Expert takes on education policy initiatives

October 2, 2008

Kevin Kumashiro, an associate professor and chair of the Department of Educational Policy Studies, as well as interim co-director of the Institute for Research on Race and Public Policy at the University of Illinois-Chicago, will speak on “Reframing Education: Power, Policies and Social Justice” at 6 p.m., Oct. 6, at Organ Hall at the Music Building.

A reception will take place before the keynote at 5 p.m. Download Full Image

Kumashiro is the keynote speaker in the Diversity Scholar Lecture Series sponsored by the Intergroup Relations Center and the School of Justice & Social Inquiry. The lecture is free and open to the public.

Just in time for the 2008 elections, this lecture will critically analyze education policy initiatives as framed by the rhetoric of the political spectrum. Kumashiro’s talk will address how these two political perspectives have “framed” the debate on education in the United States.

Kumashiro argues that the political right has historically appealed to conservative notions of the traditional family, free enterprise, goodness and fear to shape the public’s common sense ideas about schooling, all the while building support for its attacks on public education and social justice reforms.

On the other hand, he says, the left has failed to win support for its initiatives and goals because of a lack of unified ideology, especially regarding racial disparities in schools. Kumashiro expects to offer signs of hope as the left looks to “reframe” common sense notions about education to embrace a commitment to human rights, a belief in equality and quality education for all students.

According to Justice & Social Inquiry associate professor Madelaine Adelman, who also serves as the co-chair of the local chapter of the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN) and on the Education Committee of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), “Kumashiro offers innovative ideas about the future of public education in the United States by cutting through the noise typically associated with debates over student achievement. He critiques the right and left, and then provides a blueprint for how to makes schools a place for all our students.”

Kumashiro received his doctorate from the School of Education at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. As a writer or editor of seven books, Kumashiro researches policies, practices and politics regarding teaching and teacher education, with an emphasis on issues of diversity and social justice, including the intersections of multiple identities and the contradictions of activism.

Much of his earlier research focused on anti-oppressive education, including “Troubling Education: ‘Queer’ Activism and Antioppressive Pedagogy,” which received the 2003 Gustavus Myers Outstanding Book Award, and “Against Common Sense: Teaching and Learning Toward Social Justice,” which soon will be released in its second edition.

More recently, his research has focused on the politics of education reform, particularly the strategies of conservative and neoliberal movements in the United States, as discussed in his most recent book, “The Seduction of Common Sense: How the Right has Framed the Debate on America's Schools.”

Kumashiro also is the founding director of the Center for Anti-Oppressive Education at the University of Illinois-Chicago.

Kumashiro has taught in private and public elementary and secondary schools in the United States and abroad. He also has taught and supervised student teachers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, was a minority scholar-in-residence at Swarthmore College, was on the faculty of education at Bates College and was a noted scholar-in-residence at the University of British Columbia.

Most recently, he was a senior program specialist in human and civil rights at the National Education Association, where he coordinated the National Training Program on Safety, Bias and GLBT Issues, and the National Summit on Asian and Pacific Islander Issues in Education. He has coordinated professional development opportunities for educators and given numerous presentations and workshops for students and faculty across the United States.

He has served and continues to serve as a consultant for various school districts, and for state and federal departments of education.

Elma Dzanic, 480-965-8051, 

Program helps law students understand human behavior

October 2, 2008

A flexible new program at the Sandra O'Connor College of Law is helping students learn more about what makes criminals, jurors, judges, witnesses and lawyers tick.

The two-year Law and Psychology Specialization is part of the Law, Science, & Technology Certificate offered by the College's Center for the Study of Law, Science, & Technology. It was developed by Professor Linda Demaine, director of the Law and Psychology Graduate Program at Arizona State University, for law students who seek training at the intersection of law and behavioral science. Download Full Image

Students are able to choose among more than a dozen courses to enhance their knowledge of law and psychology, including Cults and Alternative Religions, Juvenile Law, Mental Health Law, Probability and Science in Court, and Neuroscience and Law. They also must take Empirical Research and Legal Process, Law and Psychology, Law and Psychology of the Trial Process, or Law, Litigation and Science.

The program dovetails with Dean Paul Schiff Berman's mission to build a new model of 21st century public legal education at the College of Law.

"We are increasingly emphasizing a wide variety of academic concentrations, so that students can have a greater role in designing their own curriculum," Berman said. "This concentration in law and psychology will help us draw strong students from around the country who are attracted by the extraordinary wealth of opportunities we provide in this important interdisciplinary area."

Demaine, an affiliated professor of psychology, said the specialization is intended to facilitate students' understanding of the law and to give them a competitive edge in the marketplace.

"Receiving training in the science of human behavior, including how to present your case to a jury, persuade a judge to rule a certain way, engage in effective negotiations, or distinguish between persuasion and coercion in different social contexts, is very important," she said.

"Within a broad spectrum, students may select psychology topics that interest them and are applicable to legal practice or other positions they may pursue. Aside from the law school's specific offerings in law and psychology, students can count any law school class toward the certificate as long as they can demonstrate there's a significant behavioral sciences component to the class," Demaine said. "It could be Constitutional Law, a criminal law course, or a torts seminar, for example, as long as there's a paper or other component that allows students to pursue a behavioral science topic within that seminar."

The certificate program already has grabbed the attention of some second- and third-year law students, such as Amanda Pyper, a 2L with undergraduate degrees in biology and psychology. Pyper, who came to ASU because of the reputation of the Center for the Study of Law, Science, & Technology, said law and psychology mesh well.

"Being interested in psychology goes along with being analytical, and that's what law students are," she said. "It's learning why we think the way we do."

Pyper, who is interested in jury research and court mediation, already is putting some of her knowledge to practice at her externship at the Federal Public Defender's Capital Habeas Unit in Phoenix. She has written a memo about the patient privilege of an individual with psychological issues.

Pyper isn't sure what type of law she will practice, but she believes the Law and Psychology Specialization can only help her career.

"Sure, all of it is just one more thing to add on my resume, but what's behind it is more important - to know that I understand the psychology of people is pretty relevant to being a lawyer," she said.

Further information about the certificate program and other law and psychology offerings at ASU is available at">

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(480) 727-9052
Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law