New/For Review Only: Research Proposal

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Research Question: When did music education appear in elementary/secondary schools, and how advocates’ reasons for music education change over time?

Why this topic deserves to be researched:

Throughout my childhood, instrumental music was something that always took great prominence in my life and in my household. When reflecting on this, I think about the reasons for this importance and why it was so stressed in my family. After attending Trinity for the past year and a half, I realize the importance of music after witnessing those who didn’t have the opportunity to immerse themselves within the musical world as a child. Seeing others not be able to read music or simply the idea that they just don’t know how to play an instrument in the first place, was quite startling for me when attending Trinity; especially when coming from a community in a suburb right out of D.C., where a focus on musicianship and the importance of musical-mental development was so broadly understood by parents, students, and teachers alike. From this perspective and realization, I am intrigued in learning more about where musicianship, as a school course, first developed, and why it did so in the first place.

Through the research I have done thus far, I have learned that the beginning of the 20th century did hold some “music appreciation classes,” where the focus was enjoying and admiring music, but not necessarily the act of performing music the way we do today. This lackadaisical approach is something I plan on exploring further and will help lead me to the shift from this Progressive Era approach of teaching a hands-off approach of musicianship to the more current understanding of music class and the prevalence it holds in today’s educational sphere.

Research Strategy:

When addressing my research question, I plan on using the techniques my professor, Jack Dougherty, indicated during our previous conversation/meeting earlier last week. As a result, I have found searching strategies like Google Scholar, America: History and Life, JSTOR, and Trinity’s WorldCat database to further examine the rationale behind the evolution of musicianship as a class taught wide amongst contemporary affluent society. I find it more difficult, however, to use our class readings and lectures for this topic because we haven’t studied it too closely in class. This said, based on the sites I have found so far, I doubt there to be much of an issue in finding applicable, scholarly sources for my project. Nonetheless, I have set up an appointment with a research librarian at Raether Library so that a professional can accentuate my current research strategies.


Hodges, Donald A., and Debra S. O’Connell. “The Impact of Music Education on Academic Achievement.” The University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Web.

Kelstrom, J. M. “The Untapped Power of Music: Its Role in the Curriculum and Its Effect on Academic Achievement.” NASSP Bulletin 82.597 (1998): 34-43. Print.

Hardesty, Jacob. “Canonic Constructions In Early 20Th Century Music Appreciation Classes.” American Educational History Journal 38.1/2 (2011): 289-303. America: History & Life. Web. 16 Apr. 2014.

Lee, William R. “Music Education and Rural Reform, 1900-1925.” JSTOR. Sage Publications, Inc., 1997.

Research Proposal 2014

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Research Question: When did drug education first become part of our schools’ curriculums and how have changes in American culture impacted these drug education programs?

Why I think this question should be researched: When people look back on America’s cultural history, they often consider the many wars America has participated in, the Great Depression, the iconic 50s housewife, Hollywood and Marilyn Monroe, the Space Race, Woodstock, McCarthyism, the internet technology boom of the ’90s, and the revolutionary work of Steve Jobs. While all of these are important events in our history, people often fail to consider another large aspect of American culture: the struggle we continue to have even to this day over illegal drugs and their abuse, commonly referred to as the “war on drugs.” These two aspects of American life are much more closely related than one would believe. I am curious to know not only how these historical events led to the mainstream drug use, but how American education became a platform for anti-drug rhetoric for the “war against drugs.” When exactly did recreational drug usage become an epidemic severe enough that educators felt the need to include such anti-drug rhetoric in their students’ required curricula? Additionally, how have these efforts changed with time as different cultural factors and drugs have emerged into the mainstream culture? Was there a noticeable shift in focus around these educational programs when the crack cocaine epidemic hit America in the mid-80s through early ’90s, etc. In researching this question, I feel that one can learn more not only about the history of American drug culture but also about the educational politics and the resulting relationship between them. This research topic is also extremely significant as the misuse of drugs is not only a problem of the past, but one that continues to haunt American youth in the present.

Research Process:

To first begin the research for this paper, I wanted to first understand the history behind America’s pattern of drug abuse so that I might be able to pinpoint certain epidemics that might have resulted in a change in the educational methods regarding drug abuse. I began with the website for the government’s Drug Enforcement Administration (D.E.A.) which was created in 1973 and enforces controlled substance laws and regulations. There, I found useful fact sheets on different drugs that have risen and fallen in popularity throughout history such as marijuana/cannabis, cocaine, LSD, ecstasy/MDMA, heroin, and many other which have arguably risen to epidemic levels of abuse in the recent decades. Additionally, I learned from the website that the D.E.A. has a museum, whose site I also visited.

The museum’s website was also helpful for my understanding the history behind the rise of modern drug abuse.

The museum was also helpful for me to understand the rise of modern drug abuse. On the site there are also virtual exhibits, which proved useful in further understanding how small cultural changes, such as how a change in music style might influence drug use and later, drug awareness education. The museum website provides graphics, timelines, and other resources that will be helpful in fleshing out the story and link between history, drug culture, and educational practices.

Another thing I did in researching this topic was to input the phrase “drug education” into Google’s Ngram viewer, to see when people first started using this phrase regularly. The Google service suggested that the phrase wasn’t commonly used until the ’60s, and essentially peaked at around 1977. Obviously, the term “drug education” is still commonly used, but has potentially taken a hit as other terms came into fruition such as the Gates D.A.R.E. program of the 1980s.

The next thing I researched was the D.A.R.E. program itself. As I went to a parochial institution in New York, I am actually unfamiliar with this program. I first asked a friend of mine who grew up in Massachusetts about it, and then chose to Wikipedia it, for an overall summary. From the Wikipedia page alone I was able to glean interesting facts about the initiative such as the fact that it has been implemented into 75% of the nations school districts. From this page, I was able to also see potential resources related to the topic of the Drug Abuse Resistance Education program that is so popular, even thirty years after its inception.




Metco Proposal

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Research Question


How have the experiences of METCO (Metropolitan Council for Educational Opportunity) students changed since the programs establishment in 1966? How has the program, then and now, both positively and negatively affected the children sent to the suburbs, as well as those living in the suburbs?




There has been a long-standing national crisis of educational disparities among different racial groups. Research has shown that of whites and minorities in the same socioeconomic group, minorities generally live in much more impoverished neighborhoods (Logan, 2003).  As a result of these racially concentrated neighborhoods and districts, minorities are often stuck with far worse educational opportunities than whites. The METCO (Metropolitan Council for Educational Opportunity) program seeks to address two major issues in the Massachusetts public school system by placing inner city, minority (Asian, Hispanic, and Black) students in predominately white suburban schools. The first is the “racial imbalance” that is experienced in the districts sending students. That is, the concentrated amount of minority groups in public schools. The second and less obvious issue is “racial isolation.” This issue pertains to the school receiving METCO students, where students are almost exclusively accustomed to interacting with other white students. Studies have shown the importance for students of all races to have the experience interacting with races different than their own (Cubeta, 2014.) In examining the experiences of several of my close friends in the METCO program, it seems that students have a very positive experience today. In fact, in a study conducted by Harvard University, researchers found that “91 percent of students said that they had a good or excellent experience in “learning to get along with people from other backgrounds”” and “82 percent of students surveyed reported a good or excellent experience with the academic program”(Harvard, 1997). These statistics provide extremely persuasive evidence for the positive impact METCO has on the lives of inner city children and young adults. Though they have positive experiences, the METCO students, some of them had been in the suburban schools since kindergarten, still have substantially lower test scores than their peers in school (Angrist, 2004).

