Education Experts at Johns Hopkins
The following Johns Hopkins University faculty members are at the head of the class when it comes to helping education reporters source their stories. To speak with these experts, contact Amy Cowles at 443-287-9960 or firstname.lastname@example.org, unless otherwise indicated.
** Stefanie DeLuca, an assistant professor in the Sociology Department, is interested in the way social context — family, school, neighborhood, peers, teachers, popular culture — affects outcomes for young people, primarily in adolescence and at the transition to adulthood. Specifically, DeLuca can discuss:
1) Vocational education. Studying the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1997 and high school transcripts, DeLuca and co-authors Stephen Plank and Angela Estacion found that while career and technical education programs don't impede college attendance, students whose transcripts include higher ratios of CTE courses to academic courses are less likely to go to college. Despite high levels of participation in CTE programs across sociodemographic groupings, traditionally disadvantaged groups of students take proportionately more vocational courses than academic ones.
2) The impact of school transfers on delinquency rates. Families move frequently, and under some federal policies like the No Child Left Behind Act, children are encouraged to move from low-performing to high-performing schools. While these changes can be good for a student if the new school has a better academic record and is a good fit for the child, such a move can also be harmful, especially when students have a prior history of delinquency. The disruptions that accompany school mobility can increase delinquent behaviors, such as stealing, fighting and drug use. DeLuca and co-author Angela Estacion also found that low-income and low-performing youth are more likely to change schools and residences than their more advantaged peers, and that minority youth are more likely to experience school changes than white youth.
3) EMBARGOED UNTIL SEPT. 9. Delaying the transition to college. According to the National Education Longitudinal Study of 1988, 16 percent of high school graduates of the class of 1992 postponed enrollment by seven months or more after completing high school. Regardless of their background, these students seriously compromise their ability to finish college if they put it off, even for a year. DeLuca and Robert Bozick, a former graduate student in sociology at Johns Hopkins, address this topic in an article published in the September 2005 issue of the journal Social Forces. They found that delayers are more likely than on-time enrollees to attend community colleges than four-year institutions. Delayers are also more likely to marry and have children before entering college. Delayers tend to have some common characteristics: They come from families with few socioeconomic resources, have performed poorly on standardized tests, have dropped out of school, and have earned GEDs. The researchers found that even after controlling for these academic and socioeconomic characteristics, students who delay postsecondary enrollment have lower odds of earning a bachelor's degree.
** Victoria Hill, a mathematics curriculum writer for the Talent Development High Schools program at the Center for Social Organization of Schools, creates lessons that tie algebra and geometry to various professions. Reporters should turn to her for stories about "real-life math." Hill creates lessons that go with particular careers to use in high schools featuring career academies for 10th, 11th and 12-grade students. Among the career areas she focuses on are the arts, engineering and health and fitness. Hill, who has a doctorate in mathematics education, has used many Johns Hopkins resources, at both the university and the hospital, as background for her lessons. For instance, Johns Hopkins radiologists helped her fashion a lesson on distance and intensity of light, based on X-rays. (Sample lessons available.)
** Maria Garriott and Cora Teter, curriculum developers at CSOS, can help reporters interested in writing about new approaches to science education. They have created lessons to accompany book one of The Story of Science, a series on the history of science by Joy Hakim. The Friends School of Mullica Hill, N.J., and Winslow Township Middle School in Atco, N.J., will pilot the first semester of lessons in their eighth-grade classes. A homeschooler in the Baltimore area and another in Arizona will do the same. The lessons will help teachers convey the information in "Aristotle Leads the Way." Garriott and Teter were involved in writing similar curricula for Hakim's American history series, A History of US.
** Studies show that success in ninth grade is indicative of success in high school. Yet many students, particularly in high-poverty high schools, enter ninth grade ill-prepared for the work or the workload. Researchers, teachers and curriculum developers in the Talent Development High Schools program at the Center for Social Organization of Schools have created ninth-grade curricula that address the needs of students who come to high school without the reading and mathematics skills to achieve. The Freshman Seminar, in use in dozens of schools across the country, helps students learn good study habits and time management, set goals for high school and beyond, and interact well with their peers.
** Douglas MacIver is a principal researcher on middle school issues, and can talk to reporters about a variety of ways to make middle school count. Middle grades are often overlooked. But what students don't learn in middle school affects their high school performance, and a recent study by researchers at CSOS shows that student behavior and achievement in middle school can predict students who are likely to drop out of high school. The Talent Development Middle Grades program has developed curricula, teaching strategies and approaches to behavior problems that make middle school more effective and middle- schoolers more successful.
** W. Stephen Wilson, a professor of mathematics at Johns Hopkins, can talk with reporters about K-12 mathematics education. He says that many incoming freshmen at colleges across the country are unprepared for college level mathematics and end up taking high school level courses. Since two-thirds of high school graduates go directly on to college these days, college prep should be the default mathematics curriculum, Wilson says, but many texts and state standards do not support this goal. Wilson also likes to connect what college students should know to what should be taught in primary school, but he says teachers and curriculum developers are often ill-equipped to see this connection. For example, he stresses the importance of the basic pencil and paper arithmetic algorithms and rejects the use of calculators in primary school. A professor at Johns Hopkins for more than 25 years, Wilson's work in K-12 mathematics education has been mostly with parent advocacy groups and on state mathematics standards. He is a co-author of "The State of State Math Standards," published by the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation in January 2005. The report is online at www.edexcellence.net/doc/ mathstandards05FINAL.pdf.
** Elaine Stotko, chair of the Department of Teacher Education at The School of Professional Studies in Business and Education at Johns Hopkins, can talk about teacher training and recruitment. Her division is playing a major role in helping several Maryland school districts recruit qualified teachers, especially in the city of Baltimore. The city school district is hiring 700 new teachers this fall and about 250 are in one of Johns Hopkins' two teacher training partnership programs: the Baltimore City Teaching Residency program and Teach for America.
** Early Childhood Development. How do young children perceive and reason about the world around them? How do they learn words for objects and actions, or understand numbers prior to any formal mathematical education? Do infants and very small children use logical reasoning? Those questions, and many others, are fodder for research being done by Assistant Professor Justin Halberda and Assistant Professor Lisa Feigenson at the Laboratory for Child Development. Both faculty members have published a number of articles on these topics. For information, contact Justin Halberda at email@example.com or 410-516- 7364 and Lisa Feigenson, firstname.lastname@example.org or 410-516-7364.
** Going back to a dropout factory? Many students across the country will be returning to schools where they will have only a 50-50 chance of graduating. In a new study, researchers Robert Balfanz and Nettie Legters of the Center for Social Organization of Schools identify more than 2,000 high schools with low "promoting power." This is a measure that compares the number of 12th graders to the number of 9th graders in the same school four years earlier, as an indicator of low graduation and high dropout rates. Balfanz and Legters also make recommendations in the study for changes that must occur to make these low- achieving schools more successful. Contact: Robert Balfanz at 410-516-4272 or Nettie Legters at 410-516-8874. James McPartland can also speak to the subject of high school reform measures that can repair our nation's troubled schools. Contact McPartland at 410-516-8803 or email@example.com.
** Joyce Epstein, director of the Center for School, Family and Community Partnerships, studies how schools can strengthen family and community involvement and is developing new ways for parents and educators to work together to plan partnership programs. Homework is part of good partnerships, Epstein says. She studies when homework is and isn't effective and is creating ways for teachers to design better homework assignments. She can provide tips to help parents work with schools and help their kids.
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