US Department of Education director to discuss research on academic achievement

John Q. Easton from the U.S. Department of Education will discuss his most recent book entitled “Organizing Schools for Improvement: Lessons From Chicago” in two lectures at the University on Wednesday and Thursday.

“Organizing Schools for Improvement” takes an in depth look at Chicago’s 20-year experiment in public school decentralization. Easton evaluates 100 elementary schools that improved and 100 that did not. He also was the co-author of “Charting Chicago School Reform: Democratic Localism as a Lever for Change.”

As the director of the Institute of Education Sciences, Easton’s works consist of educational research and evaluation. He works for a group that also funds studies on improving academic achievement. In 2009, President Barack Obama nominated Easton for this directorship.

Before Easton became a director, he was a founding member and executive director of the University of Chicago’s Consortium on Chicago School Research. There he conducted research into trends in achievement test scores and used test scores to keep schools accountable. He even co-wrote a study on the correlation between freshmen-year academic performance and high school graduation.

Easton was also the director of research for the Chicago Panel on School Policy in the late 80s and early to mid 90s. In this initiative he led a study of the effects that decentralization had on Chicago public schools (CPS). Later he was the director for the CPS’ department of research, analysis and assessment.

Easton has served on the National Assessment Governing Board, which sets the policies of the Nation’s Report Card.

The following is Easton’s schedule.

*Wednesday, October 5:* “Conducting research to improve practice and policy in education”

1:30 – 2:15 p.m. (30 minute Q & A to follow)

2 Education Building

*Thursday, October 6:* “Organizing schools for improvement”

12:00 – 1:00 p.m. (25 minute Q & A to follow)

22 Education Building