I would like to explore further the more negative experiences of METCO students that are not explicit in these statistics. For example, whether or not METCO students have been marginalized based on their race in a predominantly white school, or if they were potentially discriminated against in their classes. I would also like to find out more about the experiences of METCO students in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s, and how potentially these experienced based on the specific town.





Research Strategy


To begin my research, I searched “education and race” in Google Scholar. However, the results were far too broad. I narrowed my search to “northern school desegregation.” After searching this phrase, I gathered a few useful articles based in the contemporary. When I was looking for articles in the years leading up to and during the start of the METCO program, I performed that same search in Google scholar, but limited my search between the years 1964 and 1972. I found a wonderful chapter called “Barriers to Northern School Desegregation” from a book on “Jstor.” This provided good insight into what scholars were saying at the time about racial inequality and ways to approach tackling it. Finally, I wanted to get a contemporary, local level article on METCO. I searched “METCO Massachusetts” into the basic Google search engine. I found an article from the local newspaper of Arlington, Massachusetts explaining all of the wonderful attributes of METCO in that specific town.




“METCO Program.” Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. N.p., 19 Dec. 2013. Web. 06 Apr. 2014.


“METCO Study Finds Broad Support from Parents/Students.” The Harvard University Gazette. N.p., 25 Sept. 1997. Web. 06 Apr. 2014.


“Segregation in Neighborhoods and Schools: Impacts on Minority Children in the Boston Region.” Lewis Mumford Center Census 2000 American Newcomers Report. N.p., 1 Sept. 2003. Web. 06 Apr. 2014.


Dentler, Robert A. “Barriers to Northern School Desegregation.” Daedalus 95.1, The Negro American—2 (1966): 45-63. JSTOR. Web. 06 Apr. 2014. <>.


Cubeta, Kate, Regina Caines, and Bonie Williamson. “METCO an important Program.”The Arlington Advocate. N.p., 05 Apr. 2014. Web. 06 Apr. 2014.


Research Proposal: Centralization or Decentralization: Competition or Continuity

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Research Questions:

What underlining factors cause the educational pendulum to oscillate between centralized and decentralized schooling models: specifically in New York City over time? Are we fixing old problems, or simply creating new ones?

Is centralization or decentralization ultimately a ‘bottom-up’ or ‘top-down’ decision? In other words, do politicians need to reconcile the differences between centralized and decentralized education? Or do grassroots and communal movements need to discover/create concrete solutions for political support and action?



Among all the public, private, magnet, charter, homeschool and many other forms of education in New York, are centralized or decentralized schooling models causing, creating or closing achievement, opportunity and learning gaps to emerge, remerge or dissolve? Is early childhood education and universal educational access the answer? Or will re-centralizing public schools eventually be the remedy we’re searching for? Somehow – teachers, administrators, reformers, families and politicians will need to reach a consensus – or America’s education will continue to fall through the cracks.


Research Process:

Ever since the New York City School Decentralization Law of 1969, there has been a heated debate about the advantages and disadvantages of centralized and decentralized schooling models, primarily between local/community School Boards and City Boards. As a result, my research will be more focused on what has been done, accomplished or implemented, and less focused on what has been said. Decentralization was a rational shift for New York school districts because of its extensive urban schooling layout. Although New York’s decentralization has produced meager results, smaller and additional community control districts could compensate for centralized schooling in New York. I will also examine different measurements among districts and between public and charter school performance in New York.



Alvarado, Anthony. “Reengineering Reform: Adopting a New Approach to an Old Problem.” Ed. David Jones and Arthur Levine. Report of the New York City Council Commission on the Campaign for Fiscal Equity, Oct. 2005. Web. <>.

Berger, Joseph. “Board of Education: A Thing of the Past?” The New York Times. The New York Times, 17 Feb. 1996. Web. 07 Apr. 2014. <>.

Boland, Maureen. “School Types: The Difference between Public, Private, Magnet, Charter, and More.” Baby Center, Apr. 2012. Web. <>.

Cortines, Ramon. “Asking Too Much of Decentralization.” Editorial Projects in Education, 27 Sept. 1995. Web. <>.

Greenblatt, Jonathan. “Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation.” The White House, 25 Feb. 2014. Web. <>.

Herszenhorn, David. “New York Rethinks Its Remaking Of the Schools.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 08 Apr. 2006. Web. 07 Apr. 2014. <>.

Hess, Alfred. “Community Participation or Control? From New York to Chicago.” Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. Theory Into Practice. Vol. 38, Issue 4, 1999. Web. <>

McGrail, Kenneth R. “New York City School Decentralization: The Respective Powers of the City Board of Education and the Community School Boards.” Fordham Urban Law Journal. The Berkeley Electronic Press, 1976. Web.

McGriff, Deborah. “Decentralization: Why, How, and Toward What Ends?” Decentralization: Why, How, and Toward What Ends? North Central Regional Educational Laboratory, 26 July 1995. Web. <>.

Smolover, Deborah. “America Forward.” New Profit Inc. and America Forward, 2014. Web. <>.

Stevenson, Harold W., and James W. Stigler. “What Can We Learn from the Learning Gap?” JSTOR. Ed. Hirotoshi Yano. American Educational Research Association. Vol. 22, No. 1, Jan. 1993. Web.

Tough, Paul. Whatever It Takes: Geoffrey Canada’s Quest to Change Harlem and America. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2008. Print.


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For my research paper, I am going to identify the problems in the lottery process for charter schools. My question is going to be, what factors cause the lottery process to be inefficient? Which is based off of the historical causation. With my question, I am not trying to imply that the process does not work, but there are definitely factors that  cause the process from not being as fair and efficient as it could be.

The lottery process deserves to be researched because it can be such a positive aspect in someones life or can somewhat ruin their life. The lottery process determines children’s futures. There is so much emphasis on the way that children are educated so in cities like Harlem, being able to choose a different education is a way to redirect your life. Through research, I will be able to learn more and more about the complications that go into this process and what could be done to make the process fair for everyone. The process is supposed to be fair for everyone but there definitely are a couple hidden secrets that are part of the process which does not make it fair for everyone.

