Message from the Dean

Penelope PetersonDear Friends,

As our children, youth and young adults head back to school, many of us "grown-ups" are preoccupied with prices at the gas pump, the housing slump, the economic downturn and what the candidates are saying about these issues. And in this election year, the candidates are talking a lot about the economy and a lot about our nation's financial, economic and energy resources for the future.

Yet one national resource remains strikingly absent from their rhetoric. Our children.

What about our children? What does the future hold for them? What about our children and youth who are growing up in poverty? What about our failing schools, particularly in urban and low-income areas? Will these schools continue to have lower quality teachers than their better-resourced suburban communities? What about race and the achievement gap between Black, Latino and white children in our country?

What are we going to do about these important issues? What do the candidates propose that we do? What will the candidates do if they get elected?

Because the candidates have been remarkably silent on questions regarding the future of children and education, we decided to begin a dialogue by asking our faculty and students to speak to the candidates about the issues regarding that future of children upon which policymakers should be focusing during the election and beyond. In our first feature article, Larry Hedges and David Figlio, both experts on the effects of No Child Left Behind, highlight the reform that should happen after the election. Next, Louis Gomez and Greg Duncan discuss research-based interventions to improve the lives of children growing up in poverty. Finally, Carol Lee, a national leader in African-centered education, calls attention to the need for conversations about race.

In this issue of Inquiry, we are delighted to share these thoughts with you. Best wishes for a wonderful school year!

Sincerely yours,

Penelope Peterson
Penelope L. Peterson, Dean

By Penelope Peterson