2009 NCLB Conference Speakers

Dale Ballou

Vanderbilt University

Dr. Dale Ballou is Associate Professor of Public Policy and Education in the Department of Leadership, Policy, and Organizations at Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College and Associate Director of the National Center on School Choice. Ballou’s research focuses on policies affecting education reform— in particular, the role of incentives and regulation in the training, recruitment, and retention of teachers. His recent research focuses on educational assessment and accountability systems and in recent years, he has developed a national reputation as an authority on educational assessment and accountability systems. His work with William Sanders and Paul Wright of the SAS Institute appeared in a special 2004 issue of the Journal of Educational and Behavioral Studies devoted to value-added assessment. Ballou has testified before the U.S. House of Representatives on education issues and has advised the Massachusetts legislature on policies related to school financing, teacher licensure, and teacher compensation. Before receiving his Ph.D. in economics from Yale University, Ballou spent several years teaching in various settings, including a middle school in Indiana, an adult education center in New Haven, Connecticut, and a private school in Massachusetts.

Michael Casserly

Council of the Great City Schools

Dr. Michael Casserly has served as Executive Director of the Council of the Great City Schools since January 1992. Casserly also served as the organization’s Director of Legislation and Research for 15 years before assuming his current position. As head of the Council Casserly unified big city schools nationwide around a vision of reform and improvement; launched an aggressive research program on trends in urban education; convened the first Education Summit of Big City Mayors and Superintendents; and led the nation’s largest urban school districts to volunteer for the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). He also led the first national study of common practices among the nation’s fastest improving urban school districts, and launched national task forces on achievement gaps, leadership and governance, finance, professional development, and bilingual education. He is considered by many to be one of Washington’s best education advocates and lobbyists, and an expert on urban education, governance, finance, and federal legislation and policy. Washington Almanac listed Casserly as one of Washington D.C.’s 400 most powerful individuals, and USA Today calls Casserly a “crusader” for city schoolchildren. Casserly has appeared on numerous television and radio shows, including the “Julian Bond Show,” “All Things Considered,” and “Larry King Live”. He is currently spearheading efforts to boost academic performance in the nation’s big city schools, strengthening management and operations, challenging inequitable state financing systems, and improving the public’s image of urban education. He is a U.S. Army veteran, and holds a Ph.D. from the University of Maryland.

David N. Figlio

Northwestern University/CALDER

Dr. David N. Figlio is the Orrington Lunt Professor of Education and Social Policy, and Professor of Human Development and Social Policy, and Economics (by courtesy) at Northwestern University. Figlio is Co-Investigator with CALDER at the Urban Institute, Fellow at the Institute for Policy Research, and Associate with the Institute for Research on Poverty at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is the inaugural co-editor of the American Education Finance Association’s journal, Education Finance and Policy (MIT Press). Figlio’s research centers on education and social policy, with a particular focus on school accountability, standards, welfare policy, and policy design. In recent work, Figlio has examined the efficacy of pre-kindergarten programs and the determinants and effects of teacher expectations on students and he has studied the intended and unintended consequences of accountability systems such as the Florida Corporate Tax Credit Scholarship Program, the largest school voucher program in the U.S, on student outcomes. He holds a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Umut Özek presented Figlio’s paper.

Brian Gill

Mathematica Policy Research, Inc.

Dr. Brian Gill is Senior Social Scientist and Associate Director at Mathematica Policy Research in Cambridge, MA. His research addresses a variety of topics in K-12 education policy, including charter schools, NCLB, and supplemental educational services (SES). Currently Gill is directing a federally funded evaluation to assess the achievement effects of SES provided under NCLB. He is also completing a study of the impact of NCLB’s accountability regime in schools that fall short of adequate yearly progress standards. Gill previously served as senior advisor for school choice and SES on the U.S. Department of Education’s National Longitudinal Study of NCLB. He directs the National Study of the Effectiveness of Charter-School Management Organizations, and is Principal Investigator on the first nationwide evaluation of the effects of KIPP schools. He recently completed a multi-state study of the achievement and attainment effects of charter schools, producing the first estimates of the effects of charter schools on high-school graduation and college entry rates. Gill was lead author of Rhetoric vs. Reality: What We Know and What We Need to Know about Vouchers and Charter Schools (2001, revised 2007). He holds a Ph.D. in Jurisprudence and Social Policy and J.D. from the University of California at Berkeley.