The movie, The Lottery, is a good source for me because that is what drew my attention to this process. The Lottery really showed how much people put their life into this process and many people get shut down time after time. I just get confused how people care so much about education that put their children through the lottery that why aren’t there better schools? Why are they still hiring unqualified teachers? It is so confusing and frustrating. In The Lottery, the process of finding out if you were accepted I thought was not the best way to inform the families. Obviously this process is not embarrassing, but not be accepted next to a family friend that is accepted is clearly a horrifying feeling. Watching these families get picked and dropped was devastating and heart warming, but when someone was picked all I could do was feel bad for the families that were not picked. Some charter schools inform their students by calling the home which I think is a much better idea.


Every state and city has different rules and a process of how the process happens. In order to make a process that was fair to everyone, all of the states should collaborate to make the process fair. Through more and more research I will be able to find more flaws. Since the charter schools are independently owned, it is hard to create a general process. Students with siblings all have preference. This makes it easier for their families to only be transporting children to one schools rather than various schools throughout the city. People complain that this rule is not always fair however.


Works Cited
“Enrollment FAQ.” New York City Charter School Center. N.p., 2012. Web. 06 Apr. 2014.
Lawler, James, and Madeleine Sackler. “The Lottery.” Documentary. Prod. Blake Ashman-Kipervaser. Manhattan, New York, 27 Mar. 2010. Television.
“Lottery Process.” Lottery Process. Schoolview, n.d. Web. 06 Apr. 2014.
Medley, Joel E. “Public Schools of North Carolina.” N.p., 14 Jan. 2014. Web. 6 Apr. 2014.

Research Proposal: Gifted and Talented

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Research Question:

How has gifted and talented  (G&T) programming transformed from the implementation of the Jacob Javits Gifted and Talented Education Act of 1988 to  present day? What are some of the benefits and critiques  of G&T programs in urban cities like NYC?


Gifted individuals are those who demonstrate outstanding levels of aptitude (defined as an exceptional ability to reason and learn) or competence (documented performance or achievement in top 10% or rarer) in one or more domains.  Domains include any structured area of activity with its own symbol system (e.g., mathematics, music, language) and/or set of sensorimotor skills (e.g., painting, dance, sports).” (

According to the National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC),  Gifted and Talented programs have existed in some form since the early 19th century ( As explained in the definition above, gifted students are those who are considered to be exceptionally skilled in one or more academic or extracurricular  areas.  In 1988, the Jacob Javits Gifted and Talented Act was passed to create the NAGC and to ensure that annual research on the state of G&T education is conducted and provide monetary grants. However, the nature and scope of G &T programs have changed immensely due to 1) there is no nationwide mandate for all public schools to have special G &T programming 2)budget cuts to spending on existing G & T programs and 3)new assessment practices for giftedness. With all of this in mind, it is important to look at how G & T programming has evolved from 1988 to present day. In 1988, G &T programs were at the forefront of education  reform due to the publication of the 1983 report A Nation At Risk ( However, this no longer seems to be the case in a lot of states.  What happens to the students who are gifted in schools that do not offer accelerated learning opportunities? Especially in this new movement of alternative, charter/magnet schools, how have these programs changed? I would like to know if gifted students in regular classes are negatively impacted by the decrease in programming.

Research has proven that some students  benefit greatly from G &T programming. However, the assessments of G & T programs also tend to be somewhat exclusive. With my second research question, I plan on looking at how students in urban areas are reached with this program. In the past 10 years, there have been studies that have shown that these programs are neither diverse nor inclusive for students of color. It is imperative that this issue is a point of focus for this project since it shows how some programs with good intentions still help to perpetuate social stratification.  I plan to look at a specific school district like NYC since  G&T programs are still apart of public elementary school education.

Research Process:

I searched for articles and scholarly journals by using the Education Full Text Database.  I used terms like “gifted programs” and “urban” “students of color”. Then, I used google scholar to find more books that provide G&T history and different practices.  I also used the National Association for Gifted Children website since it is a reputable site that provides a lot of context,external sources, and links to several studies that have been conducted. I also looked at the NYC DOE website to see what is in place for G &T assessments. Lastly, I will be working with Katy Hart (research librarian) to find more sources through older periodicals like the NY Times to find articles on Gifted and Talented programs that was highlighted in the news. This will show how G &T has been viewed in the past and present.



Clark, Barbara. Growing up Gifted. Columbus: Charles E. Merrill.1988.

Frasier, Mary ,Jaime Garcia, Harry Passow. A Review of Assessment Issues in Gifted Education and their Implications for Identifying Gifted Minority Students. The National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented. 1995.

Gootmen, Elissa and Gebelboff Robert. “Fewer Children Entering Gifted Programs”. The New York Times: 28 October 2009. Web. 4 April 2014. <>

Jost, Kenneth.”Educating Gifted Students”. The CQ Researcher. 7(12 ).1997. Web. 4 April 2014.

Luninski, David et. al “Top 1 in 10,000: A 10-year Follow-up of the Profoundly Gifted. Journal of Applied Psychology, Vol 86(4) 718-729. doi: 10.1037/0021-9010.86.4.718.2001. Web. 4 April 2014. <>


Mazie, Jenna. “Equality, Race and Gifted Education: An egalitarian critique of admission to New York City’s specialized high schools” Theory and Research in Education 7.1 .2009: 5-25. Web 4 April 2014.

National Association for Gifted Children.  “State of the nation in gifted education: A lack of commitment to talent development: An executive summary of the 2010-2011 State of the States Report]”. National Association for Gifted Children. 2011.National Association for Gifted Children. 2008. Web. 4 April 2014. <>

NYC Department of Education. Gifted and Talented Programs. 2014.Web. 4 April 2014.




Ed300 Research Proposal

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Research Question:

How has the Burmese schooling experience, education system, and its goals been transformed or affected by British colonization from the 18th to 19th century?


Schooling in Burma has changed significantly from its initial form and goals since the colonial era. Old ideas about education derived from monastic orders merged with the new ideas brought to Burma by the British who colonized the country from the early 1800’s to mid 1900’s. To weaken the two most powerful traditional institutions in Burma, the British abolished the monarchy and separated the church—which in this case was the Theravada Buddhist order– and state by setting up secular schools to replace the monastic schools where Burmese children usually received their education. To further their own political and economic goals and mitigate the collision of values held by the Buddhist natives with values held by the ruling British people, modern values and western education was promoted in these secular schools. The goal of these schools was to produce an educated Burmese class trained to be local administrators and implement colonial projects. While there were some benefits to the education system imposed upon the Burmese, such as increased access to education for women, there were drawbacks like a loss of cultural heritage and traditional ways that was replaced by more modern, scientific teachings conducive to empire-building colonial projects.

In the early 1900s, an group called the Young Men’s Buddhist Association (YMBA) emerged and began to mobilize the public and organize a Burmese nationalist movement, education being a major focus of their struggle. The struggle for a national identity began as tensions rose between those advocating for traditional Buddhist knowledge and those advocating for modern, colonial knowledge. Under U Nu’s rule, education became both compulsory and free but there were many challenges to establishing a functioning education system as Burma transitioned to self-rule after so many decades of colonial rule.The invasion of the Japanese also further complicated this process as they tried to further impose their ideas about education on the Burmese. The national schools movement grew as a reaction to these foreign influences in Burma, led by nationalists who wanted to try to “Burmanize” schools. What remains today is a broken, neglected education system seized by the military government.

