendel bring an element of hope and optimism to the topic of work and family in academe. They provide insight and policy recommendations that support faculty with children and offer mechanisms for problem-solving at personal, departmental, institutional, and national levels.
Latinos, Asian Americans, and the Achievement Gap
Today the achievement gap is hotly debated among pundits, politicians, and educators. In particular this conversation often focuses on the two fastest-growing demographic groups in the United States: Asian Americans and Latinos. In Academic Profiling, Gilda L. Ochoa addresses this so-called gap by going directly to the source. At one California public high school where the controversy is lived every day, Ochoa turns to the students, teachers, and parents to learn about the very real disparities—in opportunity, status, treatment, and assumptions—that lead to more than just gaps in achievement.
In candid and at times heart-wrenching detail, the students tell stories of encouragement and neglect on their paths to graduation. Separated by unequal middle schools and curriculum tracking, they are divided by race, class, and gender. While those channeled into an International Baccalaureate Program boast about Socratic classes and stress-release sessions, students left out of such programs commonly describe uninspired teaching and inaccessible counseling. Students unequally labeled encounter differential policing and assumptions based on their abilities—disparities compounded by the growth in the private tutoring industry that favors the already economically privileged.
Despite the entrenched inequality in today’s schools, Academic Profiling finds hope in the many ways students and teachers are affirming identities, creating alternative spaces, and fostering critical consciousness. When Ochoa shares the results of her research with the high school, we see the new possibilities—and limits—of change.
A Model for Community-Engaged Research, Teaching, and Service
The theory, vision, and implementation of a multidisciplinary collaborative approach to social learning The academy is often described as an ivory tower, isolated from the community surrounding it. Presenting the theory, vision, and implementation of a socially engaged program for the Department of Human and Organizational Development (HOD) in Peabody's College of Education and Human Development at Vanderbilt University, Academics in Action! describes a more integrated model wherein students and faculty work with communities, learn from them, and bring to bear findings from theory and research to generate solutions to community problems. Offering examples of community-engaged theory, scholarship, teaching, and action, Academics in Action! describes the nuanced structures that foster and support their development within a research university. Theory and action span multiple ecological levels from individuals and small groups to organizations and social structures. The communities of engagement range from local neighborhoods and schools to arenas of national policy and international development. Reflecting the unique perspectives of research faculty, practitioners, and graduate students, Academics in Action! documents a specific philosophy of education that fosters and supports engagement; the potentially transformative nature of academic work for students, faculty, and the broader society; and some of the implications and challenges of action-oriented efforts in light of dynamics such as income inequality, racism, and global capitalism. This edited volume chronicles teaching, research, and community action that influences both inside and outside the classroom as well as presents dimensions of a participatory model that set such efforts into action.