You for Youth (2010). Right time, right place: Building an online learning community for afterschool practitioners. Afterschool Matters 10, 8–14.
You for Youth (www.Y4Y.ed.gov) is a learning community and website started in 2008 for the grantees of the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC), a U.S. Department of Education program that began in 1998 to support out-of-school time programs. The Y4Y project team describes how this project started as a response to the need for low-cost professional development in a wide range of skills, including conflict management, student engagement, and building relationships with the community. Inputs from practitioners, policymakers, evaluators, and other stakeholders were used in this project.
Roschelle, J., Bakia, M., Toyama, Y, & Patton, C. (2011). Eight issues for learning scientists about education and the economy. Journal of the Learning Sciences, 20(1), 3–49.
The authors of this paper examine a common rhetorical claim that improved STEM education is critical to the economic future of the United States. The first part of the paper points out certain weaknesses in this argument. The second part considers how learning research might be directed to test connections between STEM education and the economy, including with respect to workforce pipeline issues and programs. This paper is addressed to researchers in the learning sciences, but its arguments may also be of interest to educators leading workforce development programs.
Hall, G. & Gannett, E. (2010). Body and soul: Reflections on two professional development credential pilots in Massachusetts. Afterschool Matters, 10, 15-23.
The authors of this paper conducted an evaluation of two pilot credential programs both starting in Massachusetts in 2007, the School-Age Youth Development Credential (SAYD) and the Professional Youth Worker Credential (PYWC). Their reflections on the need for professional development for out-of-school time (OST) staff and youth workers show that the field of youth development at present is at crossroads. Based on the evaluation of these two pilot programs, the researchers advocate the establishment of a nationally recognized credential to professionalize the youth development field. The need to recognize the professional status of practitioners indicates that OST programs are valuable for stakeholders. Furthermore, if OST practitioners are to have credentials, how would this affect ISE practitioners running related programs in museums, science centers, and other educational institutions? This paper introduces ISE practitioners to the leading organizations in the OST field.
Nelson, S. R., Leffler, J. C., & Hansen, B. A. (2009). Toward a research agenda for understanding and improving the use of research evidence. Portland, OR: Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory.
This brief is from the report’s Executive Summary: Many researchers and research funders want their work to be influential in educational policy and practice, but there is little systematic understanding of how policymakers and practitioners use research evidence, much less how they acquire or interpret it. By understanding what does shape policymakers’ and practitioners’ decision making and the role of research evidence in those decisions, the research community may be able to improve the likelihood that their work will be used to directly inform policy and practice.
Condron, D. J. (2011). Egalitarianism and educational excellence: Compatible goals for affluent societies? Educational Researcher, 40(2), 47–55.
Cross-country student achievement data rank the United States near the bottom when comparing affluent nations. This international ranking is often cited as cause for school reforms. The author of this paper examines PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment) mathematics data to explore the relationship between widening economic inequalities in the United States and its international performance on standardized tests. The author suggests that structural economic inequalities may have a larger influence than schools on student performance.