When thinking about education reform in Burma, one cannot fully understand the current form of schooling and the goals of education that exists in modern day Burma without understanding its historical origins. For this reason, I feel that it is justified for me to do research about what events and ideas have helped shaped the education system in Burma as it is today.


 To gather background information and sources, I met with a librarian who helped me search for relevant sources on the Trinity Library database. I also looked at the sources cited by these articles to find additional sources that could be of help. I used goolge scholar as well as other search sites that helped me find journals that focused on Asia, such as the Journal of Asian studies. I accessed the old English newspapers (The Times from London) to find out more about colonial education. I have also found some books in the library on the history of Burma that contains information about education and how it has changed through time. There are also some books I found using Google scholar that are about colonialism and education in Burma but I have not been able to access them and am considering purchasing or renting them.

Although I have read through  the secondary sources, I have yet to thoroughly go through the primary sources from the time. I am working with a librarian this week to find more primary and secondary sources that are relevant to my research project both in the main library collection and in the Watkinson.

Cady, John F. A History of Modern Burma. Ithaca, NY: Cornell UP, 1958. Print.

Cheesman, N. (2003). School, State and Sangha in Burma. Comparative Education, 39(1), 45-63. Retrieved from

Chie Ikeya. Refiguring Women, Colonialism, and Modernity in Burma. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, 2011. Project MUSE. Web. 6 Apr. 2014. <>.

Furnivall, J. S. Colonial Policy and Practice; a Comparative Study of Burma and Netherlands India. New York: New York UP, 1956. Print.

Harris, Ian Charles. “Colonial Knowledge and Buddhist Education in Burma.” Buddhism, Power and Political Order. London: Routledge, 2007. 52-70. Print.

Harvey, Godfrey E. British Rule in Burma: 1824-1942. New York: M S Pr., 1974. Print.

King, Alonzo. Memoir of George Dana Boardman: Late Missionary to Burmah, Containing Much Intelligence Relative to the Burman Mission. Boston: Lincoln, Edmands &, 1834. Print.

Lwin, Thein. “Education in Burma (1945-2000).” Thinking Classroom (2000): n. pag. Web. 4 Apr. 2014. <,%202000.pdf>.

Malcolm, Howard. Travels in South-eastern Asia: Embracing Hindustan, Malaya, Siam and China; with Notices of Numerous Missionary Stations, and a Full Account of the Burman Empire. Philadelphia: American Baptist Publication Society, n.d. Print.

Whitehead, Clive. “Education in British Colonial Dependencies, 1919‐39: A Re‐appraisal.”Comparative Education 17.1 (1981): 71-80. Print.



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Upon my arrival to Trinity College I learned something interesting when sharing our birthdays and ages at orientation; something that I hadn’t given much thought to until now. I am one of my youngest friends here and I am born in April, the fourth month of the year! It really surprised me to learn that students are in the same class but almost a full year or two older than me. Different states have different cut offs so I assumed that it was as simple as that, but then I learned of the redshirting phenomenon. Redshirting refers to the practice of postponing entering school with the intent that your child will have an advantage. Redshirting has created yet another inequality in the United Stated public education system. With that said, my interest is in researching: Is it immoral for parents to give their child the advantage of redshirting? And furthermore, are they cheating the system in doing so? What impact does redshirting have on the success of children’s lives in and outside of the classroom? And what inequalities have the practice of redshirting created?

            Redshirting comes from the practice used by college athletic teams, a technique where an athlete sits out for a season. Redshirting is important because studies have shown that parents that are redshirting their children are more affluent. Not all students are able to get this advantage because there are parents who must put their children in school as soon as possible in order to defecate childcare costs (Schmidt). This ties in to another inequality in schooling that is a popular phenomenon called cultural capital. Cultural capital is when a student comes from an affluent family and are culturally exposed and educated before they even enter school. The students who are commonly redshirted are affluent and have already had many cultural and educational experiences before entering school and on top of that, redshirting gives them the opportunity for an additional year for culturally educating. Not only does this give the children a year for more cultural experiences, but also another year for their brain to develop. Studies have shown that there is a substantial difference in a child’s brain from year five to year six; a difference much greater than the difference between a twenty and twenty-one year olds (Konnikova). There is also a substantial amount of data on the social advantage redshirted students are getting. Research has shown that the older students in the class are typically the ones who take leadership positions and they also have an advantage in sports, because redshirted students are typically bigger because of that extra year of growth.

However, parents aren’t the only ones who are taking advantage of the system, the schools are as well. Schools aren’t necessarily opposed to redshirting because it is also beneficial to them, holding back kids at entry may order up the schools standardize testing scores (Safer). The working class parents who cannot financially keep their children back and the typically more affluent children are the ones redshirted they are more developed. Research has shown that the poorer students repeat grades three times more than more affluent children (Hansen- Bundy). The achievement gap tends to be a popular topic when it comes to the U.S education system. The achievement gap is high and some studies have shown that redshirting has contributed to this gap(Hansen-Bundy).

I started my research watching an intriguing 60 minutes on CBS by reporter Morley Safer. This informative 60 minutes started to get me thinking about the short and long term affects that redshirting has on a student, and also the disparity that it has created in the U.S education system – causing problems in both private and public systems. I read different blog posts and continued to further my research finding something that I originally hadn’t thought twice about was such a popular phenomenon with a lot of scrutiny around it. I also found several book reviews and books that have substantial data showing the ramifications that redshirting is having on the lives of the individual student that was redshirted as well as the effects that it has on the students classmates. I always assumed the purpose of holding a child back was so that they are not the youngest in their grade, but my research has proven that this phenomenon has a much larger effect on the student, his/her peers, and the education system as a whole.



Works Cited

Hansen – Bundy, Benjy. “Political MoJo.” Mother Jones. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 Apr. 2014.

Konnikova, Maria. “Youngest Kid, Smartest Kid?” The New Yorker. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 Apr. 2014.

Moyer, Melinda. “Can Your Kid Hack It in Kindergarten, or Should You Redshirt Him?” Slate Magazine. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 Apr. 2014.

Safer, Morley. “Redshirting:Holding Kids Back from Kindergarten.” CBS. N.p., n.d. Web. 6 Apr. 2014.

Schmidt, Michelle. “Kindergarten ‘Redshirting’: A Leg Up or an Unfair Advantage?” SparkPeople. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 Apr. 2014.

Research Proposal

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Research Question:

How has the U.S. education system adapted to accommodate the needs of foreign speaking students since the beginning of the 20th century and in what ways is it still being transformed today?

