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Digging into the research methods of educational studies can be akin to looking under the hood of a car: most people see a lot of complex machinery without grasping how it all actually works. At least with cars, we can take them for a test drive. But with research, it’s not so straightforward.
How do educators and policy makers—and, for that matters, researchers themselves—know they can trust the findings generated by the tools and techniques of education research?
For years, Penn GSE’s John Fantuzzo and his research team have been leveraging big data systems to paint a more holistic picture of the challenges facing Philadelphia’s schoolchildren. In addition to looking at school demographics, Fantuzzo’s team cross-referenced city data on students’ homelessness, lead exposure, low birth weight and more.
In 2018, Philadelphia will again have a local school board after 17 years of state control under the School Reform Commission.
Mayor Jim Kenney has proposed that he should have the power to appoint a board, with City Council given the chance to confirm members.
In 2011, the Danish government put out an open invitation to school leaders, teachers, policy makers, and industry partners to imagine a complete overhaul of the nation’s schools, serving students aged 1 to 19.
Students in schools where teachers have a greater role in school leadership and design of instruction perform better in mathematics and English language proficiency, as detailed in a new white paper from Penn GSE’s Richard Ingersoll.
[[image|center|caption=Richard Ingersoll is a member of Penn GSE's top-ranked Education Policy division.|width=650|src=https://www.gse.upenn.edu/system/files/u225/Ingersoll-teaching.jpg]]
Before Philadelphia's William M. Meredith School partnered with Penn GSE and the Consortium for Policy Research in Education, most math classes were traditional lectures. But as part of the Ongoing Assessment Project, teachers at the school began reworking their lessons.
Students notice the difference, according to a story in The Philadelphia Tribune.
“We will ask a kid a very open-ended question and the key is to show their thinking," math lead teacher Jessica Tilli told The Philadelphia Tribune.
In 2016, after the NAACP passed a resolution calling for a moratorium on the expansion of charter schools, the organization began a nationwide listening tour to hear from people on all sides of the debate.
Cornell Brooks, who was then president of the NAACP, attended meetings across the country.
Debates around race, sexual assault, LGBTQ rights, immigration policy, and an array of political issues have become flashpoints at many American colleges. In Free Speech on Campus, Penn GSE’s Sigal Ben-Porath asks how colleges have traditionally approached free expression, and if they have to change now that the student population is more diverse, the internet has changed communication, and everyone carries a camera in their pocket.
Most adults, including parents, don't spend much time in schools. As a result, when they think about education issues, they naturally look through the lens of their own student experiences. Since many of the routines of schooling are similar, it can be easy to believe schools themselves have stayed the same in recent decades.
It's also a mistake, Penn GSE education historian Jonathan Zimmerman told Chalkbeat. [[image|right|faculty=5556|caption=Dr. Jonathan Zimmerman]]