2017 NAEd/SPENCER POSTDOCTORAL FELLOWS

Allison Atteberry, University of Colorado Boulder


Allison Atteberry is an assistant professor in the Research and Evaluation Methodology (REM) program, at the CU-Boulder School of Education. Dr. Atteberry conducts research on teacher- and school-level interventions designed to improve the quality of instruction experienced by historically underserved students. As a field, we are increasingly aware of how difficult it is to determine whether policies, practices, and interventions have the intended impacts, and so Dr. Atteberry approaches her work with a strong interest in what constitutes compelling evidence of causal effects in quantitative research. Dr. Atteberry’s academic interests center on policies and interventions that are intended to help provide effective teachers to the students who need them most. This has led her to focus on the identification, selection, development, and retention of teachers who have measurable impacts on student outcomes.

Nationwide Changes in State Teacher Evaluation Policies: Links to Teacher Attitudes, Teacher Retention Rates, and Student Achievement Trends

Over the last ten years, the majority of US states have revised their teacher evaluation policies, largely stimulated by RTTT. Despite this rapid rollout, there are quite conflicting theories about whether making these policies more stringent would positively or negatively affect the teacher workforce and student outcomes. Emerging studies have estimated the impact of a particular district’s or state’s high-stakes teacher evaluation policies. Findings are mixed due to differences in settings and methods. I seek to transcend local contexts to ask: Can this dramatic, national policy shift be linked to systematic changes for teachers or students writ large? I assemble the first, nationwide picture of whether changes in state-level teacher evaluation policies are associated with concurrent changes in: student achievement, achievement gaps, teacher job satisfaction, and teacher retention. I combine multiple data sources—NCTQ teacher evaluation policy reports, the Stanford Education Data Archive, and the School and Staffing Survey—in a novel way to link state-year variation in evaluation policies to outcomes that, theory suggests, should be responsive to these policy changes.

Andrew Barr, Texas A&M University


Andrew Barr is an Assistant Professor of Economics at Texas A&M University. His research focuses on understanding the role of financial and informational factors in the college enrollment decisions and related labor market outcomes of non-traditional and disadvantaged students. He is a former Spencer Dissertation Fellow and has received funding from the National Science Foundation, the National Academy of Education, the UC Davis Center for Poverty Research, the Russell Sage Foundation, the Laura and John Arnold Foundation, and the American Educational Research Association. His research has been published in top economics field journals, including the Journal of Public Economics and the Journal of Human Resources. He received his PhD in Economics from the University of Virginia.

How Do Investments in College Pay Off? Lessons from Army Veterans

In recent years, federal policy on education has been driven by the guiding principle that “college is the best investment you can make.” Non-traditional students now comprise nearly half of college enrollment, and while there is a growing consensus on the returns for traditional students, there is little convincing evidence that these returns extend to non-traditional students, who tend to enroll later and at less-selective institutions, or how these returns vary across different types of institutions or individuals. This study attempts to answer these questions using separated Army veterans, taking advantage of two policies that generate quasi-random variation in the likelihood that veterans will attend different college types: (1) conditionally random base assignment that results in variation in the accessibility of different college types, and (2) variation in the costs of different institutions generated by the Post-9/11 GI Bill. We leverage these sources of variation using a unique panel of data on all individuals on active duty from 1991 through 2016 linked with detailed post-secondary data and earnings information from the Treasury Department. Using multiple instrumental variable approaches, we will estimate the return to college as well as how this return varies across different types of colleges and individuals.

Christopher Bischof, University of Richmond


Chris Bischof is currently an Assistant Professor of History at the University of Richmond. His research has focused on elementary teachers in the nineteenth-century British world. In particular, his work connects the experiences of elementary teachers and their tireless production of new forms of knowledge about poor and working-class subjects, both at home and in the empire, to the making of modern forms of governance, the emergence of new welfare initiatives, and evolving attitudes towards the empire. His research has been supported by the Spencer Foundation/The National Academy of Education and the Mellon Foundation and has appeared in The English Historical Review, Past & Present, History of Education Quarterly, the Journal of Social History, and an edited collection with Edinburgh University Press.

Liberal Subjects: Free Blacks and Elementary Education in the British West Indies, 1834-1865

In the years following emancipation in 1834, the British state spent more money on elementary education in the West Indies for free blacks than on elementary education in Britain itself. These years also saw a surge of private donations and a general outpouring of public support for the missionary-led campaign to expand elementary education in the West Indies. The great hope underpinning this enthusiasm was that elementary education would turn former slaves into self-acting liberal subjects who would embrace capitalism and revive the flagging fortunes of the islands that had once been the crown jewels of the British empire.

However, within two decades the state had ceased all funding for West Indian elementary education and widespread support had turned to general hostility. Liberal Subjects explores this phenomenon from the perspective of policymakers, missionaries, free black communities, and the “native teachers” who were so central to both the utopian hopes for what elementary education might accomplish and the eventual backlash against the project. As it does so, it grapples with two questions of enduring importance to the study of education: what generates substantial enthusiasm and financial support for educational projects targeting a poor, non-white population — and what leads to disenchantment and retrenchment?

Erica Bullock, University of Wisconsin-Madison


Erika C. Bullock is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Dr. Bullock earned a B.S. in computer science from Spelman College and a M.Ed. and Ph.D. in mathematics education from Georgia State University. In her scholarship, Dr. Bullock seeks to create new possibilities for mathematics education by confronting the field’s epistemic limitations—both past and current. Her research seeks to interrogate the boundaries of mathematics education as both a historical product and cultural practice, particularly related to questions of equity and opportunity. The research connects different social, cultural, and historical disciplines outside of education to engage in studies of mathematics education. She employs critical theories of race, standpoint feminism, and literatures from sociology, geography, curriculum studies, and the history of science. Dr. Bullock’s published work has appeared in Educational Studies in Mathematics, The Journal of Mathematics Education at Teachers College, The Journal of Education, The Mathematics Enthusiast, and Teachers College Record. She is also Associate to the Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Urban Mathematics Education.

Tracing Equity Discourses in Mathematics Education

For nearly 40 years, mathematics education has engaged in various efforts to address equity for students who, for various reasons related to identity and demography, are unsuccessful in and disconnected from mathematics. Despite this prolonged attention to equity in scholarship, curriculum, policy, and teacher education, the gap between less privileged students and their more privileged counterparts has been consistent. Many scholars have raised the concern that equity efforts have not yielded the gains that the time, attention, and resources given them would dictate. However, there does not exist an empirical evaluation of equity discourse on a large scale. In this study, I will use discourse tracing—an approach to critical discourse analysis—as a four-phase methodological approach that allows for mapping the proliferation of equity discourses over time. Through this mapping, I will examine the successes and limitations of equity discourse and consider ways in which the field can move toward addressing and eliminating inequities. Data for this study include scholarly literature, policy and curriculum documents, and unstructured interviews with equity-oriented scholars in mathematics education. This tracing will provide a picture of equity in mathematics education over time that can function as a resource in future curriculum and policy discussions within and outside the mathematics education community.

Claudia Cervantes-Soon, University of Texas


Claudia G. Cervantes-Soon is an Assistant Professor of Bilingual/Bicultural Education at the University of Texas at Austin. Her research interests center on critical ethnographic approaches to the study of identities, intersectionalities, and pedagogical practices with a particular focus on the fostering of agency, critical literacy/biliteracy, and empowered identities among children, youth and families from marginalized communities. In particular her research draws on critical pedagogy, Chicana feminist thought, border and transborder epistemologies, and decolonizing methodologies to her analyses of how global and neoliberal trends intersect with local frameworks of inequality in border, transnational, and bilingual education contexts and to revealing how individuals enact their agency in negotiating and resisting such structures. Her most recent research projects have sought to address issues of equity and social justice in two-way dual language education, and she is now specifically investigating the potential of cross-cultural/transcultural relationships of solidarity between Latinx and African American children and families. Dr. Cervantes-Soon has been awarded faculty fellowships by the American Association of University Women and the American Association of Hispanics in Higher Education and she has published articles in the Bilingual Research Journal, Equity and Excellence in Education, Harvard Education Review, Race Ethnicity and Education, and Review of Research in Education among others. She is also the author of the new book Juárez Girls Rising: Transformative Education in Times of Distopya published by the University of Minnesota Press.