Why this topic deserves to be researched:

Attending a private institution, like Trinity College, has led me to a profound awakening, especially in regards to the importance of racial diversity. The racial diversity at Trinity (or lack thereof) is something I find to dominate the entire tone and nature of a college. It was only after attending Trinity that I realized how drastically the racial composition of one’s surroundings can influence a person’s perceptions and levels of acceptance.  Growing up in a very multi-ethnic and racially diverse area right outside Washington D.C., I am used to a high level of sensitivity towards the words and actions used when discussing or interacting with a different race or socio-economic class. It was only after attending Trinity that I realized that this sensitivity wasn’t as wide-spread as I once thought. Instead, there seems to be an entirely different language to the school, a language that, as derogative as it is, is accepted here as being standard. During my first few months at Trinity last year, I remember how taken aback I was when listening to the causal racial references and slang thrown out during every-day conversation around campus. Even more shocking to me, was that I was the only person asking people to stop making these comments, and when I would bring up the importance of respecting and appreciating another students ethnic and racial background, no one ever seemed to catch on and almost seemed to be a foreign concept. This was so appalling to me that it led me to write my freshman-year-seminar final paper surrounding the racial climate on Trinity’s campus. Now, a year and a half later as a sophomore, I find it even more difficult not to avoid using the phrases my peers use, and I almost find myself succumbing to Trinity’s racial language. It worries me to think that I am loosing the racial awareness that was once so expected. In a grander context, it interests me to see that the level of one’s academic intelligence doesn’t always mirror one’s social and cultural understandings, something I hope to explore further in my paper. Furthermore, I believe that the language one uses reflects their levels of acceptance as well, something demonstrated by the levels of acceptance I see here versus the greater levels of acceptance I witness during interactions in my home town. When choosing a paper topic and considering this background, I wanted to pick something that concerned racial and ethnic relations but also something that examined an area of study I haven’t exposed myself to in previous classes or in previous papers. This is why I decided I wanted to center my focus around a foreign students understanding of the U.S. education system, as I see it as a topic that could also expose the priorital assistance we give some ethnic groups and not others, as we see fit. I believe this could also shed light on the reasons why we see greater trends of acceptance in public school settings than we generally do in private school settings.


Research Strategy:

When addressing my research question, I plan on using google scholar and online studies to examine international relations within the public school system, a tool that has already worked well for me when beginning to conduct my research. I find it difficult to use our class readings and lectures for this topic because we haven’t studied it too closely in class.

I think it would be helpful to incorporate a good deal of case studies regarding ethnic integration in private high schools in comparison to that of public high schools, and would add greater credibility and tangibility to my research question.  I also plan to meet with a research librarian to help me conduct my research, especially since I currently don’t have much experience working with the tools and techniques offered by the library. Through further research, I hope to narrow down my research question so that it focuses more directly on the policies in place now in comparison to those of past decades. I also think it would be interesting to explore the success of the immersion programs in place, as they can be indicators of the quality of education provided in foreign speaking students classrooms as opposed to the quality of education American students experience at the same school.



Ruiz-de-Velasco, Jorge, and Michael Fix. Overlooked & Underserved: Immigrant Students in U.S. Secondary Schools. Publication. Web. <>.

Howard, Elizabeth R., Julie Sugarman, and Donna Christian. Trends in Two-Way Immersion Education: A Review of the Research. Publication., Aug. 2003. Web. <>.

The Editorial Board. “Why Other Countries Teach Better.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 17 Dec. 2013. Web. 06 Apr. 2014. <>.

Wilde, Marian. “Global Grade: How Do U.S. Students Compare?” GreatSchools. Web. 03 Apr. 2014. <>.

2014 Proposal

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Research Question:  What are the positive and negative affects of attending a private vs. public school in regards to the college process? Does one have an advantage over the other? And what changes over time have made this question so prevalent in todays society?
Relevance: The debate between public and private education is one that is widely discussed in America. People often question if children will receive a better education if enrolled in private school but what defines “better education” or better school for a child. This debate often is associated with college admissions and the discussion of whether one type of school has advantages over the other. As a student who has attended both private and public schools I am interested in researching this question. I often wonder if college admissions do in fact prefer one school to the other.The comparison of private vs. public school is a newly established issue that I believe society has brought upon itself, I look forward to researching the social changes that have occurred that have influenced this new mentality of one type of school being better then the other.


Research Strategy: The question of whether private or public school has advantages over the other is something I have been interested since I first entered Trinity. Within my friend group a large majority of the people attended private schools, which happen to mostly be boarding schools. I want to research college admission websites and offices (I plan on going into the admissions office at trinity and speaking with someone). Thus far I have been on a few websites and read articles based on this topic and have found that many parents are concerned with where to place there children for high school. One major issue I want to research is people with lower socioeconomic status and there placements within public and private schools. These people are likely t have fewer options and may not have the means to provide there children with a private education which is unfair. A great method for my research will also be to look at college acceptances based on high schools. I have looked on both a public and a private school website and saw a list of schools their graduates have gone to. I want to compare the acceptances of the two. I want to understand how colleges look at private schools vs. public schools and eventually argue the somewhat unjust advantage of private school students that so many people feel is apparent.







“Guidance Office: Answers From Harvard’s Dean, Last of 5 Parts.” The Choice Guidance Office Answers From Harvard’s Dean Last of 5 Parts Comments. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 Apr. 2014.


“ScholarWorks@UMass Amherst.” Electronic Doctoral Dissertations for UMass Amherst. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 Apr. 2014.

Research Proposal

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Research Question:  Next year will be the 45th year since the admission of the first undergraduate women to both Trinity College and Yale University.  How did these to institutions experience co-education different in terms of the factors that led to the admission of women, the experiences of the first women to attend these institutions, and long-term effects of co-education?

Relevance:  The late 1960’s were a tumultuous period on college campuses across the country.  Controversy surrounding the presidency of Richard Nixon, the involvement of the United States in the Vietnam War, and the Civil Rights movement was leading to activism and protests on an almost constant basis on college campuses.

“All the world over, so easy to see, people everywhere just want to be free.”  The 1968 academic year at Trinity and Yale began with the Rascals topping the Billboard charts, and students were taking their words to heart, protesting against Vietnam, in favor of Civil Rights, and for the right of women to attend their institutions.  Many NESCAC schools were in the midst of co-education movements in the late 60’s, and much of the Trinity community, including 76% percent of the student body (according to a Tripod poll), many members of the faculty, and the Dean of Faculty, Robert Fuller, were in favor of beginning to admit women.  They provided a wide range of reasoning, from social equity to improved academic discourse to the College’s financial health.  1968 found Yale as one of the final Ivy League schools that hadn’t either adopted co-education or named a sister school, and student pressure was beginning to escalate rapidly.  Even when Yale did first admit undergraduate women, it did so at a rate of 1 woman to every 7 men, and the fight for true co-education went on for another several years until Yale adopted a progressive “sex-blind” admissions policy.

Research Strategy:  I plan of answering questions motives for co-education, the process of co-education, and the long-term effects at Trinity and Yale.

To begin, I plan on using databases to find academic writing on the pros and cons of co-education from both the 1960’s and today, and am interested in seeing what has changed in the discourse of co-education during this time.

