Experts on Elementary and Secondary Education Act (No Child Left Behind) available

Elementary school science classroom

Today, the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions began to markup a proposal that would reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, the law governing schools that receive federal tax dollars.

Education experts from Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College of education and human development are available to talk to media regarding the much-anticipated bill that would overhaul the Elementary and Secondary Education Act – also known as No Child Left Behind.

Peabody was named the No. 1 graduate school of education in the nation by U.S. News & World Report for the fifth consecutive year in 2013. To schedule an interview with these experts, contact Jennifer Wetzel at (615) 322-NEWS.

Ellen Goldring is an expert on school improvement, with particular emphases on school organization, school choice and education leadership. Her research includes studies of magnet schools and access and equity of parent choice plans. She is the principal investigator on a new study, Supporting Principals to Use Teacher Effectiveness Measures for Human Capital Decisions, funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Goldring is  Patricia and Rodes Hart Professor and chair of the Department of Leadership, Policy and Organizations at Peabody College and an investigator with the National Center on School Choice and the National Center on Scaling Up Effective Schools, both housed at Peabody.

Claire Smrekar provides expert analysis on the social and policy context of school choice: how parents choose and why and how charter schools, magnet schools and voucher programs shape parents’ choice patterns. She also explores how these choice patterns and preferences impact racial and social diversity. Smrekar, associate professor of leadership, policy and organizations, recently completed a demographic analysis of magnet school choice in urban school districts. She is currently studying private school enrollment patterns to understand how voucher programs, charters and demographics shape parent choices and choice markets.

Matthew Springer, assistant professor of public policy and education, directs the federally funded National Center on Performance Incentives and the Tennessee Consortium on Research, Evaluation, and Development, housed at Peabody. Springer is a frequently quoted expert on educator incentive pay programs and educational accountability. He has led evaluations of numerous educator pay programs nationwide, served on advisory committees charged with designing performance-based compensation systems for educators, and conducted analyses of school finance systems in Alaska, Kentucky, Missouri, South Carolina, Texas and Tennessee.

Ron Zimmer, associate professor of public policy and education, researches school choice, accountability and the use of private organizations in education. Zimmer’s work includes evaluations of charter schools, turning over low-performing schools to private management organizations, the use of school choice and supplemental educational service options under NCLB, and the closure of low-performing schools.

Dale Ballou, associate professor of public policy and education and associate director of the National Center on School Choice at Peabody, is an authority on the use of value-added models to evaluate teachers and schools. His research on school accountability examines two criticisms frequently made of No Child Left Behind: 1. that schools have practiced a form of educational triage, focusing on students near proficiency to the detriment of higher and lower achieving students, and 2. that NCLB has distorted the curriculum by leading schools to neglect science and social studies. Ballou finds the evidence in support of these claims is not nearly as strong as commonly believed, and that the lowest achievers have particularly benefited under NCLB.

Media Note: Vanderbilt has a 24/7 TV and radio studio with a dedicated fiber optic line and ISDN line. Use of the TV studio with Vanderbilt experts is free, except for reserving fiber time.