Building Bridges of Black and Brown Solidarity through Dual Language Education

This study examines the potential to develop empowered multilingual/bicultural identities and to build meaningful cross-cultural relationships of solidarity between African Americans and Latinx communities through two-way dual language immersion (TWI). TWI, a highly-proclaimed model of bilingual education integrates speakers from two different language groups – typically English speakers and speakers of a partner language like Spanish – to provide dual-language academic instruction and promote high academic achievement, bilingualism, biliteracy, and cross-cultural competencies for all children involved. Through a critical ethnographic, multiple case study design, the study investigates the attitudes, experiences, and cross-cultural relationships emerging across time among four Black and four Latinx families in a largely segregated working-class urban community in Texas whose children participate in TWI. The study will follow these eight families’ journeys as their children enter pre-kindergarten and continue into elementary school.

By refocusing the attention on minoritized communities in TWI programs this study addresses concerns documented in recent scholarship about the tendency of many TWI programs to cater to the interests of middle-class White English speakers and consequently marginalizing working-class students of color – the focal students for whom bilingual education was created in the United States. The study also fills a gap in the research investigating the potential role of TWI education in bridging Latinx immigrant and African American communities. Ultimately the project and its resulting scholarship seek to push the field of bilingual education toward a more inclusive social-justice oriented vision and the capturing of opportunities for collective agency between historically marginalized groups. The study has strong implications considering current demographics, the present era of emboldened racism, and in the larger context of pervasive segregation, displacement in gentrified areas, and social movements such as Black Lives Matter and for immigrants’ human rights.

Anna Chmielewski, OISE/University of Toronto


Anna Katyn Chmielewski is an Assistant Professor of Educational Leadership and Policy at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) of the University of Toronto. She holds a PhD in Education and MA in Sociology from Stanford University. Chmielewski’s research examines trends and patterns of educational inequality, both internationally and over time. Specifically, she is interested in socioeconomic disparities in academic achievement, school segregation, curricular differentiation/tracking/ability grouping, university access, and the consequences of childhood inequality for adult skills and other outcomes. Her research has been published in the American Educational Research Journal and the American Journal of Education. Chmielewski was a postdoctoral fellow in the Pathways to Adulthood program at Michigan State University and a Thomas J. Alexander fellow at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

How Do High-Stakes Educational Transitions Affect Socioeconomic Achievement Gaps? An International and Historical Comparison

Chmielewski’s project will examine whether socioeconomic gaps in literacy and numeracy skills observed in childhood persist into adulthood in 18 developed countries. In particular, she is interested in the extent to which international assessments such as the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) and the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA)—administered to students around age 14 or 15—fail to capture the effects of unequal institutions that students encounter just after the end of compulsory schooling. For example, students in many Nordic countries encounter a high-stakes educational transition into academic or vocational tracks at age 16. At age 18, US students enter (or not) one of the most stratified higher education systems in the world. Using 21 historical and contemporary international assessments conducted between 1964 and 2009 and three international adult literacy surveys conducted between 1994 and 2011, she matches cohorts by birth year (1950-1990) and parental education level in all 18 countries. This allows a test of the hypothesis that countries with high-stakes transitions into upper secondary or postsecondary education will experience increasing SES achievement gaps between childhood and young adulthood, while continental European countries such as Germany and the Netherlands with high-stakes transitions around age 10 or 12 will experience no further increase in SES achievement gaps.

Jason Ellis, University of British Columbia


Jason Ellis is a historian of education and assistant professor in the Department of Educational Studies at The University of British Columbia. His research interests are urban and suburban educational history and policy, opportunity and inequality, early-twentieth-century school reform, and the history of special education and disability. Ellis’s forthcoming book, A Class by Themselves?: Children, Youth, and Special Education in a North American City—Toronto, 1910–45 (University of Toronto Press, 2018), brings special education’s curious past to bear on its constantly contested present. The book situates special education’s early history squarely in the competing agendas of benevolence and social control that gave rise to it as a one-time reform. It is these competing agendas, the book points out, that continue today to define the debate about special education. Ellis holds M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in History from York University in Toronto, a B.Ed. degree from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education/University of Toronto, and a B.A. in History from Queen’s University. He has published in Teachers College Record, History of Education Quarterly, and Disability & Society, among other journals. He is currently working on a project that takes up questions of schooling, metropolitan planning, and opportunity and inequality in Canada’s rapidly changing inner suburbs.

Schools and Suburbs: Educating Etobicoke in Metro Toronto, 1945–Present and Beyond

At one time Canada’s inner suburbs like Etobicoke (pronounced \e-ˈtō-bi-ˌkō) were springboards of opportunity. In the first two decades or so after World War II, these communities enabled two investments that helped to vault families into the expanding middle class: the purchase of an affordable house and a quality, free public education for their children. However, in the time since this heyday, inner suburbs have fallen victim to mounting income inequality and crumbling school infrastructure. Both problems are accelerating at the precise moment that the suburbs are becoming more racially diverse than ever. Since few studies of suburban education in Canada exist, it is not clear how suburban school systems and communities are faring with any of these changes.

My project, a mixed-methods, historical case study considers the historical development of one suburban school system in a metropolitan context, as well as that history’s legacy for the immediate present. The project is concerned with the conscious policy decisions that local school officials, suburban planners and private developers, provincial Ministry of Education officials, and a host of others made as they built and managed Etobicoke and its schools over several generations. I trace these decisions, and their causes and effects, through archival sources such as minutes of school board meetings, government policy documents, planning reports, municipal and school board budgets, census data, and other historical sources.

This project takes up three main, interrelated questions: (a) What are the effects of changed suburban demographics and resulting declining enrollment and school closures on Etobicoke’s school infrastructure? (b) What are the historical relationships among suburban schooling, homeownership, opportunity and social mobility, race and immigration, and income inequality in this community? (c) What can be done? Or, what does the study of the past tell policy makers that can help them to make better decisions for Etobicoke and other suburbs in the present?

Avi Feller, University of California, Berkeley


Avi Feller is an assistant professor of public policy and statistics at UC Berkeley. His methodological research centers on learning more from social policy evaluations, especially randomized experiments. His applied research focuses on working with governments on using data to design, implement, and evaluate policies. Prior to his doctoral studies, Feller served as Special Assistant to the Director at the White House Office of Management and Budget and worked at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Feller received a Ph.D. in Statistics from Harvard University, an M.Sc. in Applied Statistics as a Rhodes Scholar at the University of Oxford, and a B.A. in Political Science and Applied Mathematics from Yale University.

New Tools for Estimating Spillover Effects in Education: Design and Analysis of Two-Stage Trials

Education researchers often assume away social interactions when evaluating new policies or programs, in part because they lack the analytic tools to account for these complications. This project will develop methods that will enable researchers to answer new types of questions on treatment effect spillovers and other interference. The first part will focus on practical tools for designing and analyzing certain randomized trials that can directly measure spillovers. The second part will explore settings where randomization is not possible, developing the tools and assumptions necessary to assess spillovers in this case. While these studies are inherently methodological in nature, the projects are motivated by several real-world evaluations of education policies, including attendance interventions, curriculum interventions, and kindergarten retention. Taken together, these developments will give education researchers a comprehensive set of tools for assessing spillover effects, leading to a better understanding of education policy in an interconnected world.

