Media Mentions from across the School of Education

Media Mentions

Faculty and staff from across UW–Madison’s School of Education are routinely quoted or make their voices heard in newspapers, magazines, and online news media outlets. Similarly, these experts are often interviewed and showcased on a range of local, national, and international radio and television news reports. Over the past year, there have been more than 100 School of Education-related media mentions. For the latest examples, visit:

Moeller’s ‘ghost statistic’ essay published by The New Yorker

An essay from Kathryn Moeller that examines one of the most powerful statistics on girls and women in the world — and how it creates racialized stories and distorted development interventions — was published by The New Yorker in January.

Kathryn Moeller
Moeller is an assistant professor with the Department of Educational Policy Studies and the author of the 2018 book “The Gender Effect: Capitalism, Feminism, and the Corporate Politics of Development.”

In the essay headlined “The Ghost Statistic that Haunts Women’s Empowerment,” Moeller explains she had heard and read repeatedly how the world would look different with greater investments in girls and women. These arguments utilized an often-cited statistic that women spend 90 percent of their income on their children; with men spending only 30 to 40 percent.

Moeller writes: “Over the years, I came across this statistic, again and again, on the websites and in the policy documents of the most powerful global development organizations, including the World Bank and United Nations agencies. It is often cited as the key piece of evidence that investing in poor girls and women in Asia, Africa, and Latin America creates a high rate of return. They will supposedly marry later and delay childbearing, and, in doing so, generate economic development, limit population growth, educate their children, improve children’s and women’s health, conserve environmental resources, and control the spread of HIV.”

One problem: Moeller explains how she never was able to locate the source of this “ghost statistic.”

Yet, as Moeller writes: “Even when quantitative data are valid, they often produce very limited understandings of the complex realities of girls and women’s lives and the conditions that produce poverty and inequality. ... Development policies need to address the underlying conditions that produce poverty and inequality. These include unfair global trade policies, insufficient labor and environmental regulations, and systems of corporate taxation that leave poor countries without the resources necessary to invest in agriculture, education, health, and infrastructure.”

Darke featured on PBS’ ‘Craft in America’

Work of Chloe DarkeChloe Darke, who earned her master of fine arts degree from UW–Madison in May, was featured earlier this year on the PBS series “Craft in America.”

The craft of silversmithing existed in New England even before America’s most patriotic silversmith, Paul Revere, made his famous ride. Old Newbury Crafters in Amesbury, Massachusetts, the program explains, was one of the best at the time.

Fourteen generations later, it is now in the capable hands of Darke, a metal artist who is fascinated by the traditional ways of making things.

“Craft in America” reports how she “leads the company in hand- forging extraordinary objects and declares ‘there’s a rebirth of craft for people in my generation who are interested in traditional ways of making things.’ ”

NBC spotlights CCBC’s research on diversity in children’s books in March utilized research con- ducted by the Cooperative Children’s Book Center (CCBC) to showcase the dearth of diversity in children’s books.

The CCBC, a library housed within the School of Education, publishes an annual report tracking the number of children’s books by and about people of color, and from First/Native Nations.

NBC News reports: “A 2018 survey by the Cooperative Children’s Book Center at the University of Wisconsin–Madison found that out of the 3,703 children’s books they received, 778 were written by people of color and 1,014 were about people of color. Kathleen T. Horning, director of the center, has been tracking these statistics since 1985 and said that in the last two years, there have been ‘small, but steady gains’ — about 5 percent — in both African-American and Latino books. There has been a small decrease in books by and about Native Americans.”

“This year for the first time, we are seeing an increase in the number of books about African-Americans and Latinos that are actually being created by authors and illustrators from those two groups,” Horning tells NBC News. “Publishers are clearly responding to the public demand for more diversity in books for children and teens.”

Education Week showcases Halverson’s
personalized learning expertise

Education Week’s “Digital Education” blog in April connected with Richard Halverson to examine his work in the realm of personalized learning.

Rich HalversonThe report focused on five questions K-12 leaders should be asking when it comes to personalized learning. Halverson, the School of Education’s associate dean for innovation, outreach, and partnerships, has spent the last few years observing personal learning in action at public schools.

The first question addresses the tricky balance of learner outcomes and learner interests, with Halverson noting that recent policy puts pressure on learner outcomes — but there also needs to be a larger focus on how to get students more interested in their own learning.

Halverson then tells Education Week it’s important to ask who is creating the learning pathways that students are expected to follow. Some schools focus on standards-based performance, and others focus on what students care about. Halverson tells Education Week that there are tradeoffs with both approaches, leading schools to test hybrid models.