Steven M. Glazerman

Mathematica Policy Research, Inc.

Dr. Steven Glazerman is a senior researcher at Mathematica Policy Research. His research has focused on policy experiments related to teacher labor markets and the use of student achievement data to measure teacher, school, and program performance. Having conducted large scale national impact evaluations of Job Corps and Teach for America, Glazerman is currently leading an experimental evaluation of the Teacher Advancement Program in Chicago. He also leads federally sponsored experiments on a national scale studying teacher incentives and teacher induction and he advises the DC Public Schools on value-added methods for evaluating teachers. Glazerman joined Mathematica in 1998 after receiving his Ph.D. from the Harris School of Public Policy at the University of Chicago.

Jane Hannaway

The Urban Institute/CALDER

Dr. Jane Hannaway is Senior Fellow and founding Director of the Education Policy Center at the Urban Institute, where she oversees the work of the Center and is a member of the Institute’s senior management team. Hannaway is also the Director and overall Principal Investigator of CALDER at the Urban Institute. She is an organizational sociologist whose work focuses on the effects of education reforms on student outcomes as well as on school policies and practices. Her recent research is heavily focused on the effects of various accountability policies and issues associated with teacher labor markets. She is co-author/ editor of seven books and numerous articles in education and management journals. She has held a number of national positions and currently serves on the National Academy Committee on Value-Added Methodology for Instructional Improvement, Program Evaluation and Accountability and previously served on the faculty of Columbia, Princeton, and Stanford Universities. She holds a Ph.D. in Education from Stanford University.

Carolyn J. Heinrich

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Dr. Carolyn J. Heinrich is Director of the La Follette School of Public Affairs, Professor of Public Affairs and Affiliated Professor of Economics, and a Regina Loughlin Scholar at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her research focuses on human capital development and social welfare policy, public management, and econometric methods for social program evaluation. Heinrich works directly in her research with governments at all levels and internationally, including currently with the U.S. federal government in evaluating workforce development programs; the state of Wisconsin on welfare and child-support programs; public school districts in the evaluation of educational interventions; and other national governments on their social and human capital development programs. She is the author of more than 50 peer-reviewed publications to date, including four co-authored/edited books. In 2004, she received the David N. Kershaw Award for distinguished contributions to the field of public policy analysis and management by a person under the age of 40. She holds a Ph.D. in public policy from the University of Chicago.

Frederick M. Hess

American Enterprise Institute

Dr. Frederick Hess is Director of Education Policy Studies at the American Enterprise Institute and an educator, political scientist, and author. He is known for his scholarship on education issues including: the politics of school reform, urban education, district governance, accountability, professional licensure, school choice, and the nature of public education. His books include Common Sense School Reform, Revolution at the Margins, Spinning Wheels, Leaving No Child Behind?, A Qualified Teacher in Every Classroom?, and Bringing the Social Sciences Alive. His work has appeared in scholarly journals including the Harvard Educational Review, Teachers College Record, and Urban Affairs Review, and major media outlets such as the Washington Post, U.S. News and World Report, Forbes, and National Review. A former high school social studies teacher, he has taught education and policy at universities including Georgetown, Harvard, and the University of Pennsylvania. He serves as Executive Editor of Education Next, a faculty associate with Harvard’s Program on Education Policy and Governance, and on the board of directors for the National Association of Charter School Authorizers and the review board for the Broad Prize in Urban Education. He holds a M.Ed. in teaching and curriculum and an M.A. and Ph.D. in government from Harvard University.