Next, I plan on using primary sources from both institutions regarding the era leading up to and immediately following the admission of women.  At Trinity, this will include issues of the Tripod, the Fuller Memo, the Lockwood interviews, and other sources available at the Watkinson.  From Yale, this will include the Sarrell Papers, the Records of Office on the Education of Women, and other documents.  This week I will contact a friend of mine who is an American History major at Yale for more information on how to make best use of the Yale archives, and probably will make a visit to the Yale library once I have made adequate plans to do so.

Finally, I will find interviews with some of the earliest women at Trinity and Yale, including the anniversary documents prepared for Trinity that are available at the Watkinson, and similar documents at Yale.  I will then compare these with the modern experience of women at these colleges, which I hope to gather through personal interviews and with the help of Professor Hendrick in the Women, Gender, and Sexuality Department.  I also plan on drawing from the findings of prior Ed. Reform students who have written on co-education, including 2013 graduate Devon MacGillivray


“A Survey of Co-education in the Ivies.” The Harvard Crimson [Cambridge, MA] 4 Oct. 1974

Philip M. and Lorna Sarrel papers, 1966-2007 (inclusive), 1966-1980

Barreca, Gina. Babes in Boyland. N.p.: Lebanon, 2005. Print.

Miller, Beth K. The Evoluation of Coeducation at Trinity College, 1969-1983. Hartford: Trinity College, 2003. Print.

Trinity College Sit-in Watkinson Library Document Compilation

Dean of Faculty Robert Fuller, Memo to President Lockwood, “The Admission of Women Undergraduates to Trinity College,” 30 September 1968

Trinity Tripod Selected Articles, 1968-1970

Ed 300 Research Proposal

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Research Question:
What historical events and trends prompted the creation of Montessori schools and how are the practices of Maria Montessori used today?

Founded by Maria Montessori, the Montessori method is aimed at teaching students independence at an early age. This teaching method gives students the ability to go freely through their classroom for certain blocks of time where they are uninterrupted and given the opportunity to correct themselves if they find they are stuck. I am very interested in researching the emergence of the Montessori method because it differs greatly from traditional public school teaching methods. The Montessori method also puts an emphasis learning throughout one’s life not just when children enter first grade; learning goes deeper, in this teaching method, than books and tests. From my experience observing a Montessori classroom children navigate through their designated spaces with a purpose and with a sense of understand of what is going on in their given space, in other words if a student is in a “cooking” station that student is well aware that he/she will be cooking, and students proceed to prepare snacks for themselves. Within the Montessori method the term “teacher” does not exist, instead guides are part of the classroom, there to assist students if they seem really stuck and unable to complete a task.
In Montessori schools students are viewed as distinctive individuals, carrying their own unique traits and characteristics, I believe this view is missing in traditional public schools, and Maria Montessori made it a point to give her students the power of uniqueness and independence, and I believe that this topic is worth studying because it will help make more clear distinctions between the Montessori method and traditional public school teaching methods.

Research Strategy:
To begin my search I went on Google Scholar, which proved to be very helpful as I found two of my sources on Google Scholar. I typed in “Maria Montessori” and “Montessori Method” to start my search and found that some helpful articles came up in my search. I was also led to Wikipedia while searching for information on the Montessori method and found that Wikipedia was helpful in leading me to one of my sources. I also used the Ed 300 “search strategies” and reached the “Education Full Text” search engine that helped me find most of my sources. I simply typed in “Maria Montessori” and “History” and found articles linked to “100 years of Montessori”, this article will be helpful in my research as I am looking at the Montessori method and its changing characteristics over time.


American Montessori Society. “Introduction to Montessori.” N.p., n.d. Web. 1 Apr
2014. <;.

Bagby, Janet1, and Tracey N.2 Sulak. “Connecting Leadership Development To
Montessori Practice.” Montessori Life 25.1 (2013): 6-7. Education Full Text (H.W. Wilson). Web. 1 Apr. 2014.

Boulmier, Prairie, “Looking At How Children Succeed,
Through A Montessori Lens.” Montessori Life 26.1 (2014): 42-46. Education Full Text (H.W. Wilson). Web. 1 Apr. 2014.

Grazzini, Camillo. “The four planes of development.” NAMTA JOURNAL 29.1 (2004):

Lillard, Paula P. Montessori Today. New York: Shocken Books Inc., 1996. Print.

Rathunde, Kevin. “Montessori education and optimal experience: A framework for
new research.” NAMTA JOURNAL 26.1 (2001): 11-44.

Shortridge, P. Donohue. “Maria Montessori And Educational Forces In America.”
Montessori Life 19.1 (2007): 34-47. Education Full Text (H.W. Wilson). Web. 1 Apr. 2014.

Research Proposal

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Research questions:

How has distribution requirements changed over time at Trinity College ? When and how did Trinity College shift from highly unified to a more individualized curriculum? What factors did contribute to the changes?



Distribution requirements are what schools require all students to fulfill. It means that they are something that schools want all students to learn and experience while they are attending colleges. Because they indicate schools’ mission and value, each school has different general requirements. Even in liberal arts colleges, each has unique general requirements and emphasize different discipline.

For this research, I am planning to study how Trinity has shaped current distribution requirements (Arts, Humanities, Natural Sciences, Numerical & Symbolic Reasoning, Social Sciences, Quantitative Literacy, Writing Proficiency, Global Engagement, First Year Seminar, Writing Emphasis Part1, Part2, Second Language Requirements). As I found through the College Bulletins from 1800s, Trinity used to not have general requirements, and, rather, each class has the same schedule to follow and there was no registration for courses. As fields were specialized, schools let students to choose either Bachelor’s of Arts or Science, further to groups, and majors like what we have now.

In general, majors and general requirements have been more specific and narrowed since this college was established, and students got more choices to choose what to learn than students in 1800s. We take our general requirements granted, and students are just busy to fulfill these requirements. However, knowing the history of general requirements will enable students to understand better about where they are and what goals they have to pursue at Trinity College.

Research Strategy

I will mainly search the College Bulletin from the first to current one by ten years to compare differences and find how they changed. There are two books that I have Helen Lefkowitz’s Campus Life and Peter Knapp’s Trinity College in the Twentieth Century. These two books will help me to understand what has happened on campus from both students’s perspective and school administrators’ perspective. Depending on needs, I will search some sources the JSTOR and the New York Times, but I will mainly focus on the College Bulletins and those two books.



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As a student at Trinity College, a prestigious liberal arts college, I realize that I should know what a liberal arts college is and what kinds of goals I want to pursue here. Personally, before coming to America, I did not know what a liberal arts college was. The fact that they have relatively small size classes and provide more interaction with professors was all that I knew, and it was good enough to bring me to Trinity.  However, as I have spent my first semester at Trinity as a transfer student, I could see the uniqueness of liberal arts colleges besides the small size. Because I spent three semesters in a community college, where classes were mainly lecture-based, I could clearly see differences between liberal arts colleges and regular colleges. These differences interest me in exploring more about liberal arts college.

