Deborah Loewenberg Ball assumes presidency of AERA

On May 1, 2017, at the conclusion of the American Educational Research Association’s Annual Meeting, Deborah Loewenberg Ball assumed her role as president of AERA. She succeeds Vivian L. Gadsden, William T. Carter Professor of Child Development and Education at the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education.

“I am honored to serve as president of AERA,” Ball said. “I am excited for the year ahead and look forward to the 2018 annual meeting at which we will consider the struggles over and the promises of public education. We will work to combine critical examination with positive action and hope, as we leverage the work of scholars in our field to realize the crucial role that public education can play in creating a just world. Working with my program chairs Carla O’Connor and Suzanne Wilson, I look forward to building on the work that Vivian Gadsden did in her term as president, as well as on that of others who have served in this position before us.”

The 2018 AERA Annual Meeting with be held from Friday, April 13, to Tuesday, April 17, 2018, in New York City and will focus on the theme, “The Dreams, Possibilities, and Necessity of Public Education.”  

Deborah Loewenberg Ball included on 2017 RHSU Edu-Scholar Public Influence Rankings list

On January 11, 2017, Education Week released the 2017 Rick Hess Straight Up Edu-Scholar Public Influence Rankings. Deborah Ball was again included on the list of 200 university-based scholars in the U.S. who are doing the most to influence educational policy and practice.

The list is intended to reflect both a scholar's larger body of work and her impact on the public discourse last year. The purpose of the list is to recognize scholarship that impacts the real world and encourage universities to invest in this meaningful work. More information about the rankings and the full list of included scholars are available here.

Deborah Loewenberg Ball part of National Science Board delegation to Antarctica

From November 28 to December 2, 2016, Deborah Ball participated in a site visit to the United States Antarctic Program as a member of the National Science Board (NSB). While in Antarctica, Deborah, along with a small number of NSB members and government officials, toured the facilities, reviewed the research, and met with scientists and support staff at McMurdo Station and Admunsen-Scott South Pole Station; saw the facility where NASA's Long Duration Balloons are assembled and flown; visited Point Royds, site of a large penguin rookery and Sir Shackleton’s hut; travelled aboard ski-equipped LC-130 aircraft flown by the 109th Airlift Wing; and met with graduate students.

Additional photos of the delegation and trip are available on the National Science Foundation’s Office of Polar Programs Facebook page.

Deborah Loewenberg Ball delivers plenary address at ICME 13

Deborah Loewenberg Ball delivered one of the plenary addresses at the 13th International Congress on Mathematical Education in Hamburg, Germany on Saturday, July 30. Her talk, "Uncovering the Special Mathematical Work of Teaching," focused on the specialized set of instructional practices that are core to helping young people develop mathematical skills, ways of thinking, and identities, and supporting classrooms as equitable communities of practice. Slides from her address are available here and a video is available here.

Deborah Loewenberg Ball delivers keynote address at Notre Dame ACE commencement

Deborah Loewenberg Ball served as the keynote speaker at the 2016 Commencement Ceremony of the University of Notre Dame’s Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE) on Saturday, July 9.

“Deborah Ball is a one of those transformative educational leaders that comes along only once in a generation,” said Rev. Timothy R. Scully, C.S.C., co-founder of ACE and the Hackett Family Director of Notre Dame’s Institute for Educational Initiatives. “Throughout her prodigious career, she has formed and inspired countless teachers, school leaders and research scholars dedicated to improving educational quality at every level. Her life’s vocation serves as a powerful witness for the ACE community.”

Read more about the event here.

Deborah Loewenberg Ball interviewed on Michigan Radio’s Stateside program

Deborah Loewenberg Ball was recently interviewed by Cynthia Canty, host of Michigan Radio’s Stateside program, about the problems facing would-be teachers who are struggling with teacher certification tests.

“We’re creating a false threshold or barrier to get people into teaching,” Ball said. “If we test on things that are not the important kind of skills and knowledge they need, then we’re going to artificially exclude people from the profession at a time when we most need really skilled teachers.”