Lindsay Hunsicker

Senate Committee – Health, Education, Labor & Pensions (R)

Lindsay Hunsicker is currently the Senior Education Policy Advisor for Senator Mike Enzi (R-WY) on the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee. Her portfolio for the Committee focuses on the Elementary and Secondary Education Act and the Head Start Act, but also includes education research, early childhood education, and child care issues. Prior to coming to the Committee, Hunsicker served as a Senior Legislative Assistant for Senator John Ensign (R-NV) for six years. In that position Hunsicker’s portfolio included education, labor, human services, and pension issues. She began her work on Capitol Hill with Senator Gordon Smith (R-OR). She holds a B.A. from the University of Washington.

C. Kirabo Jackson

Cornell University

Dr. Kirabo Jackson is Assistant Professor in the Labor Economics Department at the ILR School, Cornell University and is Faculty Research Fellow at the National Bureau of Economic Research. His research interests span the fields of labor economics, public finance, and applied econometrics, with a focus on the economics of education. Much of his research has focused on the role of teachers in the K-12 system. Specifically, his recent work analyzes the role of peer learning among teachers in determining teacher effectiveness, how student demographics directly affect the distribution of teacher quality across schools, and how policies that reward teachers (and students) for student achievement improve student outcomes. His work has appeared in leading economics journals such as the American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, the Journal of Labor Economics, and the Journal of Human Resources, as well as education-centered journals such as Education Next, and his research has been featured in numerous news outlets including the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, and USA Today. He has authored publications analyzing education policy both inside and outside the United States. He holds a Ph.D. in economics from Harvard University.

Brian A. Jacob

University of Michigan

Dr. Brian A. Jacob is the Walter H. Annenberg Professor of Education Policy, Professor of Economics, and Director of the Center on Local, State and Urban Policy (CLOSUP) at the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy. He is also Faculty Research Fellow at the National Bureau of Economic Research and an Executive Committee Member of the National Poverty Center. He previously served as a policy analyst in the New York City Mayor’s Office and taught middle school in East Harlem. Jacob’s primary fields of interest are labor economics, program evaluation, and the economics of education. His current research focuses on urban school reform and teacher labor markets. In recent work, he has examined school choice, education accountability programs, housing vouchers, and teacher labor markets. He holds a Ph.D. in public policy from the University of Chicago.

John M. Krieg

Western Washington University

Dr. John M. Krieg is Associate Professor of Economics and the Director of the Office of Survey Research at Western Washington University. Dr. Krieg’s research interests include labor economics, applied econometrics, and money and banking. His recent papers in K-12 education analyze the role of teacher quality on labor market attrition, the extent to which schools versus students determine adequate yearly progress, and the impacts of NCLB on students of different abilities and races. In addition, Krieg has published on higher education topics including the impact of faculty unions on the level and distribution of wages across disciplines. He was elected to the Lynden (WA) School Board of Directors in 2003 and 2007 and served as its president for 3 years. Prior to joining Western Washington University, Krieg was a faculty member at the United States Naval Academy. He holds a B.A. from Northwestern University and an M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Oregon.

Helen (Sunny) Ladd

Duke University/CALDER

Dr. Helen Ladd is the Edgar Thompson Professor of Public Policy Studies and Professor of Economics at Duke University. She is a prolific researcher in the field of education policy and a member of the CALDER management team. With Edward Fiske, Ladd is the editor of The Handbook of Research on Educational Finance and Policy, the official handbook of the American Education Finance Association. She is also the editor of Holding Schools Accountable: Performance-Based Reform in Education and the coauthor (with Edward Fiske) of When Schools Compete: A Cautionary Tale From 1996-1999. Ladd co-chaired the National Academy of Sciences Committee on Education Finance. During the past few years she has written articles on charter schools, school-based accountability, market-based reforms in education, parental choice and competition, and a series of papers on teacher quality and student achievement. Currently she is continuing her research on teacher labor markets and teacher quality using North Carolina data. She holds a Ph.D. in economics from Harvard University.