Nelson Flores, University of Pennsylvania


Nelson Flores is an assistant professor of educational linguistics at the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education. He holds a Ph.D. in Urban Education from the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. His research seeks to denaturalize raciolinguistic ideologies that inform current conceptualizations of language education. This entails both historical analysis of the origins of contemporary raciolinguistic ideologies and contemporary analysis examining how current language education policies and practices reproduce these ideologies. His primary objective is to illustrate the ways that dominant language ideologies perpetuate the racialization of minoritized communities and to develop alternative conceptualizations of language education that challenge this racialization. His work has appeared in scholarly journals such as Critical Inquiry in Language Studies, Linguistics and Education, TESOL Quarterly and Harvard Educational Review.

Radical Neoliberalism: Bilingual Education in the School District of Philadelphia

The late 1960s and early 1970s witnessed efforts in urban areas to take control of schools away from government bureaucracies and put into the hands of the communities of color being served by these schools. On the one end of this fight for community control were activists of color who saw community control as a mechanism for dismantling white supremacy. On the other end were economics who saw community control as a mechanism for promoting a neoliberal vision of school choice. In this project I conduct a racial genealogy of bilingual education in the School District of Philadelphia that seeks to examine how these two visions of community control have been negotiated by Latino community activists. This racial genealogy has both a historical and contemporary component. The historical component examines the efforts of Latino community activists to institutionalize bilingual education during the heyday of radical struggles for community control in the 1970s. The contemporary component examines the ways that contemporary bilingual education activists have appropriated a neoliberal vision of community control in ways that seek to promote aspects of the more radical vision that shaped early advocacy work related to bilingual education through the opening of bilingual charter schools.

Tikia K. Hamilton, Princeton University


Tikia K. Hamilton graduated in 2015 from Princeton University with a Ph.D. in History. While at Princeton, she conducted research on the efforts of African-Americans to overcome the racial disparities that existed under the segregated school system in Washington, D.C., prior to Brown v. Board of Education. Prior to Princeton, she also attended Columbia University, where she studied as a Paul Robeson Fellow. At Columbia, she focused on black women’s organizational activism and earned a Master’s in African-American Studies. She also holds an undergraduate degree in History from Dartmouth College, where she was a Mellon Minority Undergraduate Research Fellow. She also was a recipient of the UCLA Summer Research Fellowship, under which she researched black women’s resistance strategies in the post-Emancipation period. Possessing over a decades-worth of teaching experience, Hamilton also has taught in various settings, including Princeton, Sidwell Friends in Washington, D.C., as well as Fieldston, Rye Country Day School and Poly Prep, all of which are located in New York City. She also is a visiting scholar at the George Washington University in D.C., which will provide her with additional to complete her current book. Originally from Chicago, Hamilton and her five siblings attended public school there. She is also the brain behind Triple Ivy Writing and Educational Solutions, where she coaches writers at various stages of their projects. She currently resides in Washington, D.C.

Making a ‘Model’ System: Race, Education and  Politics in the Nation’s Capital before Brown

Making a “Model” System: Race, Education and Politics in the Nation’s Capital before Brown recovers the efforts of black Washingtonians to desegregate public schools and establish the necessary legal and social frameworks for undoing segregation in Washington and throughout the nation. The book also explores the additional routes activists pursued when legal desegregation proved insufficient to the more immediate goal of equality. Seeking the “radical redistribution” of educational resources, activists set upon a path of self-determination that redefined notions of equality and promised to increase black academic and structural opportunity.

The book reveals how, despite the local and federal commitment to “separate, but equal” education in Washington, D.C. was no “model” system. However, the ways in which African-Americans sought to create a more equitable system were reflected in a number of unexamined court cases they launched, by their sustained appeals to the local school board and Congress, and through the often contentious educational campaigns that exposed strategic and ideological differences between black parents, civil rights attorneys, segregationists, educational officials and activist organizations. By foregrounding these efforts, Making a “Model” System upsets traditional frameworks that center on integration as the singular objective of educational activists and helps to provide critical alternatives for addressing present-day inequities in Washington and elsewhere.

Houman Harouni, Harvard University


Houman Harouni is Lecturer at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. His work unites a wide range of methods and interests, including pedagogy, sociology, philosophy, critical theory, history, and political economy, by exposing them to a wider concern: the potential of education for maintaining or changing social relations. His most recent work proposes and puts into practice a new critical theory of mathematics education that traces the relationships between mathematics, labor, culture, and politics. Harouni’s academic articles have appeared in the Harvard Educational Review, Berkeley Review of Education, For the Learning of Mathematics and Teaching and Curriculum Dialogue, among others. He is a former Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a Presidential Fellow of Harvard University and recipient of the American Association of Teaching and Curriculum’s Francis Hunkins Distinguished Article Award. As a cultural critic and author, he is a contributor to The Guardian, PBS Frontline and The American Reader, as well as other popular publications. He is a former elementary and high school teacher and runs intensive teacher and leadership training workshops in various countries and contexts.

Math and Anti-math: Numbers, Society and Education

What is the purpose of mathematics education, how has it been formed, and how does it impact the content and shape of curriculum? How do we decide what is relevant and for whom? On the one hand, the conceit of schooling is that mathematics is a subject necessary for labor and citizenship, and on the other hand the complaints regarding the lack of connections between school mathematics and practical life have become proverbial. This research project begins with the thesis that the seemingly intractable problems of mathematics education cannot be sufficiently addressed until we can clearly explain the purpose of the curriculum and how this purpose shapes the experience of teachers and students. This purpose, in turn, must be understood historically, as a process that spans the history of education and involves issues of class, labor, culture and gender. The study begins with historical research, expands its implications to address issues of curriculum design and controversy that have characterized reform efforts, and, last but not least, grounds these findings by examining their impact on practice.

Ozan Jaquette, University of California, Los Angeles


Ozan Jaquette is an assistant professor of higher education at UCLA.  He studies the organizational behavior of colleges and universities, with a focus on the nexus between finance and enrollment management.  His empirical research program analyzes how colleges and universities change behavior to grow enrollment from desired student populations.  One line of research analyzes the causes and consequences of out-of-state enrollment growth at public universities.  An emerging line of research uses “data science” methods of data collection to understand which students colleges actually recruit.

Coming Soon to a Neighborhood Near You? Off-Campus Recruiting by Public Research Universities

Unequal access to college is a persistent barrier to social mobility. Policy discourse often casts access inequality as a student achievement problem (e.g., the “achievement gap”) or a student decision-making problem (e.g., “under-matching”).  An alternative explanation is that some universities do not place a high priority on access for low-income students, suggesting that access inequality is an institutional preferences problem.  While formal university policies to increase access (e.g., “holistic admissions”) may be public relations efforts, knowing which schools and communities are targeted by university recruiting efforts can yield concrete data about university enrollment preferences.  Many universities advertise off-campus recruiting events on Twitter.  This project streams data from Twitter to collect data on off-campus recruiting events. Specifically, I collect Tweets from hashtags and handles associated with undergraduate admissions, including Tweets from regional admissions recruiters.  The analysis sample consists of 40 public research universities.  After cleaning and processing, recruiting data will be merged to secondary data (e.g., high school, community college, and community characteristics) in order to investigate which communities are favored by admissions recruiters and which communities are being ignored.

