Diane Ravitch is Research Professor of Education at New York University and a historian of education. In addition, she is a nonresident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C.
She shares a blog called Building Differences with Deborah Meier, hosted by Education Week. She also blogs for Politico.com/arena and the Huffington Post. Her articles have appeared in many newspapers and magazines.
From 1991 to 1993, she was Assistant Secretary of Education and Counselor to Secretary of Education Lamar Alexander in the administration of President George H.W. Bush. She was responsible for the Office of Educational Research and Improvement in the U.S. Department of Education. As Assistant Secretary, she led the federal effort to promote the creation of voluntary state and national academic standards.
From 1997 to 2004, she was a member of the National Assessment Governing Board, which oversees the National Assessment of Educational Progress, the federal testing program. She was appointed by the Clinton administration’s Secretary of Education Richard Riley in 1997 and reappointed by him in 2001. She is the author of several books including her most recent,The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education (2010).
In 2004, Diane received the Leadership Award of the New York City Council of Supervisors and Administrators. In 2005, she received the John Dewey award from the United Federation of Teachers of New York City; the Gaudium Award of the Breukelein Institute; and the Uncommon Book Award from the Hoover Institution. In 2006, the Kenneth J. Bialkin/Citigroup Public Service Award was conferred on her.
In 2010, the National Education Association selected her as its “Friend of Education” for the year.
A native of Houston, she is a graduate of the Houston public schools. She received a B.A. from Wellesley College in 1960 and a Ph.D. in history from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences in 1975.
Dennis Shirley is Professor at the Lynch School of Education at Boston College in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts. His work in education spans from the micro-level of assisting beginning teachers to the macro-level of designing and guiding large-scale research and intervention projects for school districts, states, and non-profit agencies. Dr. Shirley recently collaborated with Andy Hargreaves on a study of the Specialist Schools and Academies Trust Raising Achievement Transforming Learning Project, which raised pupil learning results in over 200 schools in England at double the national rate in a 2-year period. The findings of that research have been presented in Hargreaves' and Shirley's first collaboratively authored book, The Fourth Way: The Inspiring Future for Educational Change.
For 6 years, Dr. Shirley has led a teacher inquiry project along with Boston Public Schools teacher-leader Elizabeth MacDonald; their research has been published in The Mindful Teacher. Dr. Shirley serves on the Scholars Forum of the Public Education Network, advises the One Square Kilometer of Education school improvement project of the Freudenberg Foundation in Berlin, and collaborates with the California Teachers Association on improving over 500 schools in struggling circumstances. He has led three school improvement efforts with more than 13 million dollars in funding, and his research has been translated into German, Swedish, Spanish, and French. He holds a doctorate from Harvard University.
“What we need is more people who specialize in the impossible.” Theodore Roethke
Tom Wujec is a Fellow at Autodesk, the world's leader in 2D & 3D design technology. As a recognized thought-leader and award-winning innovator, Tom works with the Fortune 500 to foster innovation practices at all stages, from strategic and business planning to the design and implementation of digital design tools. Common to each practice is the application of making work visible, and transforming ideas into images that enhance clarity, engagement and persistent intelligent action.
Tom has brought several software applications to market including Autodesk SketchBook Pro, PortfolioWall, and is a pioneer of business visualization, the emerging practice of using images, sketches and data-driven infographics to help teams make better sense of their work.
Tom is also the author of three books on creative thinking and is a highly sought after international speaker who shares fundamental principles in innovation talks, workshops and knowledge maps. Tom has worked as a creative director, writer and animator, has designed dozens of museum exhibits, and was part of a team that won an Academy Award for its software contribution to the film industry.
Diane Farmer is Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology and Equity Studies in Education at OISE/UT. She specializes in sociology of education and Francophone minority studies in Canada. Her research program currently focuses on mobility and immigration within school contexts and on socialization, particularly in relation to the production of inequalities. She is interested in social representations and, more specifically, in youths’ reflective experience of education, and their own individuality. Her earlier work looked at the collective movement of franco-ontarian arts and cultural centers as a unique response from the community to minority treatment in Ontario. During the 1990s, she followed the evolution of Ontario’s linguistic policies, namely in the area of health services, employment equity and education.
Research Interests: Sociology of education; Francophone minority language education; sociology of childhood and youth; youth experience of mobility and transnational migrations; school ethnographies; inequities in education; Francophone immigration; school-family relations.
Carl James is Professor in the Faculty of Education at York University, cross-appointed in the graduate programs in Sociology and Social Work. Over the years, he has conducted research and published about the experiences of Black youth and education, and in more recent years about their experiences in postsecondary institutions. His history of innovative professional development with educators and social service workers draws on his theoretical work with issues of identity, diversity, and race relations and involves practitioner level dissemination of research results. His attention to the experiences of racialized minorities in higher education is evident in long term mentoring of postsecondary students as well as institutional involvement in program and curriculum change. He has extensive experience with critical ethnography, phenomenology, action research and government and institutional policy analysis.
In 2006, James was one of six individuals recognized at the 14th Annual New Pioneers Awards for their outstanding achievements and contributions to Canadian society. James received the New Pioneers Community Service Award sponsored by Manulife Financial. Established in 1993, the New Pioneers Awards celebrate diversity and illustrate the benefits of multiculturalism by showcasing the achievements of immigrants and refugees. James has also received an honorary doctorate from Uppsala University in Sweden, recognizing his work in Toronto's ethnically and racially diverse communities and for his role, nationally and internationally, in research around equity as related to race, class, gender and citizenship.
Kate Tilleczek is the Canada Research Chair in Child/Youth Cultures and Transitions, an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Education and Sociology at the University of Prince Edward Island, and a Research Scientist at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto. She is a former school teacher and has been studying and teaching the social and cultural realities and experiences of childhood and youth for nearly 20 years. This program of research demonstrates a commitment to work with and for children and young people across many cultures and contexts.
Dr. Tilleczek’s research has practical applications for both education and health. She is particularly interested in issues of marginality. She is currently conducting a SSHRC funded project on innovations in research processes with and for children and youth and will be a visiting scholar in Australia in 2011 in this regard.
Kate’s work has applications for the nexus of education and health and employs a range of methodologies. For example, she has produced a documentary film relating the children's mental health, and a series of "post-card testimonials" as emerging from the daily experiences of marginalized youth in schools. Dr. Tilleczek is currently leading a three year ethnographic study of elementary and secondary schools, the transitions between them, and the developmental health of young people in Ontario. Dr. Tilleczek has also collaborated with colleagues at The Hospital for Sick Children on a multi-method, large scale study of secondary schools and early school leavers in Ontario. She is currently engaged in collaborative work relating to the mental health of young people and youth pathways to literacy, education and work.
Annie Kidder, Moderator
Annie Kidder is the Executive Director and founder of People for Education, an organization dedicated to the idea of a publicly-funded system that guarantees every student access to the education that meets his or her needs. People for Education promotes greater civic engagement in the public education system, conducts research into the effects of policy and funding changes on schools, coordinates a comprehensive communications strategy focused on education issue and brings an independent voice to government policy tables. Kidder is the recipient of the Canadian Teachers’ Federation Public Education Advocacy Award. She has spoken at conferences across the country and is regularly quoted in the media as an expert on education issues. She lives in Toronto.
Penny Milton is the former CEO of the Canadian Education Association. She brings a wealth of experience from the private, public, and not-for-profit sectors. Penny is currently a member of the Minister's Curriculum Council and was a founding Director of ArtsSmarts/GénieArts.