To access course readings, please sign in. If you are unable to sign in or access readings, please contact the course teaching assistant, Ken Shores, at

Feinstein, Noah R.; Fielding, Krista; Udvari-Solner, Alice; Joshi, Shashank V., 2009

Research indicates that the therapeutic alliance between therapist and pediatric patient is most elective in the context of a productive supporting alliance—an alliance encompassing the network of relationships among therapists, parents and teachers. In this essay, we develop a model of the supporting alliance, arguing that the child's primary relationships with various parties (therapists, teachers, and parents) imply a set of secondary relationships among those parties (parent-therapist, therapist-teacher, parent teacher). We review the literature on these secondary relationships, focusing on their nature and discussing the benefits of and obstacles to establishing productive collaborations in each case. We also describe three sorts of pathology that can afflict the supporting alliance as a whole, and discuss the importance of patient autonomy and therapist-patient confidentiality relative to the supporting alliance- Finally, we identify directions for future research and highlight implications for practice.

Kimberly S. Adams and Sandra L. Christenson, University of Minnesota, 2000

Trust between parents and teachers is a vital element in building and maintaining the family–school relationship. Parents (n ! 1,234) and teachers (n ! 209) from a first-ring suburban school district were surveyed about issues of trust in the family–school relationship. Results indicated higher levels of parent trust and teacher trust at the elementary level than at middle or high school levels. Additionally, differences in trust levels between teachers and parents at elementary and high school levels were found, with parent trust being significantly higher. Improving home–school communication was identified as a primary way to enhance trust. Also, the perceived quality of family–school interaction was a better predictor of trust than was the frequency of contact or demographic variables. Trust was positively correlated with three indicators of school performance. Implications for school personnel to make more systematic efforts toward building trust between parents and teachers throughout a child’s academic career are discussed.

Greg Duncan and Richard Murnane, The Atlantic, February 2014

Rising income inequality over the past 40 years has imposed a double burden on schools serving low-income children. First, the technological changes and globalization that have fueled inequality have also increased the skills required for good jobs—which means that schools need to teach higher-level skills if their graduates are to secure jobs that pay middle-class wages. And second, increasing income inequality has led to residential changes that have concentrated poor children in one set of schools and higher-income children in another. But these programs are doing a good job of educating low-income students...

Many school systems already have in place “early warning systems” to keep their students on track to high school graduation. The College Readiness Indicator Systems (CRIS) framework looks beyond high school graduation and college eligibility, and seeks to promote a more systematic way to fostering college readiness that includes a range of appropriate indicators, supports linked to those indicators, a reliable data infrastructure, and the system-wide capacity to use data to inform interventions and strategies.

Greg J. Duncan, and Richard J. Murnane, Phi Delta Kappan March 2014 vol. 95 no. 6 8-14

The first of two articles in consecutive months describes the origins and nature of growing income inequality, and some of its consequences for American children. It documents the increased family income inequality that’s occurred over the past 40 years and shows that the increased income disparity has been more than matched by an expanding gap between the amounts of money that low- and high-income parents spend on enrichment activities for their children. It also shows that the growth in income inequality has been accompanied by increasing gaps in academic achievement. The article draws from the first part of the author’s recent book, Restoring Opportunity: The Crisis of Inequality and the Challenge for American Education (Harvard Education Press and the Russell Sage Foundation, 2014).

The second part to the series, also drawn from Restoring Opportunity, describes ideas based on proven policy approaches that will enable the country to make progress on the enormous task of restoring the educational opportunities that children from low-income families need if they are to lead productive and fulfilling lives.

In this statement we present the rationale for putting children at the center of an integrated set of post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals.

Download publication here:

Carol S. Dweck, 2014

The media tell us we’ve produced a generation of young people who can’t get through the day without an award—a generation that expects success because they are special, not because they’ve worked hard. Is this true? Have we held back our students?

I believe American students have been held back by two beliefs that many educators hold:

  1. The belief that praising students’ intelligence builds their confidence and motivation to learn, and
  2. The belief that students’ inherent intelligence is the major cause of their school achievement

Our research has shown that the first belief is false and that the second belief can be harmful—even for very able students.

For over 35 years I have been studying students’ motivation. We (my students and I) have studied thousands of children, asking why some enjoy learning, even when it’s hard, and are resilient in the face of obstacles. We have learned a great deal. In this article, I will describe research that shows how to praise children in ways that, in fact, yield motivation and resilience. I will also describe interventions that reverse students’ slide into failure during the vulnerable period of adolescence, bringing renewed motivation and learning.

Both lines of work highlight the importance of students’ mindsets and, in particular, their belief that their intellectual abilities—rather than being innate and fixed—can be enhanced through their efforts. Let me begin by describing students’ mindsets and their impact.

Christina Weiland and Hirokazu Yoshikawa, 2013

Publicly funded prekindergarten programs have achieved small-to-large impacts on children’s cognitive outcomes. The current study examined the impact of a prekindergarten program that implemented a coaching system and consistent literacy, language, and mathematics curricula on these and other non targeted, essential components of school readiness, such as executive functioning. Participants included 2,018 four and five-year old children. Findings indicated that the program had moderate-to-large impacts on children’s language, literacy, numeracy and mathematics skills, and small impacts on children’s executive functioning and a measure of emotion recognition. Some impacts were considerably larger for some subgroups. For urban public school districts, results inform important programmatic decisions. For policy makers, results confirm that prekindergarten programs can improve educationally vital outcomes for children in meaningful, important ways.