Khalil Johnson, Wesleyan University


Khalil Anthony Johnson, Jr., specializes in the intertwined histories of the African diaspora and Indigenous people in North America, with emphases on U.S. settler colonialism, education, and counter-hegemonic social movements. He holds an B.A. in English from the University of Georgia, and a Ph.D. in African American Studies and American Studies from Yale University. While teaching elementary school on the Navajo Nation, he unwittingly joined a historic cohort of African Americans who taught in reservation boarding schools as employees of the Bureau of Indian Affairs during the civil rights era. In his current manuscript project, Schooled: The Education of Black and Indigenous People in the United States and Abroad, 1730-1980, Johnson historicizes the Post-War migration of hundreds of African American educators to Indian Country ultimately unearthed a colonial genealogy of four generations of social reformers, missionaries, philanthropists, activists, and teachers who, since the eighteenth century, have used schooling to reconcile the founding cataclysms of the United States––the ongoing presence of Indigenous nations, free black people, and non-white immigrants. The result is a dramatic and transnational reinterpretation of American education and its consequences for colonized peoples across the globe. Dr. Johnson’s research has received support from numerous institutions, including the Ford Foundation, the National Academy of Education/Spencer Foundation. His essays and editorials have appeared in American Quarterly, Pacific Historical Review, and the Navajo Times. In 2015, he received recognition from the Western History Association for the year’s best essay on Native American history. His teaching areas include courses in the history of emancipatory education and U.S. empire, early African American history, American Indian history, and popular music.

Schooled: The Education of Black and Indigenous People in the United States and Abroad, 1730-1980

Schooled: The Education of Black and Indigenous People in the United States and Abroad, 1730-1980, unravels the threads binding four generations of social reformers, missionaries, philanthropists, activists, and teachers who, since the eighteenth century, used schooling to reconcile the founding cataclysms of the United States––the ongoing presence of Indigenous nations, free black people, and non-white immigrants. During the interwar period in the twentieth century, a pedagogical forged among formerly enslaved African American and captive American Indian students at Hampton Institute in Virginia became integral to British Indirect Rule in colonial Africa and Oceania, eventually circling back to the United States to form the backbone of American Indian education policy during the New Deal. This colonial genealogy of American education offers a substantially different interpretation of twentieth century education and activism.
The different kinds or rights, discipline, and security African Americans and Native Americans experienced in the United States ultimately brought both groups together on reservations after Brown v. Board of Education. Between 1954 and 1974, southern resistance to desegregation displaced an estimated forty thousand African Americans from teaching positions. Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) officials, urgently in need of teachers, capitalized on displacement and developed a recruitment policy targeting beleaguered black teachers, offering civil rights protections to beleaguered black teachers in exchange for their participation in eliminating Native sovereignty. As BIA employees, African American educators continued to organize resistance against white supremacy and mounted appeals for universal human rights from new homes in Indian Country, while American Indian nations embarked upon their own campaigns for self-determination.

Nicole Louie, University of Wisconsin-Madison


Nicole Louie is an assistant professor of teacher education at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She earned her doctorate in mathematics education from the University of California, Berkeley. The enduring concern behind her scholarship—fueled by her experiences as a teacher and learner in the San Francisco Bay Area, Chicago, and El Paso—is how people define what it means to be “smart,” and who is allowed to attain this status. She is especially interested in teachers’ efforts to challenge narrow, exclusionary discourses of intelligence, and to support students to relate to one another as intellectual equals. Her writing on the tensions teachers face and the supports they need as they engage in this work has appeared in Teachers College Record and Teaching and Teacher Education, and in Mathematics for Equity, a book she co-edited. Her current work explores the role of racial hierarchies (as they intersect with gender, class, and (dis)ability labels) in the reproduction and disruption of hierarchies of mathematical ability.

Empowering teachers, empowering students? Mathematics teacher collaboration and race in Chicago Public Schools

The Chicago P12 Math Collaborative (“the Collaborative”) aims to transform mathematics instruction throughout the Chicago Public Schools. Student-centered, intellectually ambitious teaching that improves outcomes for students of color is at the heart of the Collaborative’s vision. Over the past 5 years, the Collaborative has developed an approach to professional development (PD) that simultaneously asserts this vision and nurtures professional communities in which teachers take the lead in finding ways to enact it.

The purpose of this study is to examine the affordances of the Collaborative’s approach to large-scale, student- and teacher-centered PD, as well as its limitations. On the one hand, school cultures are shifting; as one principal described, “Our whole staff is coming kind of to a threshold where they’re becoming a collaborative staff. They are trusting each other to [give and] take criticism and also to do something positive with it.” Mathematics instruction is shifting as well; in the words of a teacher, “kids [are becoming] the agents of their learning, and kids [are] doing the major thinking.” On the other hand, teachers casually label children “high kids” and “low kids,” and both subtle and not-so-subtle linking of intelligence and race (as it intersects with class, gender, and other social categories) pepper teacher talk. In this project, I therefore investigate two major questions: (1) How do teachers negotiate a shared vision for mathematics instruction in the context of district-led efforts to support ambitious mathematics teaching and learning? and (2) How does educators’ work toward an ambitious vision of mathematics instruction disrupt racial hierarchies in mathematics education? How does it reproduce racial hierarchies?

Darris Means, University of Georgia


Darris R. Means is an Assistant Professor of College Student Affairs Administration in the Department of Counseling and Human Development Services at the University of Georgia. His research focuses on diversity and equity in secondary and higher education contexts. Specifically, he examines how geographical locale, policies, and other mechanisms support and/or hinder college access and choice for minoritized youth, including rural students of Color and Black and Latinx students. Additionally, he examines the collegiate learning and development experiences of Black and Latinx college students; low-income, first-generation college students; and Black gay, lesbian, bisexual, and queer students. Dr. Means has also used youth participatory action research methods to collaborate with minoritized youth on research related to college access. His recent publications have appeared in The Review of Higher Education, Journal of College Student Development, and Journal of Diversity in Higher Education. Dr. Means earned his Ph.D. in Educational Research and Policy Analysis with a concentration in Higher Education from North Carolina State University, a M.Ed. in Counselor Education with a concentration in Student Affairs from Clemson University, and a B.A. in Sociology and Political Science from Elon University.

Investigating College Access and Choice for Rural Black Students Using an Anti-Deficit Achievement Framework

The current research on rural Black students has identified and characterized college access and choice challenges experienced by this population of students but less attention has been paid to understanding the critical factors and mechanisms used by rural Black students to navigate their pathways to higher education despite challenges. In this qualitative study, I propose using an anti-deficit achievement approach and community cultural wealth (Harper, 2012; Yosso, 2005) to study the knowledge, skills, abilities, and social networks of rural Black students and how they use these assets to inform their pathways to higher education, while examining how systemic and structural inequities shape their college-going experiences.

I will employ an exploratory case study approach to examine college access and choice for 20 rural Black high school students in their senior year. I will collect data via three interviews and a photo-elicitation project with each student participant over an academic year. Results have the potential to have a school-level influence on how educators and school counselors work with rural Black students to support their access to higher education, and, on a state and federal level, shape college-going curriculum and college access policies that are inclusive of and enhance the educational outcomes of rural Black students.

Kathryn Moeller, University of Wisconsin-Madison


Kathryn Moeller is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Educational Policy Studies in the School of Education at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Her interdisciplinary, ethnographic scholarship examines the gendered, sexualized, and racialized nature of corporate power in the fields of education, feminism, and international development. She is the author of the forthcoming book, The Girl Effect: Capitalism, Feminism, and the Corporate Politics of Ending Poverty (2018). Her work has also been published in British Journal of Sociology of Education, International Journal of Education Development, and Feminist Studies. She received her Ph.D. (2012) from the Social and Cultural Studies Program at the University of California, Berkeley with a Designated Emphasis in Gender, Women, and Sexuality. Prior to graduate school, she was a high school teacher in the U.S. and Honduras.

