Dear Alumni and Friends:
At the Harvard Graduate School of Education, we believe that solutions to the pressing problems in education require collaborative work across sectors. A key part of our mission is to generate knowledge to improve student opportunity, achievement, and success. In this issue of Ed. magazine we feature two of the more recent additions to HGSE’s senior faculty who are collaborating across sectors in new and innovative ways: Professors Jack Shonkoff and Tom Kane.
Jack Shonkoff joined the faculty of the Harvard Graduate School of Education this year as part of a joint appointment with the Harvard School of Public Health. As the director of the new Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University, Jack seeks to close the gap between what we know and what we do in order to build a strong foundation during childhood for a lifetime of successful learning, physical and mental health, adaptive behavior, and community well-being in the United States and globally. Jack’s approach is to use science as a lever to develop new strategies to influence policy. In the article “Science Says,” Jack presents a compelling case for the importance of early childhood development based on what we know about the fields of neuroscience, developmental behavior research, and economics.
Tom Kane joined the Ed School faculty in 2005. Tom is the faculty director for a new HGSE initiative, the Project for Policy Innovation in Education. Tom seeks to use the recent and rapid accumulation of student achievement data to answer some of the most important policy questions facing educators. Through a series of research reports, Tom and his colleagues have shifted the public policy debate on teacher effectiveness from a focus on prequalifications, such as certification status, to a focus on teacher performance in the classroom and the awarding of tenure. You can read more about this research in the excellent article, “Up Front.”
These features represent but two examples of the way that the faculty at the Ed School is working at the nexus of practice, policy, and research. The rigorous and relevant work that the faculty conducts at this intersection attracts the interest of education stakeholders nationally and internationally. It is perhaps little wonder that both Jack Shonkoff and Tom Kane are frequently invited to brief high-level policymakers, advocacy groups, and the media on education issues. After reading about their thought-provoking work, I’m sure you’ll understand why.
Letters to the Editor