Higher education and the new economy ronald w marx university of arizona january 2010
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Higher Education and the New Economy Ronald W. Marx University of Arizona January, 2010. We have failed to educate all Americans Enduring disparities between Rich and poor White and non-white. Black-White 4 th gr. reading achievement gap (NAEP, 2007).

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Higher education and the new economy ronald w marx university of arizona january 2010

Higher Education and the New EconomyRonald W. MarxUniversity of ArizonaJanuary, 2010


We have failed to educate all Americans

  • Enduring disparities between

    • Rich and poor

    • White and non-white


Black-White 4th gr. reading achievement gap (NAEP, 2007)



  • Data for 8th grade are nearly identical

  • NAEP (2007) claims a reduction in 4th grade reading achievement gap, but at the current rate of gap reduction we would achieve parity…..

  • For Black children in 2091!!!

  • For Hispanic children in 2397!!!

  • How about school completion?

    • Who completes high school?

    • Are there differences by ethnicity?




Who can help solve these problems?

  • America’s k-12 system is

    • Enormous—almost 15,000 school districts

    • Decentralized and loosely coupled

    • Highly politicized

  • State education systems are not much better off

    • Micromanagement by legislatures & electorates

    • Political conflicts between chiefs, governors, legislatures


  • What about higher education?

    • Lots of talent

    • Freedom and autonomy to determine agenda

    • Historic commitment to teaching and service

      ….but do we have the resources?

  • States are disinvesting in higher education

  • Policy makers view higher education as a private good, not a public good


State appropriations for higher education by $1000 of personal income (Archibald & Feldman, 2006)


How do Ed Schools fare on campus? personal income

  • UA as an example

  • State $ spent per

    • Major

    • Degree granted

    • Student FTE



  • The College of Education serves 5% of the students, awards 6% of the degrees, and spends 2.5% of the university’s state and tuition revenue.

  • …and our budget cut was 7%, which is in the highest group

  • In the current situation, it is not likely that education colleges will receive sufficient funds for our work to overcome the challenges P-12 education faces.


  • We don’t get much, but what about K-12? 6% of the degrees, and spends 2.5% of the university’s state and tuition revenue.

  • Government investment in K-12 is enormous

    • $536B in FY 2005

    • 83% state and local

    • 8% federal

    • 9% private (mostly private schools)

  • Cost per student is going up, but achievement is not


K-12 failures and challenges are our business. 6% of the degrees, and spends 2.5% of the university’s state and tuition revenue.

  • Our role is not simply to describe and critique. Our job is to help.

  • How do we do this?

  • My answer is neither complex nor new.


  • Enter into partnerships with the right constituents 6% of the degrees, and spends 2.5% of the university’s state and tuition revenue.

    • K-12 districts

    • Businesses

    • State agencies

    • Foundations and non-profits

    • Charter schools

    • Community colleges

    • Other universities


  • Benefits 6% of the degrees, and spends 2.5% of the university’s state and tuition revenue.

    • Provides leverage to fund programs

    • Provides political support from valuable groups

    • Increases chances that our work will be valuable and useful for practice

  • Costs

    • Risky, will it work?

    • Institutional barriers

      • Proper role for academics?

      • T & P, other rewards, sanctions

  • More than simply talk. Must integrate teaching, research, & service missions


How? 6% of the degrees, and spends 2.5% of the university’s state and tuition revenue.

  • Reconsider how we divide the world into our obligations

    • Design combined research service, teaching programs

  • Renew commitment to multiple research approaches

  • Reflect on our research metaphors

    • Medicine is the wrong metaphor

    • More like engineering, or even architecture.

    • These are design fields, and that is largely what we ought to be doing.


  • Education is normative. 6% of the degrees, and spends 2.5% of the university’s state and tuition revenue.

    • Goals are important

    • Means and ends must align

    • Description and explanation are important….but action is essential

  • Design-based research is an approach that can contribute to our need to engage in action.


Examples from My Work 6% of the degrees, and spends 2.5% of the university’s state and tuition revenue.

  • Center for Learning Technologies in Urban Schools

  • University of Arizona College of Education


What I Learned 6% of the degrees, and spends 2.5% of the university’s state and tuition revenue.

  • Framework for research on systemic technology innovations

    (Fishman et al,., 2004)

  • Innovations must be….

    • Usable-can be used to accomplish work

    • Scalable-spread to other teachers, schools, districts

    • Sustainable-take root in context beyond initial introduction


Applying these ideas to a college of education 6% of the degrees, and spends 2.5% of the university’s state and tuition revenue.

  • Creating the right context

  • Partnerships with P-20

  • Collaborative research

  • Engage in policy


Creating the Right Context 6% of the degrees, and spends 2.5% of the university’s state and tuition revenue.