Rich Dividends?: The Political Economy of Corporations in Education

This ethnographic study seeks to understand the shifting terrain of urban education as corporations and their foundations become increasingly powerful actors in shaping education policy and practice through corporate partnerships with public schools. It examines the political economy of corporations in education amidst urban school districts’ failure to meet the educational needs of communities of color and increasing state divestment in public education. Drawing on case studies of corporate partnerships with four high schools in Chicago Public Schools, the study asks the following research question: in the context of racial, class, and geographic-based disparities in education, how and why are US transnational corporations investing in urban education, and what are the intended and unintended effects of their influence? The research will provide new insights into the practices and implications of corporate influence in education; a nuanced understanding of how schools, districts, communities, and corporations and their foundations negotiate the terms of these partnerships; and an assessment of the extent to which these partnerships influence student, school, and district-level outcomes. In this way, this study in Chicago will offer insights into the corporatization of education in the US.

Jayanti Owens, Brown University


Jayanti Owens is an assistant professor of sociology and international and public affairs at Brown University. Her research focuses on social stratification and inequality in education, families, and labor markets. Using surveys, experiments, and administrative records, she investigates the causes and consequences of uneven educational and labor market rewards and penalties along lines of gender, race/ethnicity, and immigrant status. In particular, she is interested in differences in behavior presentation and perceptions of these behaviors by key decision-makers in contexts ranging from families and classrooms to workplaces. Her research has been funded by organizations including the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, and the Social Science Research Council. She received a B.A. from Swarthmore College, where she was a Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellow, and a joint Ph.D. in Sociology and Demography from Princeton University. Prior to coming to Brown she was a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health & Society Scholar at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Dr. Owens has worked in the Education Policy Center of the Urban Institute in Washington, D.C. and Mathematica Policy Research in Princeton, NJ.

Exclusionary Discipline: Racial Disparities in How Educators Evaluate and Sanction Misbehavior

School suspension and expulsion predict juvenile detention, educational attainment, earnings, incarceration, and recidivism. Suspension/expulsion impacts children’s development, contributing to cumulative disadvantages for students, families, and communities. Black students face more suspension/expulsion: 20% of Black boys are suspended, compared to 12% of Black girls, 9% of Hispanic boys, and 6% of White boys.

Neither higher incidence of infraction nor lesser responsiveness to restorative discipline practices (like tutoring or counseling) fully accounts for Black boys’ higher suspension/expulsion rates. Implicit bias offers a possible explanation: certain teachers might sanction Black boys more readily, and punitively, than White boys for identical, routine misbehavior. This compelling hypothesis has received scant empirical investigation.

This project: 1) precisely estimates magnitudes of teacher bias in evaluations of identical misbehavior and in recommended sanctions, and; 2) tests an intervention to reduce bias. We deploy a video vignette experiment that manipulates the race/ethnicity and gender of students committing identical misbehavior. Teachers are randomly assigned to student, intervention, and punitive or restorative school discipline environment. Teachers then view and rate videotaped misbehavior and report recommended sanction.

This project quantifies teachers’ implicit bias; the social psychological mechanisms underlying disproportionate suspension/expulsion; and factors magnifying bias. Results will inform promising strategies for teacher training and administrative disciplinary decision-making.

Lindsay Page, University of Pittsburgh


Lindsay C. Page is an assistant professor of research methodology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Education and a research scientist at Pitt’s Learning Research and Development Center. Her work focuses on quantitative methods and their application to questions regarding the effectiveness of educational policies and programs across the pre-school to postsecondary spectrum. Much of her recent work has involved the implementation of large-scale randomized trials to investigate innovative strategies for improving students’ transition to and through college. Her publications include articles in the Annals of Applied Statistics, Education Finance and Policy, Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, Journal of Human Resources, Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, and the Journal of Research on Educational Effectiveness, among others. Lindsay earned an EdD in quantitative policy analysis in education as well as a master’s degree in statistics and a master’s degree in administration, planning, and social policy from Harvard University. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Dartmouth College.

Comprehensive support for college success: An integrative case study of the Dell Scholars Program

Barriers to college success and associated programmatic responses typically are classified into one of several categories, including financial constraints, academic preparedness, and social and informational hurdles. Yet students’ struggles are likely to span multiple domains. If so, then programmatic efforts that address barriers comprehensively rather than in isolation may yield greater improvements to students’ college outcomes. I will inform this hypothesis through a mixed-methods investigation of the Dell Scholars Program, a college success initiative that provides students with scholarship funds as well as ongoing tracking, outreach, support and assistance to address the multifaceted challenges that may hinder college degree attainment. I will produce a book-length volume that paints a complete picture of the impact that the Dell Scholars Program has on students’ college success and how the program operates to engender those outcomes. I will situate my investigation within the broader literature on low-income and first-generation college-goers and will utilize this program as a lens into the challenges these students can experience and the integrated structures that can facilitate their college success. The resulting insights will allow practitioners and policymakers to consider how to provide an appropriate, unified suite of supports to those who need them most.

Nicole Panorkou, Montclair State University


Nicole Panorkou is an assistant professor of mathematics education in the department of Mathematical Sciences at Montclair State University. She completed her PhD in Mathematics Education at the UCL Institute of Education in London, U.K. Her PhD research was a phenomenographic study of students’ experiences of dimension in geometry. After earning her PhD, she was awarded a Fulbright scholarship and worked as a post-doctoral researcher in NSF-funded projects at North Carolina State University. She contributed to the development of the resource TurnOnCCMath.net that maps the CCSS-M into learning trajectories, and was also involved in projects on the teaching and learning of geometric transformations and rational number reasoning, the design of Massive Open Online courses (MOOCs) for educators, and the design of exploratory learning environments. Her research centers on the development and validation of learning trajectories for K-8 mathematics; student learning of geometry and measurement; and a focus on the ways that technology and modeling can foster the utility of mathematical concepts. Currently, she is the Principal Investigator of “The DYME project: Developing students’ thinking of dynamic measurement” funded by the Spencer Foundation (ending July 2017).

When counting cubes is not enough: Exploring volume measurement dynamically

Although measurement is classified as one of the main domains in the CCSS-M that spans all elementary grades K-5, international comparative studies show that U.S. student performance on measurement is very low. Aiming to resolve students’ difficulties and help them develop a conceptual understanding of volume, this study will explore an innovative way for students to experience volume measurement, what we refer to as Dynamic Measurement (DYME-V). DYME-V engages students in building 3D objects through dynamic experiences of ‘sweeping’ lengths and ‘extruding’ areas, constructing in that way a meaning of volume as a continuous structure that can dynamically change based on three linear measures: length, width and height. I will use a design-based research methodology to design, study and refine dynamic tasks for developing students’ DYME-V through a series of teaching experiments with students. During this process, I will monitor effects on student learning and document changes in student reasoning about volume measurement aiming to construct a learning trajectory of how students’ DYME-V reasoning may progress over time. The DYME-V approach opens up novel avenues toward transforming the learning and teaching of measurement by utilizing technology, which makes this abstract concept significantly more accessible to students.

Natasha Pilkauskas, University of Michigan


Natasha Pilkauskas is an assistant professor of public policy at the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan. The overarching goal of her research is to consider how public policy might improve the life trajectories and development of low-income children. Much of her research focuses on the living arrangements of low-income children, especially those who live with grandparents, and links with school outcomes. Past and current projects also investigate the role of the family and public policy in helping low-income families make ends meet, including research on doubling up, private financial transfers, maternal employment, the Earned Income Tax Credit, and the effects of the Great Recession. Her dissertation research was funded by an AERA dissertation grant and she has published in a variety of journals including the Journal of Marriage and Family, Demography, Developmental Psychology, and the American Journal of Public Health. Dr. Pilkauskas received her B.A. in Economics and Sociology from Northwestern University, a Masters in Public Policy from Harvard University, and a PhD in Social Welfare Policy from Columbia University. She was a postdoctoral fellow at the Columbia Population Research Center and at Cornell University. Prior to graduate school she worked as a political pollster and as a policy analyst evaluating various social policy programs.

