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Media Contacts

Debbie O'Leary
School of Education

Kim Metcalf
School of Education

Kathleen Boyle
School of Education

Eric Ban
School of Education

Learning Matters

The Cleveland Voucher Program has been set up in a way that influences who uses vouchers. This potentially could influence the overall effectiveness of the program. According to Kim Metcalf, associate professor of education in the department of Curriculum and Instruction at IU Bloomington and primary investigator for the study, a possible deterrent to the success of the voucher program lies in the fact that many of the poorest students are unable to participate in the program. Transportation issues along with a mandatory 10 percent or maximum $250 fee prevent certain groups from accepting vouchers even if they qualify for the program. "If the poorest students are unable to accept vouchers because of transportation or cost constraints, the program is not really meeting its original purpose," Metcalf said. For more information, contact Metcalf at 812-856-8159 or

A new commitment by the Ohio legislature has revived a study of the Cleveland Voucher Program, said Kim Metcalf, associate professor of education in the department of Curriculum and Instruction at IU Bloomington and primary investigator for the study. Funding issues had initially sidelined further evaluation of the voucher program, but now researchers will collect their eighth year of data for the study, which is the longest voucher-study program in the country. The longitudinal study is following a group of 1,000 Cleveland voucher students from first grade -- most of the students are now in sixth grade -- to determine whether they are doing better in private schools compared to their public school peers. The 5,000 public school students selected for comparison are divided into four subsets: students who applied for vouchers but weren't accepted into the program; students who were awarded vouchers but didn't use them; students who used vouchers for one or more years but returned to public school; and students who chose never to apply for the voucher program. "The findings from the various comparison subsets differ enough to include them when studying the effects of vouchers," Metcalf said. "The subset comparisons and the length of the study are what make our study unique." For more information, contact Metcalf at 812-856-8159 or

To increase female participation and success in male-dominated disciplines, improved socialization and mentoring will be needed. Currently, women hold less than 10 percent of faculty positions in science, mathematics and engineering disciplines. Kathleen Boyle, coordinator of the higher education and student affairs master's degree program at Indiana University Bloomington, recently interviewed a group of female faculty members in male-dominated fields to determine their own socialization process. She discovered that the majority of women were encouraged to take math and science courses, and nearly all had one or both parents who had worked in science, math, engineering or related fields. The women did not consider their interest in science, math and engineering unusual until they went to college. "They were struck by the fact that they were sometimes the only females in their college classes," said Boyle. The women also raised concerns regarding gender during the mentoring stage as well as earlier stages in their career development. "When building mentoring systems, it's vital for women to work with key people in the field and identify mentors who talk the language of the profession. Oftentimes, these turn out to be men," Boyle said. "It's also important for faculty development programs not to send out negative messages, such as that women are strong teachers but lack research interest." For more information, contact Boyle at 812-856-8382 or

In order to create more teacher leaders in schools, the IU Bloomington School of Education has created a master's degree program called Practicing Leadership for Teaching and Learning. According to program coordinator Eric Ban, the program was developed after extensive conversations with teachers and administrators who expressed a need for a flexible master's-level program that would "provide a relevant and engaging curriculum that meets the professional and personal needs of future teacher leaders." The first cohort of the two-year, 36-credit program will begin in May. Classes will provide active classroom teachers a broad range of leadership experiences focusing on topics such as legal issues, action research, diversity, curriculum development, social issues, and assessment and accountability. The main programmatic approach is to build communities that support learning for all children in a culture of continuous improvement. "The school district is providing time for teachers to engage in leadership activities to support their schools," said Ban, who will serve as a liaison between the teachers and the School of Education. "Teachers will, in essence, become instructional coaches, helping to foster teacher growth and development through professional collaboration." For more information, contact Ban at 812-856-8245 or