Ball emphasized assessing the wrong skills is one of the fundamental flaws of teacher certification tests in Michigan. “We don’t actually have a test that looks at whether they can explain content to children, whether they can manage a classroom, whether they can talk sensibly to parents, and that is the direction of the profession, assessing people on the actual skills they need to be good beginning teachers.”

Listen to the full interview here.

Deborah Loewenberg Ball interviewed by the Detroit Free Press

Deborah Loewenberg Ball recently sat down for an interview with Detroit Free Press reporter David Jesse to talk about, among other things, her time as dean of the School of Education and how teacher preparation has evolved in those 11 years.

“We do have the expertise to do research on what makes a good teacher and how we can better train them," Ball told the Free Press. "We study and improve education practice. By education practice, we mean the doing of education. We want to be an incubator of new methods, to really look at what works in teaching."

Read the full article here.

Deborah Loewenberg Ball delivers Penn Graduate School of Education commencement address

Deborah Loewenberg Ball delivered the address at the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 14. Ball urged the nearly 600 graduating Penn students to stand up for the power of teaching and seek to advance education and social justice throughout their careers. In her remarks, she compelled the graduates to “speak up about the power that good teaching has. Explain that it has to be learned, that it is not a natural talent. Promote its development. Stand up against interventions that take skillful teaching for granted, or overlook what it really takes to learn to do it.” She concluded her remarks by asserting that “the evidence is clear. The order for social justice in this country is long, tall, and overdue. Just remember that, among the resources for that societal change, is the power of teaching.”

Deborah Loewenberg Ball voted president-elect of AERA

Deborah Loewenberg Ball has been voted president-elect of the American Educational Research Association (AERA). Her term as president begins on May 1, 2017, at the conclusion of AERA’s 2017 Annual Meeting.

She will succeed Vivian L. Gadsden, William T. Carter Professor of Child Development and Education at the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education. Gadsden will assume the AERA presidency on April 12, 2016, after the close of the association’s 2016 Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C.

“I am honored to have been elected as president-elect of AERA,” Ball said. “The organization has an important role to play in advancing systematic efforts to study and improve education. I will be working with many others to determine the most useful steps we might take together in the coming few years. I look forward to building on the work that Vivian Gadsden will do in her term as president, as well as on that of others who have served in this position before us.”

Deborah Loewenberg Ball named to Commission on the Future of Undergraduate Education

Deborah Loewenberg Ball has been named to a new commission announced by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences to “examine the vast—and expanding—array of learning options available to high-school graduates, including both students newly out of high school and older adults returning to school to further their lives and careers.” The aim of the Commission on the Future of Undergraduate Education is to study how well current students are served by today’s education system, as well as to identify challenges and opportunities that will be encountered by higher education in coming decades.

The Academy received $2.2 million from the Carnegie Corporation of New York to fund the three-year initiative. Spencer Foundation President Michael S. McPherson and TIAA-CREF President and CEO Roger W. Ferguson, Jr. will co-chair the commission. “The critical issues in this area—cost, financing models, accessibility, dramatic changes in learning patterns and in technological possibilities—require our attention and close scrutiny, on behalf of all Americans,” McPherson said.

Deborah Loewenberg Ball cited in article for teacher evaluation expertise

Deborah Loewenberg Ball’s contribution to the statewide teacher evaluation discussion was mentioned in a Detroit Free Press guest column written by Amber Arellano, the executive director of Education Trust – Midwest. The column offered suggestions on how to improve education in Michigan.

The author wrote that “the Legislature’s approval of Michigan’s first statewide educator evaluation and support system, which was designed in large part by Deborah Ball, a nationally respected dean at the University of Michigan’s School of Education” will play a role in improving Michigan’s public education system.

Read the full article here.