In the media, liberal arts colleges have been introduced as an alternative of higher education or colleges that produce individuals exactly who employers are looking for. Instead of focusing on vocationism and specialization, liberal arts colleges aim at strengthening students’ critical thinking skills and exposing students to a broad range of knowledge while allowing them to study one field in depth.  However, as our society has developed, there are many changes that liberal arts colleges have gone through. As more schools take liberal arts education as their main pedagogies, the concept of liberal arts colleges seem to be watered down as institutions where students can guarantee their jobs simply by attending these schools. Some liberal arts colleges confront financial difficulties in keeping traditional liberal arts education because students and the job market want schools to teach specific skills or knowledge students can use when they are employed. Meanwhile, many have questioned how technologies in liberal arts education should be in responses to demand of employers.

By tracing back the history of liberal arts colleges, we can understand what has been transformed and what has been preserved as well as how uniquely this education has affected students’ lives. It will help us to know what values liberal arts colleges should pursue today. In addition, I want to observe Trinity College based on the research results and see in what ways Trinity College provides a liberal arts education.

Research Strategies:

My research will be mostly based on online sources. Using ERIC and JSTOR, I found some interesting sources. The American Council of Learn Societies’ book Liberal Arts Colleges in American Higher Education, provides overall views about the liberal arts colleges’ past, present, and future in depth and in length. Charles Blaich’s Defining Liberal Arts Education tries to define liberal arts education in various perspectives and relates the definitions to empirical applications. Among the papers I found in ERIC, some are data-based research articles, which can be useful evidence to see how well liberal arts colleges have performed. Also, I will look for how American colleges in general appreciate liberal arts colleges through the website of the Association of American Colleges and Universities and through the New York Times. As many educators have discussed the liberal arts education, there are many articles and columns related to this topic. Also, in order to compare these research results to Trinity College, I will use Trinity College’s handbook and website.

While exploring the webs about liberal arts education, I found a case from the University of Chicago on how it changed its curriculum focusing on liberal arts education, led by a former president, Robert Hutchinson in the 1940s. He changed general requirements and required all students to read and discuss Classics and Greek literatures. Despite a strong opposition at that point, the University of Chicago is now well known for building students’ strong foundation for success. Related to my topic, I will find more information about Mr. Hutchinson and the University of Chicago. In this case, I am planning to use WayBack Machine to see how its curriculum and general requirements have changed over time.


  • Blaich, Charles, Anne Bost, Ed Chan, and Richard Lynch. “Defining Liberal Arts Education.” Center of Inquiry in the Liberal Arts, 2004.
  • Eckles, James E. “Evaluating the Efficiency of Top Liberal Arts Colleges.” Research in Higher Education 51.3 (2010): 266–293. CrossRef. Web. 4 Apr. 2014. “Https://” n. pag. Print.
  • Societies, American Council of Learned. Liberal Arts Colleges in American Higher Education: Challenges and Opportunities. American Council of Learned Societies, 2005. Print. 59.
  • Zernike, Kate. “Making College ‘Relevant.’” The New York Times 3 Jan. 2010. Web. 4 Apr. 2014.

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Research Proposal 2014

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Research Question:

How have educators over time explored the importance and success of first generation students in the United States, and how has this had an impact on their achievement compared to students who are also multilingual but have not grown up under these favorable conditions?



Recent evidence shows that first generation students have a significant advantage in achievement because their parents transmit values of motivation which lead them to perform better academically. At the same time, many first generation students, particularly in poor, urban areas may be disadvantaged simply because of their family background brings forth many setbacks in academia.

I first became interested in this topic early in the semester when learning in Education Reform: Past & Present how prominent one’s home life is in deciding one’s success. I grew up in a small town in Connecticut, raised by two Italian parents who immigrated to the United States 26 years ago. I began speaking Italian when I was born, and still hear stories today about how I walked into Pre-K and spent the first week trying to engage in conversation in Italian with other children, all the while receiving many blank stares. I think for a long time there has been a stigma associated with first generation students, or immigrant students in general – one that elicits they will be at a disadvantage because they may have to work twice as hard to do as well as a U.S.-born student. However, while my parents were never able to teach me proper English as they have never taken an English class, I lived each day knowing that the sacrifices they made to stay in the U.S. were for my sister and me. I was taught to put everything into what I did and to be strong in the face of defeat. I learned these values- bravery, courage, a strong work ethic – because I watched my parents exemplify them before my eyes as I watched them lived in a country they still, at times, find to be foreign. These principles transcended into my life in academia – I learned to put 100% into all I do, and thus, while never having the kind of parents who knew about the college process, understood the United States schooling system, or were able to help me with my schoolwork, I did well because I knew that I was being supported by them in other ways, because they had taught me through their actions how striving for greatness can pay off.

I believe this situation is not only limited to my own experience, but also showcased in the experiences of many other first generation students who have been exposed and surrounded by a different culture, way of life, and a myriad of motivation from the sacrifices and efforts of their parents. These social factors that are embedded in the home of most of these first generation students truly can drive them to work harder in school and ultimately succeed more than U.S.-born students because they have that additional weight on their shoulders. Dr. Hao, who was interviewed for an article in NBCLatino which studied this phenomenon, stated: “Immigrants who come to the U.S. are self-selective; they overcome difficulties to create a better life, and foreign-born immigrant parents transmit this motivation, values and expectations to their children,” she explains. Children absorb these expectations and their actions demonstrate a ‘mom and dad made all this sacrifice for me, I better do okay’ type of behavior” (Lilley 1). This subject, commonly referred to as the “immigrant paradox”, should be studied further because over a quarter of U.S. students are first generation Americans, and they account for some of the most successful of students who have left academia and gone into the workforce to become leaders in the world. Their contributions to the U.S. labor force help to boost the economy and ultimately benefit the nation as a whole.

This being said, it would be a mistake to assume that all first generation students succeed more in education than their American peers. There are many who, because of their family background or their location, success is not in the cards. This exemplifies the other side of the story, one where students may experience setbacks because they were not brought up in an environment that was conducive to the American way. Over time, programs have been put in place to branch out to these students to assist them in school.


Research Strategy:

Once I had examined my own experience with the theory I’m looking to test, I did a simple Google search to see what I could find. The first article I read was published by NBC Latino which performed the first study to prove that first generation immigrants normally do better than U.S.-born children. I then researched a number of journals and reports that furthered and broadened my subject matter. I came across studies that explained the correlation between success and first generation youth that delved into the complexities of family life.

My plan in continuing to research this topic is to find articles and reports that rebut the notion that first generation students tend to succeed by expressing the ways that some of these success stories are not typically found in urban areas where poverty is great and success is rare as well as to observe the way educations have looked at first generation students. I will research for reports that express the way first generation students have been treated in schools over time and the ways in which the assimilation of culture affects not only the first generation student, but the rest of the classroom itself.

I will look back into Paul Tough’s Whatever it Takes and use some of his examples of addressing how the home truly is the number one factor in deciding one’s success in education and life. Ultimately, I would like to look at how over time these two competing points have transformed to show how the multilingualism of a person, their experiences, and immigrant parents have a significant affect, both good and bad, on students.



