What matters to you.

Forum Network

Free online lectures: Explore a world of ideas

Funding provided by:

How Public Schools Meet the Nation's Changing Needs

In partnership with:
Date and time
Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Patricia Albjerg Graham, Charles Warren Research Professor of the History of American Education, discusses her her recent book, Schooling America. Drawing on a wide array of sources, Graham illustrates Americans' changing demands for our schools and colleges, and how these institutions have responded by providing what critics want, though never as completely or as quickly as they would like. Learn about the passionate educators, scholars and journalists who drove particular agendas, and Graham's own family, starting with her immigrant father's first day of school and moving through her experiences as a teacher. Invaluable background in the ongoing debate on education in the United States, her book offers an insightful look at what the public has sought from its educational institutions, what educators have delivered, and what remains to be done. She is introduced by Richard Murnane, Academic Dean and Juliana W. and William Foss Thompson Professor of Education and Society.

Patricia Albjerg Graham is a leading historian of American education. She began her teaching career in Deep Creek, Virginia, and later taught in Norfolk, Virginia, and New York City. She has also served as a high-school guidance counselor. She has been a lecturer and assistant professor at Indiana University, a visiting professor at Northern Michigan University, and a professor of history and education at Teachers College, Columbia University. In 1972-73 she was awarded a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship. She has served as dean of the Radcliffe Institute and as vice president of Radcliffe College. She joined the Harvard Graduate School of Education faculty in 1974 and served as dean from 1982 to 1991. She served as president of the Spencer Foundation in Chicago from 1991 to 2000. Graham holds a bachelor's degree with highest distinction from Purdue University and a Ph.D. from Columbia University, and she has received several honorary degrees.
Richard Murnane, an economist, is Thompson Professor of Education and Society at the Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE) and a Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research. In recent years he has pursued two lines of research. With MIT Professors Frank Levy and David Autor, he has examined how computer-based technological change has affected skill demands in the U.S. economy. Murnane and Levy have written two books on this topic. The second line of research examines the consequences of particular initiatives designed to improve the performance of the education sector. For example, along with HGSE colleagues, Murnane has examined the consequences of providing salary bonuses to attract skilled teachers to high-need schools and the impact that high-stakes tests for students has on the probability of high school graduation. Murnane is a graduate of Williams College and earned a PhD in economics from Yale University in 1974.