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October 7, 2006

A Profile of the UW's William Reese

Susan Troller:

When publications like the New York Times want an expert to comment on the big issues facing public schools like testing or immigration, it's a University of Wisconsin-Madison professor they're likely to call.

Relatively unknown in his adopted hometown, history and educational policy studies professor William Reese is able offer a long view on these kinds of perennial hot-button issues that resonate across the country, and provoke local debate, too.

In one recent New York Times story about schools cutting back on other subjects to concentrate on math and reading so their students will perform better on nationally mandated testing, Reese explained that President Bush's No Child Left Behind Act has leveraged one of the most abrupt instructional shifts in education history.


But when asked to apply his knowledge to how our Madison schools work, and how the public responds to them, he shrugs off the questions, saying he is only an outside observer. He and his wife, Carol, do not have children; he says any knowledge he has about local school affairs comes only from living in the city and having friends who are teachers in the Madison Metropolitan School District.

"I suspect Madison can be seen as a microcosm of what is going on throughout the rest of the country," Reese said in a recent interview in his book-lined Bascom Hill office. "There are many extraordinarily well educated people here, and they have very high expectations of what kind of education their children are receiving."

Reese's website.

Posted by Jim Zellmer at October 7, 2006 6:09 PM
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