  1. Christensen, Gayle, and Petra Stanat. Language, Policies and Practices for Helping Immigrants and Second-generation Students Succeed. Rep. N.p.: NALDIC, 2007. Web. 3 Apr. 2014.

  • This report will strengthen the second theory I am looking at – one that sees the negatives that evolve in education in the lives of first generation students. It gives a great historical analysis to express the challenges first generation students face.


2. Kao, Grace, and Marta Tienda. “Optimism and Achievement: The Educational Performance of Immigrant Youth.” (1995): n. pag. University of Pennslyvania SelectedWorks. Web. 3 Apr. 2014.

  • This article took my research one step further by explaining in depth what the NCBLatino article tested. It gives a lot of detail by articulating the differences between immigrant families and American families. It also explains the reasoning behind how first generation youth succeed over some of their other peers.


3. Lilley, Sandra. “Study: First Generation Immigrant Children Do Better in School than US-born kids.” NBC Latino. N.p., n.d. Web. 03 Apr. 2014.

  • This short article and study initially sparked my interest in studying this topic further. It gives statistics on the number of first generation immigrants in the U.S. and discussing the study that was done to prove how the “immigrant mentality” has helped to further the lives of first generation students in education.


  4. Tough, Paul.  Whatever It Takes: Geoffrey Canada’s Quest to Change Harlem and AmericaBoston, MA: Houghton Mifflin, Co. Print. 

  • I will use Tough’s book to bring out the theories that prove how significant home life is in deciding one’s achievement in education.

Proposal 2014

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Question:  How has the promotion of Magnet Schools in Hartford changed over time and does this affect whether enrollment of students from suburbs increases or decreases?

Why does this need to be researched?  Before coming to Trinity College, I had never even heard of “Magnet Schools.”  However, after living in Hartford for a year and a half, Magnet Schools have become a topic of weekly discussion in a variety of my classes.  It is clear that they are a relatively new aspect to the educational system, and all of the hype about these schools make them seem revolutionary.    I would like to know if this hype actually translates into the enrollment rates into these schools.  Its is particularly important to focus on whether or not magnet schools are attracting more or less students from the suburbs over time.  This is because one of the  claims that magnet school supporters make is that desegregating schools benefits students’ education.   Magnet School are supposed to be a tool for desegregation.  Part of desegregation requires enrollment of suburban, often white upper-middle class, students to be attracted to magnet schools in the city.  There is a trend of students wanting to leave the urban schools, and enroll in schools outside city.  However, this is rarely reversed, it is not as common for suburban students to be drawn to urban schools.  I am interested in finding out if the promotion of magnet schools has changed over time, and whether or not this promotion attracts more or less students from suburbs.  How “magnetic” are these schools really, and does this follow the trend of increased or decreased promotion of the schools.  It is easy to be blinded by the glaring promotion of Magnet Schools,  therefore it is important to look at the facts surrounding them.  Has the promotion of magnet schools changed over time, and does this translate into increased or decreased enrollment of students, particularly from suburbs?  This is important to research because it offers a viewpoint on whether or not magnet schools are fulfilling their goal of desegregation.

Research Process:

The process of research is always a daunting task for me, so to begin I am going to search online databases such as Trinity College Library’s, ERIC, and GoogleScholar.  I also am planning on scheduling time with a Trinity Librarian so they can assist me in finding the best and most relevant sources.  I am beginning my search by looking for articles that provide an overview of what Magnet Schools are, when they began, distinctive characteristics about them, and the goals of the schools.  I think this type of information will provide a good introduction to my paper.  I also need to research supporters of Magnet Schools and find more information on why Magnet Schools are seen as a desegregation tool.  I know that I cannot rely on just scholarly articles for this type of paper, I need to focus a lot on data.  I will be using the Magnet School Racial Survey By Town of Residence conducted by the Public School Information System for the school years from 2005-2008 to see if magnet school enrollment has changed or remained the same.  I will also find the most recent collection of this data.  I will be looking at magnet school promotional pamphlets generously provided by Jack to see how different magnet schools were advertised in January 2007.  I will compare this to magnet school websites that exist today, such as those on the CSDE website and take note on how their strategies have changed or remained the same.  I will finally analyze my findings and see is there is a relationship between changes in promotional techniques and enrollment.


Arcia, E. (2006). Comparison of the enrollment percentages of magnet and non-magnet schools in a large urban school district. Educational Policy Analysis Archives14(33), 1-16. Retrieved from

Connecticut state department of education. (2002). Retrieved from

Rossell, C. H. (1979). Magnet schools as a desegregation tool. Urban Education, 302-320. Retrieved from html

State of Connecticut Department of Education. (2005).Magnet school racial survey by town of residence . (also 2006, 2007, 2008)

assorted promotional pamphlets from Jan 2007 Magnet schools


Next Step:  I am also interested in looking into whether or not the promotion or “hype” about magnet schools actually matches up with the results these schools produce.  To make this fit the “change and continuity over time” aspect of this paper, I could research school level (or students level) data of test scores or another type of evaluation over the past few years.  I would then analyze this data and from it decide if there seems to be trends in increasing or decreasing performance in magnet schools.  I am hoping to possibly incorporate this into my paper.  I also need to request recent data on student enrollment in magnet schools.

Research Proposal 2014

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Question:  How has the education of Autistic children in the public school system evolved over time in relation to the education of children with other learning disabilities?


Relevance:  Autism is a prominent issue in today’s world because the amount of children being diagnosed is constantly increasing.  Rather than find cures, another option is to educate them to the best ability.  The school system structure is constantly being critiqued and new ideas are always being discussed as we learn in our class.  However, we tend to study the broad reforms throughout history.  There were not always classifications of children with disabilities.   In the past they all fell under the category of “mental retardation”.  I feel it would be interesting to research how the school practices dealt with these children throughout points in history.


Research Strategy:  When beginning research for this project I was not exactly sure where to begin, but I knew I wanted a variety of sources.  In class I really liked the way back machine and I am going to pick a specific region (West Hartford Public School District) and look at the school website.  As well, I am going to find old IEP’s (individualized education programs).  This term was not created until 1975 in the National Handicap law but it was modified before hand.  As well, I will do extensive research in the area of scream rooms, isolation, and discipline tactics used for children with disabilities.  Another aspect I will look for on school websites will be the classification process of identifying children with a learning disability.  I want to compare it to all the documents that I have found from today.  I also want to compare aspects such as due process and parental involvement throughout history.  In order to do this I will try to find average working hours of parents.




A Parent’s Guide to Special Education in Connecticut


The Basic Special Education Process Under IDEA 2004


IEP Manuals and Forms


Evaluating Children for Disability


The History of Special Education: From Isolation to Integration



“I Believe in Inclusion, But…”: Regular Education Early Childhood Teachers’ Perceptions of Successful Inclusion



The Legislation and Litigation History of Special Education



Mentally Retarded Citizens: Challenges for the 1970’s


National Autism Prevalence Trends From United States Special Education Data