by Max Brantley
The Walton University School of Education Reform has hired what sounds like an anti-teachers-union expert and a pro-voucher expert. What a surprise. The news release, which somehow omits the source of the $10 million supporting grant but which we are willing to bet is the Walton Foundation, of which the university is a wholly owned subsidiary, is on the jump.
This, remember, is the outfit that is going to give an unbiased reading of the Walton-financed screw-the-union test in the Little Rock School District. Citizens of Arkansas, your university has been sold to the lucky sperm club of a discount store chain. And, given their wealth and the size of the university, it was sold for a pittance.But that is the Wal-Mart way. They buy low and always score big profits.
UNIVERSITY OF ARKANSAS NEWS RELEASE
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. - The department of education reform at the University of Arkansas announces the appointments of Patrick Wolf to an endowed chair in school choice and Robert Costrell to an endowed chair in accountability.
The department was established on July 1, 2005, through a $10 million private gift and an additional $10 million from the university's Matching Gift Program. With these resources, the department has six endowed chairs including the department head, 10 doctoral fellowships and funds for research and projects. The department's mission is to advance education and economic development in Arkansas and nationwide by focusing on improvement of K-12 schools.
"Faculty members in this new, research-intensive department are committed to helping strengthen the public education system," said Reed Greenwood, dean of the College of Education and Health Professions. "Their research will help the college understand how well we are doing and what we can do to help improve education."
The five endowed chairs correspond to educational issues Greenwood deemed of vital importance locally, nationally and internationally - teacher quality, leadership, policy, accountability and choice. The teacher quality and leadership chairs have not yet been filled.
"Bob Costrell and Pat Wolf greatly strengthen the department of education reform," said Jay Greene, head of the department. "Bob brings considerable practical experience from his work advising Gov. Mitt Romney in Massachusetts, and Pat brings a high-profile evaluation of school choice programs in Milwaukee and Washington, D.C. Work by these pre-eminent scholars will contribute to quality education in Arkansas and nationwide."
Before joining the department, Wolf was a professor at Georgetown University, where his work focused on education policy. Over the past decade, he has authored, co-authored or co-edited more than two dozen scholarly publications on education policy, public management and campaign finance. His most recent book is Educating Citizens: International Perspectives on Civic Values and School Choice (Brookings, 2004), which he co-edited.
Wolf was selected by the U.S. Department of Education to lead the evaluation of the District of Columbia K-12 Scholarship Program, a federally funded pilot program to provide tuition vouchers to low-income D.C. students to attend private schools.
Wolf and his research team also are evaluating the Milwaukee school system's voucher program. It has been in place for 15 years, making it the oldest such program in the nation.
Wolf taught public management at Columbia University prior to joining the Georgetown faculty. He completed his undergraduate degree at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minn., and he earned master's and doctoral degrees from Harvard University.
Costrell was a professor of economics at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst since 1978 and, since 1999, held a series of major policy positions for the commonwealth of Massachusetts. He has published widely on standards-based education reform and school finance in scholarly economics journals and policy journals for the general public.
During his term of public service as chief economist for the commonwealth and director of policy research and development, he worked on issues of state and local revenues, public sector unionism and pension funding, as well as education policy issues such as high-stakes testing. Most recently, as education adviser to Gov. Mitt Romney, he helped develop the governor's comprehensive education reform proposal of 2005. He led administration initiatives that revamped both the state's district and charter school funding formulas. Costrell provided extensive expert testimony in Massachusetts' 2003 school finance case and has contributed to the national literature on school finance litigation.
He received his bachelor's degree from the University of Michigan in 1972 and his doctoral degree from Harvard in 1978.