Douglas L. Lauen

University of North Carolina

Dr. Douglas L. Lauen is Assistant Professor of Public Policy at the Carolina Institute for Public Policy at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He specializes in educational policy, research methods, and urban school reform. His current research includes studies of school choice, school-based accountability, school poverty composition, and teacher working conditions. He wrote his dissertation on the causes and consequences of Chicago’s public school choice programs and has published on the public school choice provisions of NCLB. While pursuing his doctorate, Lauen was affiliated with the Data Research and Development Center and at the Consortium on Chicago School Research, where he co-authored a report on educational technology in Chicago Public Schools. Between 2000 and 2006, Lauen was the lead faculty for a course he designed for New Leaders for New Schools (a school principal training program) called Computer Tools for School Productivity. He holds an M.P.P. in Public Policy from the University of Chicago and a Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Chicago.

Bethany Little

Senate Committee – Health, Education, Labor & Pensions (D)

Bethany Little is Chief Education Counsel to Senator Kennedy in his role as Chairman of the Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions. She is responsible for legislation governing early childhood programs, elementary and secondary education, higher education and workforce training. Prior to joining the Senate HELP Committee staff, she was Vice President for Policy and Federal Advocacy at the Alliance for Excellent Education where she guided the Alliance’s policy work on high school reform, accountability and school improvement, adolescent literacy and college preparation. Little came to the Alliance from the Children’s Defense Fund, where, as Director of Government Relations, she managed advocacy efforts and provided policy direction. From 2001-2003, Little worked in the office of U.S. Senator Patty Murray (WA) as a Legislative Assistant focused on education, welfare, children and families issues. Prior to that, she was Associate Director for the White House Domestic Policy Council serving as an education policy advisor to President Clinton and Vice President Gore. She has held positions at the U.S. Department of Education, Council for Excellence in Government, the Presidential Inaugural Committee, and Clinton/Gore ’96. She is a graduate of Georgetown University with a B.S. in Foreign Service.

Susanna Loeb

Stanford University/CALDER

Dr. Susanna Loeb is Professor of Education at Stanford University, specializing in the economics of education and the relationship between schools and federal, state and local policies, and Associate Professor of Business (by courtesy) at Stanford. She is Director of the Institute for Research on Education Policy and Practice at Stanford, Co-director of Policy Analysis for California Education (PACE), and Faculty Research Fellow with the National Bureau of Economic Research. Loeb is a member of the CALDER management team. Her research focuses particularly on school finance, teacher labor markets and resource allocation, looking specifically at how teachers’ preferences and teacher preparation policies affect the distribution of teaching quality across schools and how the structure of state finance systems affects the level and distribution of funds to districts. She also studies poverty policies, including welfare reform and early-childhood education programs. Loeb has authored many publications, including Estimating the Effects of School Finance Reform: A Framework for a Federalist System (Journal of Public Economics) and Explaining the Short Careers of High-Achieving Teachers in Schools with Low-Performing Students (American Economic Review). She holds a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Michigan.

Umut Özek

he Urban Institute/CALDER

Dr. Umut Özek will join the Urban Institute as a Research Associate with the Education Policy Center this fall. He is an affiliated researcher with CALDER at the Urban Institute. His research interests include the economics of education, public economics, and health economics. Dr. Özek’s recent research focuses on school choice reforms with emphasis on open enrollment programs, investigating the empirical aspects of such programs by analyzing their impact on households’ public school choice behavior and student outcomes as well as the theoretical aspect by evaluating different assignment mechanisms that are commonly used to implement these programs. He holds an M.A. in Economics from the University of Colorado at Denver and a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Florida.

Matthew J. Pepper

Vanderbilt University/NCPI

Matthew J. Pepper currently works in a large, urban district as the Coordinator of Research and Data Quality, and is also on staff at the National Center on Performance Incentives at Peabody College. Matthew began his career in policy at the Tennessee Department of Education while simultaneously earning an Ed.D. in Education Leadership and Policy from Peabody College, Vanderbilt University. Pepper has integrated multiple department-based management information systems into a single district-wide data warehouse, and is currently finalizing preparations for a student incentive experiment for students enrolled in Supplemental Educational Services. Pepper’s first book, Leading Schools During Crisis (with T.D. London, M.L. Dishman, and J.L. Lewis) will be released this fall.

