JOINING RESEARCH AND PRACTICE
Carnegie’s work fostering networked improvement communities is one of the case studies featured in a newly released white paper. This W.T. Grant Foundation -commissioned paper, “Research-Practice Partnerships: A Strategy for Leveraging Research for Educational Improvement in School Districts" by Cynthia Coburn, William Penuel, and Kimberly Geil, surveys the current landscape of partnerships involving school districts to better understand different types of collaborations, the challenges they face, and their strategies for success.
THOUGHTS ON THE NEW FOUNDATION REPORT
Carnegie’s effort to accelerate the success of community college students in mathematics was featured in a post about a report from the New America Foundation in Confessions of the Community College Dean in Inside Higher Ed. He writes, “Many colleges are experimenting with building developmental coursework into college-level courses in real time. (The Carnegie Foundation has supported a variation on this through its “mathway” and “statway” projects.) As I understand it, the mathway model involves placing most students directly into college-level courses from the outset, but then providing just-in-time extra review as they go along. (The class has extra hours to accommodate the extra help.) The goal is to get students what they need, when they see that they need it, and in a format that allows them to perceive -- correctly -- that they’re actually progressing towards the degree. A financial aid rule that relies on a bright line distinction between developmental and college level coursework would just get in the way. I’d hate to see a promising academic innovation sacrificed to a financial aid rule, even if the rule were well-intended.
To clarify, “Dean” was referring to Carnegie’s Quantway pathway, not a mathway course.
OCCUPY THE FUTURE
Carnegie Board member and Stanford political science associate professor Rob Reich announced the release of a new book on the Occupy movement, Occupy the Future, from Boston Review/MIT Press. Reich was one of four editors on the book, all of whom are at Stanford. He writes that the Occupy movement peaked, in the fall of 2011 and that the political force and overall engagement of the Occupy movement have since waned. “This is not to say Occupy was a failure,” Reich said. “To the contrary, one reason Occupy might have waned is its success in placing massive inequality atop the political agenda and framing the issue in terms of the now well-known 1% – 99% divide. However one judges its effect, Occupy was never especially clear about identifying, much less pushing, actual policy reforms. Occupy found its strength in the enduring ideals of democracy – equality of opportunity, social mobility, equal political voice – and yet said little about how an open, decentralized social movement might realize these ideals.” You can read more about the book and Reich’s other work on his blog.
EDUCATION, JUSTICE AND DEMOCRACY
Reich also has another book out by the University of Chicago Press, co-edited by Danielle S. Allen. The contributors in this book explore how the institutions and practices of education can support democracy, by creating the conditions for equal citizenship and egalitarian empowerment, and how they can advance justice, by securing social mobility and cultivating the talents and interests of every individual. Then the authors evaluate constraints on achieving the goals of democracy and justice in the educational arena and identify strategies that we can employ to work through or around those constraints. More than a thorough compendium on a timely and contested topic, Education, Justice, and Democracy exhibits an entirely new, more deeply composed way of thinking about education as a whole and its importance to a good society.