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Webinar: Engaging English Learners with Rigorous Academic Content

Improving achievement for English learners by strengthening educational policy and practice would contribute meaningfully to reducing inequality in the outcomes of young people in the United States.

In this webinar, Foundation president Adam Gamoran outlines lessons from the literature on academic tracking, which may yield new directions for research toward this end. Karen Thompson, of Oregon State University, and Ilana Umansky, of the University of Oregon, also provide insights from their own research on these topics, and Foundation program officer Vivian Louie discusses funding opportunities for researchers.

About the Presenters

Adam Gamoran is the president of the William T. Grant Foundation. From 1984 to 2013, Gamoran served on the faculty of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he held the John D. MacArthur Chair in Sociology and Educational Policy Studies. From 2001-2004, Gamoran chaired the Department of Sociology, and from 2004-2013 he directed the Wisconsin Center for Education Research. His research focused on educational inequality and school reform. He is an elected member of the National Academy of Education and the American Academy of Arts & Sciences and was twice appointed by President Obama to serve on the National Board for Education Sciences.

Vivian Louie is a program officer at the William T. Grant Foundation where she manages the Foundation’s funding programs on reducing inequality. Prior to joining the Foundation, she was the Thomas Tam Visiting Professor in the Department of Urban Affairs and Planning at Hunter College, and on the faculty in education and sociology at Harvard University. Her research has focused on understanding the factors that shape success along the educational pipeline among immigrants and the children of immigrants.

Karen Thompson is an Assistant Professor in the College of Education at Oregon State University. Her research focuses on how curriculum and instruction, teacher education, and policy interact to shape the classroom experiences of multilingual students in K-12 schools. Thompson frequently collaborates with education agencies in researcher-practitioner partnerships to analyze longitudinal data about multilingual students in novel ways that inform policy and practice.

Ilana Umansky is an Assistant Professor of Educational Methodology, Policy, and Leadership at the University of Oregon. Her work explores how education policy impacts and influences the educational opportunities and outcomes of immigrant and English learner-classified students using longitudinal and quasi-experimental methods. She is particularly interested in topics such as labeling and tracking as she focuses on how to create equitable school systems for immigrant and emergent bilingual students.

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