Education Opinion

skoolboy Peeks out of the Closet

By skoolboy — August 28, 2008 2 min read
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Now that eduwonkette has revealed herself as Columbia doctoral student Jennifer Jennings, skoolboy is gingerly sticking his head out of the closet and looking around. (If I see my shadow, I may go back inside for another six weeks.) skoolboy is Aaron Pallas, a Professor of Sociology and Education at Teachers College, Columbia University. I study inequalities that are created and perpetuated by the ways schools sort and select children and youth, and the role that education plays in individuals’ adult lives. Recently, I went on the record in the New York Sun on a topic near and dear to eduwonkette’s heart: the failure of New York City to make substantial progress in reducing the achievement gap among different racial and ethnic groups.

What’s my relationship to eduwonkette? She took a couple of courses with me, and I’m on her dissertation committee. (Her dissertation contrasts the consequences of accountability systems in education and medicine. A provocative entry into the topic is her Ed Week commentary, under her own name, here.) More importantly, though, we’ve been collaborating on a series of studies that look at the mechanisms by which some New York City schools garner more resources than others. All of the qualities that make her blog compelling and so much fun are just as evident in her approach to academic research.

eduwonkette said the other day that she stands behind everything she wrote under the pseudonym. I do too, on substance, but I’m not as sure about tone. I think the conventions of blogging, especially anonymously, allow for shooting from the hip quite easily, and my usual writing is more painstaking. (More long-winded than my interminable dreary posts? Yep.) Also, I think that sometimes I try to emulate eduwonkette’s style, which is appealing—and she is expert at it—but I’m not skilled enough to pull it off. So if I’ve offended anyone through my tone, either in the past or in the future, my apologies.

Finally, unlike eduwonkette, I did become an academic to talk to five guys in a room with transparencies. Only now, we use PowerPoint.

And I’m so glad it’s no longer just guys.

Apologies to Ed Week: earlier, I said that only subscribers could get to eduwonkette’s Ed Week article on accountability and risk adjustment in education and medicine. You can get to it through the link above. eduwonkette’s better at the technology than I am, too. And while I have the floor: Thanks, Ed Week, for giving eduwonkette the space to create such an interesting forum for discussions of education research and policy.

The opinions expressed in eduwonkette are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.