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Education Reform in Post-Apartheid South Africa

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Date and time
Thursday, February 10, 2005

Helen Ladd and Edward Fiske speak about their recent book, *Elusive Equity: Education Reform in Post-Apartheid South Africa*, which tells the story of South Africa's efforts to fashion a racially equitable state education system out of the ashes of apartheid. Fiske and Ladd describe and evaluate the policy strategies that South Africa pursued in its quest for racial equity. They draw on previously unpublished data, interviews with key officials, and visits to dozens of schools to describe the changes made in school finance, teacher assignment policies, governance, curriculum, higher education, and other areas.

Helen F. Ladd is the Edgar Thompson Professor of Public Policy Studies and professor of economics at Duke University. Prior to 1986, she taught at Dartmouth College, Wellesley College, and at Harvard University, first in the City and Regional Planning Program and then in the Kennedy School of Government. She graduated with a BA degree from Wellesley College in 1967, received a master's degree from the London School of Economics in 1968, and earned her PhD in economics from Harvard University in 1974. Most of her current research focuses on education policy. Most recently, she has co-edited *The Handbook of Research in Education Finance and Policy (2008)*, and co-authored (with Edward Fiske) *Elusive Equity: Education Reform in Post-Apartheid South Africa (Brookings Institution, 2004 and HSRC Press in paperback, 2005*). She is also the editor of *Holding Schools Accountable: Performance-Based Reform in Education (Brookings Institution, 1996)* and the coauthor (with Edward Fiske) of *When Schools Compete: A Cautionary Tale (Brookings Institution, 2000)* which draws lessons for the US from New Zealand.
Allistair Witten is an educator from Cape Town, South Africa. He is currently a doctoral student at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and a teaching fellow at Harvard's Principals' Center where he assists with the training and development of aspiring principals. Mr. Witten has been an educator for twenty-two years in South Africa's township schools, and spent the last ten of these as school principal. Recently, Witten has focused on extending the functions of schools and making them sites for community development and transformation. His work has contributed to the Safe Schools Program in Cape Town, which adopts a community-oriented approach to engaging problems that negatively affect the functioning of schools.
Edward B. Fiske is an internationally known education writer and editor who has written informatively on topics ranging from American higher education to primary school reform in Southeast Asia, New Zealand and South Africa. Formerly the education editor of the *New York Times*, Mr. Fiske is well known as the author of the best-selling *Fiske Guide to Colleges* (Sourcebooks), an annual publication that has been a standard part of college admissions literature for two decades. He is a regular contributor to the *International Herald-Tribune*. In addition to the *New York Times* his articles and book reviews have appears in *American Prospect*, *Atlantic Monthly*, *The New Republic*, *Readers Digest* and other national publications. He has received numerous awards for education reporting and serves on a number of boards of non-profit organizations, including the Foundation for Excellent Schools in Vermont, the Center for International Understanding in Raleigh, NC, and the Central Park School, a charter school in Durham, NC.