Maternal Employment Stability, Intensity, and Quality: Exploring the Links with Children’s School Readiness and Later Educational Outcomes

Gaps in school readiness explain about half of later disparities in school achievement and children from economically disadvantaged backgrounds start the farthest behind (Duncan & Murnane, 2011). To close gaps in school readiness, we need to better understand what factors produce those gaps. One understudied contributing factor to school readiness is the role of maternal employment, and in particular, employment stability, intensity, and quality. In 1975, 39% of mothers with children under 6 were in the labor force, today that figure is 64% (BLS 2016). Among economically disadvantaged groups the increase in maternal employment has been even greater and these mothers often face unstable, low intensity, or poor quality employment (Kalleberg, 2009). By understanding whether particular types of maternal employment put children at a greater risk of not being ready for school, we can consider how early educational policies and interventions, and resource targeting once children are in school, might mitigate educational disparities.

Using unique employment calendar data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study, a longitudinal birth cohort study, I will examine the links between the characteristics of maternal employment during early childhood and gaps in school readiness (literacy, math, and behavioral skills). I will explore three questions: (1) Is maternal employment stability, intensity, and quality between birth and age 5 linked with school readiness (at age 5) and later school outcomes (at ages 9 and 15)? (2) Do the associations vary by developmental timing of the employment (e.g. infancy versus toddlerhood)? And (3) are there differences in the associations by marital status, race/ethnicity, or socio-economic status of the mothers? This research will shed light on the factors that contribute to gaps in school readiness between advantaged and disadvantaged children, so that we may better craft policies and interventions to close those gaps.

Luis Poza, University of Colorado Denver


Luis Poza, PhD, is an Assistant Professor of Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Education at the University of Colorado Denver. He previously taught in a bilingual 3rd grade classroom in East Palo Alto, CA, and K-2 science and literacy in Harlem, New York City. Luis received his PhD in 2014 from the Stanford University Graduate School of Education with dual concentrations in Sociology of Education and Race, Inequality, and Language in Education.

His dissertation received the Outstanding Dissertation Award from the Bilingual Education Research special interest group of the American Educational Research Association. His research investigates language ideologies embodied in teaching practice and education policy, and he has published on parent involvement in the schooling of immigrant youth, on improving curriculum and instructional practices for bilingual students, and on better aligning policy and curriculum to new understandings of bilingualism and second language acquisition. He currently teaches courses about effective instruction of culturally and linguistically diverse students, school equity and education policy, and theories and methods of bilingual education. Beyond academics, Luis is a board member of the Colorado Association for Bilingual Education, served on the Colorado Department of Education’s Accountability Working Group devising the state’s plan for the Every Student Succeeds Act, and is a member of the Working Group on ELL Policy, a coalition of researchers involved in educational policy throughout the country on matters such as ELL classification, evaluation, instruction, and teacher preparation.

Todos juntos/All together: Bilingualism, Bilingual Education, and Integration in a Gentrifying Neighborhood

Current research on the experiences and outcomes for students classified as English learners in dual immersion (DI) bilingual programs is ambivalent. On the one hand, there are consistently benefits in achievement, English language development, attitudes toward schooling, and future earnings when compared to peers in monolingual English instruction (Callahan & Gándara, 2014; Lindholm-Leary & Borsato, 2001; Lindholm-Leary & Hernández, 2011; Umansky & Reardon, 2014). On the other hand, gaps persist between students from historically marginalized groups (English Learners, students in poverty, students of color) and their more affluent white peers in such programs, and qualitative research has shown that prevalent social hierarchies are reified in interactions among students and in school-family relationships (Cervantes-Soon, 2014; Palmer, 2009; Scanlan & Palmer, 2009). DI programs are, nevertheless, increasingly popular in the US, and this growth in the number of programs coincides with a trend toward re-urbanization among middle class families and young professionals. Emerging research on gentrification shows similar conflicts, as the benefits of additional financial resources and social capital in a school are juxtaposed to tensions and power disparities among the established and newly arriving gentry families, including ultimately the displacement of the former from the community (Posey-Maddox, Kimelberg, & Cucchiara, 2014). The proposed study would undertake a social design methodology (Gutiérrez & Vossoughi, 2010) to jointly inquire with a school community the challenges and opportunities of a bilingual program in a gentrifying neighborhood in hopes that community change could be leveraged to build upon existing strengths and foster meaningful integration of students and families across ethnic, linguistic, and class backgrounds.

Mezna Qato, University of Cambridge


Mezna Qato is Junior Research Fellow in the History, Politics and Culture of the Modern Middle East at King’s College, University of Cambridge. She was previously Ibrahim Abu-Lughod Fellow at the Center for Palestine Studies, Columbia University, and earned her doctorate in history from the University of Oxford. For her writing, research, artistic and archival work, she has received grants, fellowships and residencies from, among others, the British Academy, Yaddo, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Palestinian American Research Center, the Karim Rida Said Foundation, and the Fulbright Commission. Her work focuses on social histories of refugees and communities in exile. A main aspect of her work studies the formation of educational regimes for refugees, particularly in the modern Middle East, and education as a site for understanding relationships of refugee students and teachers to governments, international regimes, and each other. She is active in a variety of pedagogical, historical and community initiatives, including support of Palestinian archival and library collections. As part of the EU-funded Civitas Research collective, she is the author of the largest socio-historical database of Palestinian refugee and exile communities housed at the University of Oxford.

Education in Exile: Palestinians and the Hashemite Regime, 1948-1967

After the 1948 war, and the dispossession of the majority of Palestinians into Jordanian territory, an educational infrastructure was developed to accommodate refugee students. This project unpacks the consequences of education as crisis management and in so doing reveals political and social ambivalences by refugee youth as they are subjected to state attempts to de-nationalise them though they remain vested in a project of self-determination.

With archival materials and oral histories, I examine how, despite intense state and international pressures, education came to be understood, framed, and enacted as a potentially emancipatory exercise by refugees. I trace evolving curriculum debates, pedagogical practices, educational built environments, and show how they came to embody the high stakes of representational power and anti-colonial possibility. However, the work weaves these debates and practices by students and teachers with those of UN and government bureaucrats, international development interlocutors, and intelligence officials and inspectors, and in so doing challenges nationalist teleology and triumphalism by grounding educational potential in refugee desires for class mobility, employment, as well as emancipation. Through this work, I aim to offer a history of refugee schooling lived as a form of pedagogical fugitivity; one that seeks to make a way out from under a corrosive dyad of collective political claims versus socio-economic aspiration.

Emily Rauscher, University of Kansas


Emily Rauscher is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Kansas. Her research examines intergenerational inequality, with the goal of identifying policies that could increase equality of opportunity. In pursuit of this goal, she has examined the effects of early compulsory schooling laws on intergenerational mobility, equality of school attendance and educational attainment, and the occupational structure. To further understand the role of education in the reproduction of inequality, she examined the relationship between parental financial support for higher education and economic attainment. Her work has appeared in the American Journal of Sociology, Social Forces, Demography, and Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, among others. Emily received her B.A. from Wesleyan University, an M.S. from the Rossier School of Education at the University of Southern California, and her Ph.D. in Sociology from New York University.

When Does Money Matter? School Funding and Inequality of Educational Achievement

School funding decreased drastically following the 2008 recession, but we know little about how these cuts may affect K-12 achievement gaps. This study moves beyond the long-standing debate about whether funding matters to examine whether and in which contexts particular types of funding could reduce racial and ethnic achievement gaps. Drawing on data from the Stanford Education Data Archive, Census Finance Survey, Common Core of Data, and California Elections Data Archive, this study will create two district-level longitudinal data sets and apply two identification strategies. First, school district and year fixed effects will be used to estimate the relationship between changes in funding and achievement gaps within the same district from 2008 to 2013. Second, regression discontinuity analyses of 1995-2013 California school ballot measures will approach a causal estimate of the effects of school facilities funding on racial achievement gaps. The goal is to identify whether certain funding types or distribution mechanisms could reduce racial inequality of educational achievement.