Teacher education at SOE featured on KQED’s Mind/Shift

A feature story posted on KQED’s Mind/Shift, a website for “educators, tinkerers, policy makers, and lifelong learners,” is an in-depth look at the U-M School of Education's teacher education programs. The story begins with Deborah Loewenberg Ball, who explains, “Teaching is complex work that people actually have to be taught to do,” and goes on to elaborate on how SOE accomplishes it, through innovations in high-leverage teaching practices, development of student teaching interns, skill-building, and student teaching. In addition to Ball, several SOE educators are noted and quoted in the piece, including Tim Boerst, chair of Elementary Teacher Education; Professor Betsy Davis; and Elizabeth Moje, associate dean for research and community engagement.

Access the story, “What Core Skills Do Teachers Need to be Effective? here.

MCEE chaired by Deborah Loewenberg Ball cited in Detroit News “Labor Voices” column

In a column written by Michigan Education Association President Steven Cook appearing in The Detroit News’ “Labor Voices,” Cook cites the work of the Michigan Council for Educator Effectiveness (MCEE), which was chaired by Deborah Loewenberg Ball. Cook writes, “Although the legislation passed by the House and Senate does not contain all of the council’s recommendations, it represents a vast improvement over the present evaluation process. It is important to note that in creating the Ball Commission and using its report as a guide to reform, the Legislature acknowledged that experts in the field are invaluable in guiding education reform forward. That too is a change for the better.” Read the column here.

Deborah Loewenberg Ball one of NPR’s “50 Great Teachers”

Deborah Loewenberg Ball is featured on National Public Radio’s series on 50 Great Teachers. In a wide-ranging feature, Ball talks about educating educators: "I'm really trying hard to dispel this idea that teaching is this thing you're born to do and it's somehow natural to everyday life. I don't think either of those things is true. Nobody goes out in a pilot school and is told: 'Go out in the plane today! Try it out. See how it works.’"

The feature also mentions TeachingWorks, and especially the Elementary Mathematics Laboratory (EML). The NPR story illustrates the approach in EML with an actual fractions problem taught in the laboratory.

The feature concludes with a summarization of Ball’s approach to education: “What Ball is trying to model at U-M is a system where future teachers have to demonstrate they can do some core things–like present a math problem, and lead a discussion about it–before they're safe to practice.”

Listen to “Teaching Teachers to Teach: It’s Not So Elementary” (or read the transcript) here.

Deborah Loewenberg Ball quoted in story on teacher prep

A story in the Deseret (Utah) News, “Teaching the teachers: Do we know how to create real professionals?” quotes Deborah Loewenberg Ball. On the contention that teaching skills can be taught, mastered, and tested, Ball said, "Our position is that [the] profession should take responsibility for this." The story also mentions TeachingWorks and its focus on high-leverage practices. Read the story here.

Detroit News editorial cites involvement of MCEE in teacher evaluation efforts

An editorial in The Detroit News, “Find a compromise on teacher evaluations,” mentions the work of the Michigan Council for Educator Effectiveness and its chair, Deborah Loewenberg Ball. The editorial calls for balancing more effective teacher evaluation systems with protection of existing tenure reforms. Read the editorial here.

NYT columnist features work of Deborah Loewenberg Ball, MCEE

Joe Nocera, an op-ed columnist for The New York Times, has written about the work of Deborah Loewenberg Ball with the Michigan Council for Educator Effectiveness (MCEE). Nocera said, “The council’s idea was that the evaluations could be used not just to rid the system of incompetent teachers—though it would certainly do that—but also to give all the other teachers critical feedback. It also envisions transforming professional development, which is now mostly a wasteland, into a mechanism to put that feedback into practice.” Read the op-ed here.

Deborah Loewenberg Ball mentioned in Free Press editorial

A Detroit Free Press editorial, “Teacher evals latest victim of GOP’s local control fetish,” cites Deborah Loewenberg Ball and the recommendations of the Michigan Council for Educator Effectiveness that she chaired. Read the editorial here.