Performance pay, desegregation, No Child Left Behind made education headlines in 2007; Vanderbilt University experts available to comment

[Broadcast media note: Vanderbilt University has a television studio with a Vyvx uplink for live or live-to-tape interviews 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and an ISDN line for radio interviews].

Experts from Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College of education and human development are available to discuss 2007’s top education stories and what to expect in 2008.

Performance pay for teachers – Efforts to pay teachers based on their performance gained steam at the federal and state levels this year. Matthew Springer, director of the National Center on Performance Incentives at Vanderbilt University, is available to discuss national trends and what is needed to determine if these programs work.

Supreme Court rules against using race in school assignment plans – In June 2007, a divided U.S. Supreme Court ruled that race cannot be a factor in public school assignment, tying the hands of many local school districts attempting to increase diversity. Vanderbilt education experts Claire Smrekar, Ellen Goldring and Mark Berends contributed to amicus briefs submitted to the Supreme Court for the cases. All three can talk about the impact the decision has had on schools and its implications for ongoing school choice efforts.

Bios: Claire Smrekar
Ellen Goldring
Mark Berends

No Child Left Behind reauthorization questionable – The end of 2007 brings no action from Congress on reauthorization of the federal No Child Left Behind Act, prompting speculation that it will be punted to the next president. James Guthrie is available to discuss issues surrounding the reauthorization of NCLB, its implementation thus far, its impact on schools, teachers, students and researchers and which components are likely to continue and which to end.

Stephen Elliott can discuss the issues surrounding large-scale testing and No Child Left Behind, and the interplay between social behavior and academic performance.

Bios: James Guthrie
Stephen Elliott

School violence on national stage, again – 2007 will be remembered as the year of the deadliest school shooting in history, the April 16 massacre at Virginia Tech University. Maury Nation is available to talk about why violence occurs in schools, what may lead a child or young adult to become violent and effective policies and programs to reduce violence in schools.

Higher education accountability generates debate – The U.S. Department of Education took very public aim at higher education institutions this year, floating controversial ideas to improve accountability, measure performance and rein in tuition. Michael McLendon can discuss college tuition patterns and the shift toward more accountability mandates at the state and federal levels. McLendon and colleagues John Braxton and Will Doyle can discuss what states are doing to impact graduation rates—for better and for worse.

Bios: Michael McLendon
John Braxton
Will Doyle

Math and science teaching and learning center of attention – Camilla Benbow, vice-chair of the National Mathematics Advisory Panel and a member of the National Science Board, is available to talk about the importance of math and science education to America’s ability to compete globally. Benbow can also discuss the implications for students and educators of the 2007 $43 billion America COMPETES Act.

Expanding access to pre-k – Making pre-kindergarten available for every student is part of several presidential candidates’ stump speeches and is being pursued by many states. Dale Farran can discuss the importance of pre-k to children at risk of school failure due to poverty or disabilities, the traits of effective pre-k programs, and how best to prepare teachers to work with our youngest students.

Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College of education and human development was ranked by U.S. News & World Report as the No. 3 education school in the nation in 2007. For more Peabody experts and news, visit

Media Contact: Melanie Moran, (615) 322-NEWS

Explore Story Topics