The third component is building relationships that support students in following a given learning pathway. Halverson says interpersonal contact between students and teachers is at the heart of learning-science-inspired personalized learning.

Halverson, who is also a professor with the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis, and the director of the Wisconsin Collaborative Education Research Network (The Net- work), adds it’s also important to examine to what extent is the learning being grounded in real-world activities. And the fifth question centers on how to put different technologies together to meet these needs and achieve the goals. Until student-relations management systems are better developed, he notes “it’s going to be a messy, ad-hoc process.”

“All students live in families, cultures, communities. Anchoring learning in those resources that young people bring to school makes the learning come alive.”

Swiss Public Radio’s ‘Tout un Monde’ interviews Rudolph

John Rudolph was interviewed Jan. 4 for a segment on Swiss Public Radio’s “Tout un Monde” program to talk about historical trends in education in the United States.

Rudolph, who is chair of the School of Education’s Department of Curriculum and Instruction, discussed the changing pedagogical trends in American schools as they transitioned from rote learning in the 19th century to more progressive practices in the early 20th century.

He also talked about some of the differences between public education in Europe and the United States, noting that education in Europe tends to be more highly centralized, often directed from a central Ministry of Education. He explained that in the U.S., education is more decentralized, controlled by individual states and local school boards, each of which has its own authority to make decisions about curriculum, teaching, and so on.

“Tout un Monde” is a French-language program that is broadcast by Swiss Public Radio each morning.

ScienceNews examines robots and reading research

Minnie the reading robotIn February, ScienceNews posted a report headlined: “Robots are becoming class- room tutors. But will they make the grade?”

The report makes note of innovative work being conducted by UW–Madison’s Joseph Michaelis, who earned his Ph.D. from the Department of Educational Psychology in May.

ScienceNews shares recent developments in educational robots, explaining that children will chat with, listen to, and otherwise treat robots as social beings. Although these robots aren’t intended to replace human teachers, these educational robots are potentially able to provide students with one-on- one attention that could help students with special needs or different learning capabilities.

While these robots are already becoming popular in China and Japan, the U.S. is still in the experimental phase, with researchers developing and testing educational robots.

As one example, ScienceNews describes Minnie, a robot designed by Michaelis and UW–Madison associate professor and roboticist Bilge Mutlu. Minnie is designed to make schoolwork fun and support children’s reading. Minnie comments on a book as the child reads aloud, shows emotional responses to stories, and sum- marizes plot points to support reading comprehension.

ScienceNews reports how the team randomly assigned 24 students ages 10 to 12 to either two weeks of reading aloud by themselves or with Minnie. Based on the students’ reviews of the activity, they concluded that the students working with Minnie were more motivated to read than those who weren’t.


In other reports

• In January, Kappan magazine looked back at its most popular stories — as determined by readers — for the previous year. And checking in at No. 2 is a Feb. 26, 2018, Under the Law column from Julie Underwood titled “School uniforms, dress codes, and free expression: What’s the balance?” Underwood is the School of Education’s Susan Engeleiter Professor of Education Law, Policy and Practice.

• In January, the Baraboo News Republic reported: “Researchers at the University of Wisconsin—Madison are looking to school districts such as Baraboo for insight into what it’s like to teach in rural areas and how to better connect university graduates to those schools.” The article explains how the Wisconsin Center for Education Research (WCER) started a “Teacher Speakout!” program in 2016 to better connect rural educators and university researchers.

Doctor Dyslexia Dude• celebrated a graphic novel — “Doctor Dyslexia Dude!” — co-authored by Shawn Anthony Robinson, a senior research associate with Wisconsin’s Equity and Inclusion Laboratory. The hero in this work is a black male with dyslexia. Robinson’s research has a particular emphasis on African American males and individuals with dyslexia, which stems from his lived experience as a black male with dyslexia.

• compiled “2018’s top art stories” list in late December, and one of those reports showcases the work of Faisal Abdu’Allah, an associate professor with the Art Department. Artimage interviewed Abdu’Allah in February 2018 to ask him about his exhibition “The Duppy Conqueror & Other Works.” Abdu’Allah tells Artimage that the art showcases his alter ego named the Duppy Conqueror, who is a spirit that highlights social inequities.

• In February, School of Education Dean Diana Hess spoke with Wisconsin Public Radio for a report examining the challenges that prevent some from entering the field of teaching — and that keep others from staying. 

• Runner’s World Magazine featured the expertise of Jill Barnes in separate reports in January and February. Barnes, an assistant professor with the School of Education’s Department of Kinesiology, researches the regulation of blood flow and blood pressure in humans, and how this changes with aging and exercise. She has published more than 50 peer- reviewed articles on these topics and oversees the Barnes Lab. 

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