Deondra Rose, Duke University


Deondra Rose is an Assistant Professor of Public Policy and Political Science at Duke University.  Her research focuses on the feedback effects of landmark higher education policies on the American political landscape.  Her first book, Citizens by Degree (Oxford University Press, forthcoming), examines the development of the National Defense Education Act of 1958, the Higher Education Act of 1965, and Title IX of the 1972 Education Amendments and their impact on the gender dynamics of American citizenship.  Rose’s research has appeared in Studies in American Political Development, PS: Political Science & Politics, the Journal of Policy History, and the Journal of Women, Politics & Policy. A summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of Georgia, Rose received her M.A. and Ph.D. in Government from Cornell University, with a specialization in American Politics and public policy.

Educating Black Elites: HBCUs, Public Policy, and the Redistribution of American Political Power

Since 1837, when the Institute for Colored Youth was established in Pennsylvania, Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) have made valuable contributions to higher education in the United States. Until the mid-twentieth century, HBCUs represented the principal pathway to higher educational opportunity for African Americans. As a result, they have provided an important source of empowerment for black individuals, their families, and their communities. HBCUs have also played a pivotal role in educating African American leaders, including the vanguard of the U.S. civil rights movement and a disproportionate share of black political elites. As such, HBCUs have played an important role in shaping the distribution of political power in the United States. Although scholars have recognized the significance of HBCUs for providing black Americans with higher educational opportunity through much of the nation’s history, we have yet to fully consider the role that policymakers have played in shaping their development or the role that HBCUs have played in the redistribution of political power.

This project investigates two central research questions: (1) What role has the government played in the development of historically black colleges and universities? and (2) How has government support for HBCUs shaped the distribution of political power in the United States? To answer these questions, I will use a mixed methods research approach: first, I will use historical analysis to examine the political development of HBCUs, paying particular attention to the role that the government has played in shaping their development and, thus, extending higher educational opportunity—and a pathway toward first-class citizenship—to African Americans. Second, I will examine the feedback effects of government support for HBCUs on political engagement by conducting a survey of black college graduates that examines higher educational experiences (at HBCUs and non-HBCUs), as well as measures of political and civil engagement. To investigate whether HBCU attendance plays a role in driving disproportionately high levels of political engagement, I will conduct in-depth interviews with black elected officials. If the survey data suggest that HBCU attendance is significantly associated with high levels of political engagement, these in-depth interviews could help to uncover the mechanisms by which this relationship operates. Taken together, these techniques will provide fresh insight into our understanding of the politics of HBCUs and could provide valuable lessons for how higher educational institutions can foster high levels of political and civic engagement among citizens who have been traditionally underrepresented in politics.

Crystal Sanders, Pennsylvania State University


Crystal R. Sanders is an Associate Professor of History and African American Studies at Pennsylvania State University.  Her research and teaching interests include African American History, Black Women’s History, and the History of Black Education.  Sanders received her PhD in History from Northwestern University and received her BA in History and Public Policy from Duke University.  She is the author of A Chance for Change: Head Start and Mississippi’s Black Freedom Struggle published by the University of North Carolina Press in 2016 as part of the John Hope Franklin Series in African American History and Culture.  Division F of the American Educational Research Association recognized the book with its 2017 New Scholar Book Award.  Sanders’s work, which has been supported by a Spencer Dissertation Fellowship and a Ford Dissertation Fellowship, can also be found in the Journal of Southern History, the North Carolina Historical Review, and the Journal of African American History.  She is currently writing a book on black southerners’ efforts to secure graduate education during the age of Jim Crow.

Deferred Dreams and Exiled Citizens: Black Graduate Education in the Age of Jim Crow

Deferred Dreams and Exiled Citizens will be the first book-length study of African Americans’ efforts to secure graduate education during the age of Jim Crow. While many scholars of black education have written about African Americans’ quest for elementary, secondary, and baccalaureate education, black efforts to secure graduate and professional education have been largely overlooked. For most of the twentieth century, southern and border state legislatures did not provide graduate education for African Americans. Rather than create graduate and professional programs at black colleges or desegregate white colleges, state lawmakers appropriated tax dollars to send black citizens out-of-state for graduate training. Missouri began this arrangement in 1921. By 1948, North Carolina, South Carolina, Arkansas, Tennessee, Virginia, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Maryland, Kentucky, Oklahoma, Texas, and West Virginia had also created Jim Crow scholarship programs and exported black scholars to preserve segregation. Most of these states continued their scholarship programs until the 1960s defying the United States Supreme Court decision in Missouri ex rel. Gaines v. Canada (1938) where justices decreed that states had a responsibility to offer white and black citizens in-state education. Usually, the Jim Crow scholarships covered the differential between the cost of pursuing a course of study offered at the state’s white institutions and the cost of pursuing the same program at the out-of-state school that the black student attended. Some states also paid travel expenses. Most students receiving funds studied at institutions in the North, Midwest, or West and many never returned to the South.

Niral Shah, Michigan State University


Niral Shah is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Teacher Education at Michigan State University. His research focuses on equity and implicit bias in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) education. In mathematics, Dr. Shah has studied how false racial narratives (e.g., “Asians are good at math”) construct mathematics classrooms as racialized spaces, and position students as being more or less capable of learning math. In computer science, he has studied how perceptions of status affect student learning and collaboration. In his current work, Dr. Shah is developing a tool to help teachers identify implicit bias in classroom discourse, and also improve their practice toward the goal of designing more equitable classrooms. His work has appeared in Teachers College Record, Human Development, and the Compendium for Research in Mathematics Education. Dr. Shah holds a Ph.D. in Education from the University of California, Berkeley, with a focus on mathematics, science, and technology.

Reducing the Impact of Implicit Racial and Gender Bias on Mathematics Classroom Discourse

Implicit bias has been shown to produce racial and gender inequities across numerous facets of social life (e.g., policing, employment). In education, teachers’ implicit biases can affect students’ access to participation opportunities, which are critical for learning. However, little is known about how teachers can reduce the impact of implicit bias on classroom discourse. This is a particularly pressing problem in mathematics education, where despite its reputation as a “neutral” domain, inequities persist for girls and students of color.

This mixed methods study investigates how teachers make sense of and utilize quantitative data on participation patterns and qualitative data on students’ subjective perceptions of implicit bias. Using an iterative design, analysis will focus on how teachers improve their practice through cycles of data-driven reflection. The study is poised to make two significant contributions. First, it will document equitable teaching practices. And second, it will produce a model for working with teachers on the sensitive topic of implicit bias. This model aims to facilitate larger-scale professional development efforts to make classrooms more equitable.

Amy Stornaiuolo, University of Pennsylvania


Amy Stornaiuolo is an assistant professor in the Graduate School of Education at the University of Pennsylvania. Her research examines adolescents’ multimodal composing practices, teachers’ educational uses of digital technologies, and relationships between authors and audiences in online, networked spaces. All of her work centers on how to create equitable and accessible learning opportunities for young people by examining how youth draw on diverse cultural and linguistic repertoires as they participate in richly literate lives across multiple social contexts—and the role teachers and mentors play in these practices. Dr. Stornaiuolo is currently the principal investigator of a National Science Foundation project studying how adolescents produce and use data visualizations to guide their composing and revision processes in an online writing community. She has received a number of awards for her research and has published her work in journals like Harvard Educational Review, Review of Research in Education, and the Journal of Literacy Research. She is co-editor the forthcoming Handbook of Writing, Literacies, and Education in Digital Cultures (Routledge, 2017). Dr. Stornaiuolo received her Ph.D. in Language, Literacy, and Culture from the University of California, Berkeley.