  • Recruiting people

  • Creating culture

    • Norms

    • Activities

    • Clear communications

  • Leadership


Programs & Partnerships 6% of the degrees, and spends 2.5% of the university’s state and tuition revenue.

  • Pima Educational Research Collaborative

  • Cooper Center for Environmental Learning

  • Arizona Early Childhood Institute

  • Literacy for Life

  • Worlds of Words

  • Southern Arizona Science and Math Internship Center

  • Wildcat School

  • SOAR


Collaborative research 6% of the degrees, and spends 2.5% of the university’s state and tuition revenue.

  • Pima Educational Research Collaborative (PERC)

    • Funded through dean’s office, $40-50,000

    • 2:1 ratio, College of Education to district

    • Max $15,000 a year

    • Most projects are one year, some more

    • About 4 a year

    • Goal is to establish collegial partnerships that will move to additional work


A Case in Point 6% of the degrees, and spends 2.5% of the university’s state and tuition revenue.

  • K-12 science assessments for Tucson USD

  • 2 year project initially

  • Outcomes

    • Collaboration on Teach Arizona

    • Creation of the Cooper Center for Environmental Learning

      • TUSD manages physical plant

      • CoE manages program

      • Now a regional resource, not only one district


Literacy for Life 6% of the degrees, and spends 2.5% of the university’s state and tuition revenue.

  • Goal to develop a culture of literacy in Tucson region

  • Program elements

    • Awareness--communication

    • Advocacy—events, mobilize funding

    • Action—research & evaluation

      • COE faculty and grad students working to increase literacy in an extended neighborhood in Tucson south side


  • Partners 6% of the degrees, and spends 2.5% of the university’s state and tuition revenue.

    • University of Arizona

    • Pima Community College

    • Community Foundation for Southern Arizona

    • Many other community agencies

  • Funding

    • Community Foundation for Southern Arizona

    • Jewel Lewis Distinguished Professor


Worlds of Words 6% of the degrees, and spends 2.5% of the university’s state and tuition revenue.

  • Second largest collection of children’s & adolescents literature in the world

    • Brainchild of Kathy Short

    • Example of what talent at a research university can accomplish

  • Program elements

    • Collection

    • Instruction

    • Outreach

      • Conferences

      • Community time

      • School engagement


  • Funding 6% of the degrees, and spends 2.5% of the university’s state and tuition revenue.

    • Donors

    • Grants

    • Volunteers

  • Partners

    • Foundations

    • Districts

    • Community agencies


Southern Arizona Science & Math Internship Center 6% of the degrees, and spends 2.5% of the university’s state and tuition revenue.

  • Focus on early career middle & high school teachers (~25 annually)

    • Program elements

      • Industry internships at industry wages

      • Masters program-Colleges of Education & Science

      • Leverage summer work for classroom application


  • Funding 6% of the degrees, and spends 2.5% of the university’s state and tuition revenue.

    • Science Foundation Arizona

    • Industry

    • Sustainability through UA business model

  • Partners

    • State agency

    • School districts

    • Industry

      • Raytheon Missile Systems

      • Sebra, Inc

      • Southern Arizona Gas

      • Southern AZ Leadership Council--TVT


Wildcat School 6% of the degrees, and spends 2.5% of the university’s state and tuition revenue.

  • Charter middle school

  • Program elements

    • Math/science focus

    • Target poor, minority students

    • Substantial contributions from


  • Funding 6% of the degrees, and spends 2.5% of the university’s state and tuition revenue.

    • Major private donor

      • Bill Estes

    • Grass roots donors who have heard about project

    • State funding through charter school legislation

  • Partners

    • UA colleges

      • Education

      • Science

      • Agricultural

      • Fine Arts

      • Pharmacy

  • United Way

  • Business community


SOAR: Student Access, Outreach & Resiliency 6% of the degrees, and spends 2.5% of the university’s state and tuition revenue.

  • Developed & taught by higher education faculty

    • Jenny Lee

    • Regina Deil-Amen

  • Program elements

    • Service-learning course for students across campus

    • Mentoring middle school students

    • Stipends for successful completion of mentoring


  • Funding 6% of the degrees, and spends 2.5% of the university’s state and tuition revenue.

    • Private donor

    • Helios Education Foundation

    • Sustainability through UA general education funding

  • Partners

    • Districts,

    • Charter schools


Coda 6% of the degrees, and spends 2.5% of the university’s state and tuition revenue.

  • Our educational system is desperate

  • Our work must be used to help

  • Our financial base is weak

    • Cannot rely on university budgets

    • We must be masters of our fate

  • Requires us to think differently about our work

  • Take this opportunity to rethink what it means to be a faculty member in a College of Education


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