Randall Reback

Columbia University

Dr. Randall Reback is Assistant Professor of Economics at Barnard College and Faculty Fellow at Columbia University’s Institute for Social and Economic Research and Policy. His research focuses on public economics, especially in relation to domestic education policies. His prior research on school accountability includes a study, published in the Journal of Public Economics, examining the impact of Texas schools’ accountability incentives on the distribution of student achievement across ability levels and across academic subjects. Another published study, co-authored with Dr. Julie Cullen, analyzes how schools’ accountability incentives influenced the timing and racial composition of special education and limited-English-proficient classifications. Reback has written papers related to inter-district school choice policies, the local political economy of public school revenues, teacher labor markets, and the impact of schools’ mental health services on young children’s behavior and academic performance. Prior to receiving his Ph.D. in economics from the University of Michigan he taught 5th grade at a public school in northern California.

Steven G. Rivkin

Amherst College/CALDER

Dr. Steven G. Rivkin is Professor of Economics and Chair of the Department of Economics at Amherst College, Associate Director of Research with the Texas Schools Project at the University of Texas at Dallas, Fellow at the National Bureau of Economic Research, and Co-principal Investigator with CALDER at the Urban Institute. He is a member of the Town of Amherst School Committee. His research centers on the economics and sociology of education. Rivkin has written extensively on teacher quality, teacher labor markets, class size effects, school spending, and school desegregation and also authored studies on the effectiveness of charter schools and parental responsiveness to charter school quality, special education, student mobility, peer influences, and the effects of air pollution on absenteeism. He holds a Ph.D. in economics from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).

Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach

University of Chicago


Dr. Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach is Assistant Professor of Economics in the Harris School of Public Policy Studies at the University of Chicago. She is affiliated with the Center on Human Potential and Public Policy and the Population Research Center and is a research consultant at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. She studies education policy, child health, and food consumption. Her work on food stamps has measured how households alter their consumption of food and other goods when they receive food stamp benefits, and whether increased benefits improve the health of recipients. Her most recent work investigates the impact of school accountability policies (such as the Federal No Child Left Behind Act) and school reform policies (such as small schools and charter schools) on student performance and other outcomes. In addition, she has used the Project STAR experiment to study the impact of classroom composition and class size on student outcomes. Currently, she is studying the impact of school policies such as school lunches and availability of recess and gym class on child obesity. In 1996 and 1997 she worked for the President’s Council of Economic Advisers. She graduated magna cum laude from Wellesley College with a B.A. in economics and religion, and holds a Ph.D. in economics from Princeton University.

David P. Sims

Brigham Young University

Dr. David P. Sims is Assistant Professor in the Department of Economics at Brigham Young University. His research interests include numerous topics in public and labor economics with a special focus on the economics of education. Much of his recent research involves the empirical investigation of the unintended consequences brought about by incentives in education reform programs. These include the effects of class size reduction on the performance of students and the effects of high stakes accountability programs on teachers, students, and school calendars. He has also investigated the role of mobility in teacher compensation and the long-run value of teacher value-added for students. His work has appeared in leading economics journals such as the Journal of Human Resources and the Journal of Urban Economics as well as cross disciplinary venues such as the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management. He holds a Ph.D. in economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Matthew G. Springer

Vanderbilt University

Dr. Matthew G. Springer is Director of the National Center for Performance Incentives and Research Assistant Professor of Public Policy and Education. Springer’s education policy research focuses on the impact of policy on resource allocation decisions and student outcomes. His current research includes studies of the impact of performance-based incentives on student achievement and teacher turnover, mobility, and quality; the strategic resource allocation decision making of schools in response to No Child Left Behind; and the impact of school finance litigation on resource distribution. Springer has served on several advisory committees charged with designing performance-based compensation systems for teachers and/or principals at the state and district level, and conducted analyses of school finance systems in Alaska, Kentucky, and South Carolina. Prior to joining the faculty at Vanderbilt University, Springer was a teacher and administrator at a boarding school in upstate New York. He holds a B.A. from Denison University and an M.A. and Ph.D. from Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College.