2019 Faculty Education experts

Teacher Appreciation Week is May 6-10, 2019. Faculty at the University of South Carolina are available to discuss a variety of topics related to education, ranging from teacher shortages, impact on elections, special education and standardized testing. To arrange interviews, contact the staff member listed with entry below.

How teachers could impact election outcomes

Jon Hale, an education professor, can speak to how South Carolina’s 51,000 public school teachers could impact future election outcomes. His research focuses on the history of American education, specifically the history of student and teacher activism, grassroots education reform efforts and the intersection of race and policy in the field of education. He says grassroots social media efforts are growing in South Carolina, with some groups including more than 20,000 members, advocating for increased pay, policy changes and improved working conditions for educators.

News contact: Kathryn McPhail at 803-777-8841 or mcphailk@mailbox.sc.edu.


Education law, school funding and teacher strikes

Derek Black, a professor in the School of Law, is one of the nation’s foremost scholars of education law and policy, with a particular focus on school funding and how it intersects with quality teaching and student outcomes. His commentary regularly appears in mass media and his analysis in federal and state litigation, including before the U.S. Supreme Court. Most recently, he has focused on how school budget cuts led to teacher strikes and protests and what policies might to remedy the underlying problems.

News contact: Rob Schaller at 803-777-5611 or rschaller@sc.edu.


Effectiveness of standardized testing

James D. Kirylo, education professor, questions the educational value of the increase in standardized testing and whether it is a wise use of taxpayer dollars. Each year, more than 100 million standardized tests are administered to public school students in the United States – with most students taking anywhere between 60-100 standardized test by the time they graduate from high school. Annually, standardized testing costs the states approximately $1.7 billion. Compare that to the 1950s, when students would take about three standardized tests from kindergarten to 12th grade.

News contact: Kathryn McPhail at 803-777-8841 or mcphailk@mailbox.sc.edu


Special education teacher crisis

Special education professor Kate Ascetta can address South Carolina’s critical need for special educators. Special education vacancies make up the largest share – nearly 20 percent – of unfilled teaching positions in the state. Last year, about 100 special education jobs went unfilled statewide. To prepare more special educators, the College of Education launched a series of online certification courses for early childhood teachers – specifically those who serve children from birth to third grade. Also, students in the early childhood education program at the University of South Carolina may choose to earn this six-course certification while completing an undergraduate degree. Previously, special education courses were only taught at the master’s degree level.

News contact: Kathryn McPhail at 803-777-8841 or mcphailk@mailbox.sc.edu


Positive impact of bilingual education

Eurydice Bauer is an education professor who is collaborating with three Midlands area school districts, which house language immersion programs, to research how multilingual education benefits students and how schools can implement education programs. Research shows bilingualism enhances cognitive abilities, student achievement, career possibilities and even mental health. Students who completed at least four years of foreign language study scored more than 100 points higher on each section of the SAT than their classmates with less foreign language instruction. To promote bilingual education in South Carolina, Bauer recently opened a new center within the College of Education called Bilingualism Matters at UofSC, a branch of an international organization headquartered at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland with branches in Europe and the United States.

News contact: Kathryn McPhail at 803-777-8841 or mcphailk@mailbox.sc.edu.


Effective communication with your child’s teacher

Beth White, education professor and long-time teacher, offers advice to parents and caregivers for improving effective communication with teachers. From a quick meet-and-greet to a more formal parent conference, White says knowing when and how to approach your child’s teacher can make a huge difference in getting the results you want.

News contact: Kathryn McPhail at 803-777-8841 or mcphailk@mailbox.sc.edu.


Reducing test anxiety

Eva Monsma, physical education professor of developmental sport psychology, explains how applying sport psychology skills such as mindfulness, mental practice, goal setting and progressive relaxation can help to reduce testing anxiety.

News contact: Kathryn McPhail at 803-777-8841 or mcphailk@mailbox.sc.edu.