Developing Data Literacy with Adolescents: Supporting Youth as Authors, Architects, and Interpreters of Data

This study explores how young people develop data literacy, the capacity to build and communicate meaning through representations of information. While data literacy has emerged as a crucial digital literacy skill in our networked culture, it has not been widely studied in educational research, particularly the challenge of supporting young people in using data to create actionable knowledge. Through a yearlong ethnographic investigation into how students develop data literacy in a technology-infused and design-oriented high school, the study will highlight the literacy dimensions of data literacy, drawing particular attention to the historical, cultural, social, and political dimensions of how data is used to produce and value knowledge. It will trace how students use data for different purposes – to generate knowledge, to craft alternative narratives challenging mainstream discourses, to interrogate what counts as data, or to turn data toward civic action.  A major contribution of the research project is its focus on developing the data literacy construct based on youth perspectives.

Amanda Tachine, Arizona State University


Amanda R. Tachine is Navajo from Ganado, Arizona. She is Náneesht’ézhí Táchii’nii (Zuni Red Running into Water clan) born for Tl’izilani (Many Goats clan). Her maternal grandfather’s clan is Tábaahí (Water’s Edge) and her paternal grandfather’s clan is Ashiihi (Salt). She is a postdoctoral scholar at Arizona State University’s Center for Indian Education. She weaves conceptual and theoretical threads that examine college access & transition, sense of belonging, and qualitative methodology – consistently through an Indigenous ways of knowing lens. Specifically, she focuses attention on Indigenous students’ experiences and the systems and structures that inhibits and supports educational opportunities for them. Her work has been published in the Journal of Higher Education and the International Review of Qualitative Research. Amanda was recognized by President Barack Obama with the White House Champions of Change: Young Women Empowering Communities award for her instrumental work in creating University of Arizona’s Native (SOAR) Student Outreach for Access and Resiliency, a multi-generation mentoring program to increase college access among Native youth and families. In addition, her dissertation titled, Monsters and Weapons: Navajo students’ stories on their journeys to college was awarded the 2016 American Educational Research Association Division J Dissertation of the Year as well as received Honorable Mention recognition from the International Congress Qualitative Inquiry Dissertation Award. She has published thought pieces in the Huffington Post, Al Jazeera and The Hill through her role as a Public Voices Op-Ed Fellow where she advances ideas regarding discriminatory actions, educational policies, and inspirational movements.

Monsters and Weapons: Navajo Students’ College Access and Transition Stories

The 2014 United States White House reported that, “Native youth and Native education are in a state of emergency” by detailing the history and current state of Native education: Native youth are the least likely to graduate from high school, enter into college, and attain a college degree when compared to other racial/ethnic populations (United States Executive Office of the President, 2014, p. 19). The report is significant because broader society and higher education researchers frequently historicize Native peoples, relegate us to a footnote under an “asterisk” justifying our exclusion from studies because of low numbers, or completely ignore us, prompting scholars to move from the language of “underrepresented” to “invisible” (Brayboy, 2004). Thus, Native student experiences are often nonexistent within educational conversations. Indigenous education scholars call upon researchers to “move beyond the asterisk” by seeking ways to include Native students in higher education research (Shotton, Lowe, & Waterman, 2013).

This research centers attention on the factors shaping Native, specifically Navajo, students’ entrance into and transition during their first year in college. An Indigenous methodology, grounded in a Navajo/Diné, perspective is used to understand the barriers students face and the strengths used to overcome them. Through the assertion of the Navajo traditional oral story of the Twin Warriors, this study will focus on the strength-based interconnected worldview, referred to as “weapons,” where culture and ways of knowing (such as spirituality and generational teachings) helped Navajo students to overcome the “monsters,” referred as the contextual barriers (such as financial hardship) that inhibit their college transition journey. A goal of this study is to extend the critical strand of research on college access and transition among Native students. Viewing students’ stories from a strength-based lens and context-specific approach can transform conversations of college access and transition by illuminating a more inclusive pathway that opens opportunities to diversify college campuses and enhance equity in higher education.

Erica Turner, University of Wisconsin-Madison


Erica O. Turner is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Educational Policy Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. A scholar of education policy, her research examines how diverse groups—from school district leaders to students to community members—make sense of and negotiate education problems, policies, and equity in the shifting organizational, social, political, and economic contexts of urban school districts. She uses socio-cultural, political, and race-critical theories and qualitative methods to illuminate local governance of public schools as a site of contestation and possibility for educational equity. Her research is published in journals such as the American Educational Research Journal, Teachers College Record, and Urban Education. Her work has been sponsored by the University of Wisconsin, the Spencer Foundation, the State Farm Companies Foundation and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Dr. Turner is an Anna Julia Cooper Fellow and an ELL Policy Fellow. She was a middle school teacher before earning her PhD at the University of California, Berkeley.

Embracing Complexity: The Diverse Efforts to Address Racial Inequity in One School District

After decades of school choice and testing policies, educators, activists, and scholars are turning to community engagement strategies to advance racial equity in schools. This puts a spotlight on the challenges and promise of diverse stakeholders working towards policy change. The proposed study examines how school and civic actors in Madison, Wisconsin make sense of racial inequity, envision new possibilities, and pursue interrelated efforts to advance policy change as they confront persistent racial inequity. Using new socio-cultural theories of policy, contemporary theories of race, and a comparative case study design, I examine race talk in policy deliberation across three issues–disparities in school discipline, access to advanced course-taking, and emergent bilinguals’ education–which engage different racialized groups and constellations of discourses, strategies, processes, and resources. The study furthers knowledge of how complex policy ecologies contribute to, complicate, or undermine equity in school district policymaking; enriches our conceptualization of education problems and aims, equity, and policy strategies; and provides new theoretical understandings of policy as a racialized, socio-cultural phenomenon. In examining Madison, a best-case situation of diverse citizen involvement, this study points to the possibilities for more democratic, effective and just policy, a necessity in our increasingly racially diverse country.

Lindsay Weixler, Tulane University


Lindsay Bell Weixler is an Associate Director and Senior Research Fellow at the Education Research Alliance for New Orleans (ERA-New Orleans). Lindsay’s research focuses on early childhood education and child and adolescent development in educational settings. After teaching in New Orleans public schools, Lindsay completed a Ph.D. in developmental psychology and master’s degree in statistics at the University of Michigan. Before joining the team at ERA-New Orleans, Lindsay was a Presidential Management Fellow in the Office of Planning, Evaluation, and Policy Development at the U.S. Department of Education.

The Impact of Centralized Enrollment and Public Quality Ratings on Disadvantaged Families’ Access to High-Quality Early Childhood Education

Quality Rating and Improvement Systems (QRISs) have become a nearly universal approach to quality improvement in early childhood education (ECE). These efforts are necessary, as ECE program quality is both important for child outcomes and highly variable (Bassok et al., 2016; Yoshikawa et al., 2013). However, to date we know very little about the effectiveness of QRISs in improving parents’ access to high-quality ECE. This project will fill this gap by evaluating the effect of Louisiana’s recently updated ECE policy and QRIS on parents’ access to high-quality ECE in New Orleans.

In 2012, Louisiana mandated that each locality centralize enrollment for all publicly funded programs and evaluate them using the Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS). As a result, New Orleans families can now apply for up to eight programs in rank order using one application. Beginning in 2018, programs’ CLASS-based quality ratings will be listed on their profiles in the application system. I will examine (1) the impact of the centralized enrollment system on families’ access to publicly funded programs, and (2) the impact of public quality ratings on parents’ demand for high-quality programs. This study will be the first to analyze the effect of a state policy on families’ access to ECE and to use individual-level data to examine the effect of public quality ratings on parents’ ECE program decisions.

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