Improving K-12 Education

December 15, 2010

Two new centers become the hub of the K-12 Initiative

Launched in 2006, the Initiative to Improve K-12 Education has been key to expanding endowed faculty positions and graduate fellowships in the School of Education, spurring multidisciplinary research in educational issues and enhancing programs that allow Stanford to partner with schools and organizations serving youths.

Moving forward, the initiative’s emphasis will focus on two centers designed to support excellence in educational policy analysis and in teaching and leadership. Both have leveraged past initiative successes to attract support and design successful programs.

The Center for Education Policy Analysis

Susanna Loeb

Susanna Loeb heads the Center for Education Policy Analysis. (L.A. Cicero)

The interdisciplinary Center for Education Policy Analysis (CEPA), directed by Susanna Loeb, professor of education, applies scientific methods of analysis to discover what works in our nation’s schools and why. CEPA involves faculty from such disciplines as economics, law, political science, psychology, public policy, sociology and education.

CEPA improves the information education leaders draw upon when making decisions about schools and students. CEPA has developed relationships with education decision makers and responds rapidly to those leaders when needs arise. It maintains a data center to improve the efficiency and relevance of education research. It also runs the premier training program for education researchers and provides forums for the development of education scholars at Stanford.

CEPA has attracted more than $12 million in research grants, including $5 million from the U.S. Department of Education for doctoral education. It currently funds 19 doctoral fellows who apply research methodologies to educational challenges at the interface of policy and practice.

CEPA’s research affects education for the better. For instance, at the federal level, Sean Reardon, associate professor of education, advises the director of the Institute of Education Sciences. Eric Hanushek, the Paul and Jean Hanna Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, and Caroline Hoxby, the Scott and Donya Bommer Professor in the School of Humanities and Sciences, are members of the National Board for Education Sciences. Associate Professor Eric Bettinger’s research is informing the redesign and simplification of financial aid. At the state level, Loeb’s work has helped streamline school finance aid formulas and develop new pathways into teaching.

At the local level, CEPA is working with districts on issues of school choice, assessments, human resource policy and teacher evaluation. CEPA has developed relationships with school districts in San Francisco, Fresno, Los Angeles, Long Beach, Kansas City, Milwaukee, Miami-Dade County and New York City. The data from these districts creates a rich resource for studying the effects of educational policies.