This issue of Theory to Practice is indicative of the path our College of Education has been pursuing over the last five years. That is, what role does research play in the ways our children are educated? And, how do advocacy and political considerations contrive to sometimes undermine what the best data tell us we should be doing in our schools?
Our lead article, “The Reverse Gender Gap,” provides a long-overdue discussion of the underperformance of boys in our schools and the role that gender advocacy may play in pathologizing the behavior of our male students. While controversial in that this topic is most often neglected in favor of the persistent emphasis on the areas where females continue to lag behind males in adult achievement, any objective analysis of the performance of boys in schools strongly suggests that it is past time we begin to provide for their welfare in a more aggressive manner.
In “The Challenge of School Reform: Finding Common Ground” we provide an overview of some of the research our faculty have been doing to determine the most important factors influencing student success.
Although variables such as class size, teacher pay, and high stakes testing have dominated the debate for a number of years, the work of Professors Wiseman, Drescher, and others points conclusively to teachers and school principals as most the critical elements. The adoption of this work and other research by policymakers will make it possible to move beyond the political posturing that often determines what practices are implemented in schools.
In addition, we have included a compelling and timely interview of Peter Langman on the psychological profile of school shooters and what schools can do to identify troubled children and prevent incidents of violence.
Rounding out the issue are articles that address the role of colleges in the organic gardening movement, dual language learners, sex trafficking, and issues regarding the privatization of schools. We are especially proud of this issue and of the work we are doing to provide leadership to schools and policymakers.
Please enjoy this issue of Theory to Practice.
Gary. M. Sasso
Dean, College of Education