April 26, 2011
Ensuring the Ongoing Legitimacy of Democratic Institutions: The Case of Civics Education
Tuesday, April 26 (Frost Lounge, Ell Hall)
Assistant Professor and Co-convener
Civic and Moral Education Initiative Harvard Graduate School of Education
Shawsheen Valley Technical School District
Chair and Professor of Political Science, Northeastern University
#1: Introduction by Nonnie Burnes
#2: John Portz
#3: Meira Levinson
#4: Charlie Lyons
Meira Levinson is assistant professor and co-convener of the Civic and Moral Education Initiative at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Her work focuses on documenting and addressing the “civic achievement gap” – a gap in individuals’ civic and political knowledge, skills, attitudes, and behaviors that is starkly tied to race, ethnicity, immigration status, and especially class. She has written widely about liberal education and political theory, autonomy, parental versus children’s rights, school choice, and related topics. Her latest book project is Solving the Civic Empowerment Gap (Henry Holt, forthcoming). Prof. Levinson grounds her work from a variety of disciplines as well as her eight years of experience teaching middle school students in the Atlanta and Boston public schools. She earned her BA in philosophy from Yale University and her Ph.D. in politics at Oxford University.
Charles Lyons has been superintendent/director of the Shawsheen Valley Technical School District since 1987 and is widely regarded as an authority on vocational training and workforce development. He serves on the Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents Finance Task Force and its Legislative Committee and is a past president of the Massachusetts Association of Vocational Administrators (1996). He began his public service career with his election to the Arlington School Committee in 1972, making him the first 18-year-old in the nation to be elected to a city or town-wide post. He also served as an Arlington selectman from 1981 to 2005, and in 2004 was elected president of the National League of Cities, the nation’s oldest and largest organization representing municipal government. He earned BA and MA degrees from Boston State College (now UMass-Boston).
John Portz is Professor and Chair in the Department of Political Science, Northeastern University. He is also co-coordinator of the Massachusetts Chapter of the Educational Policy Fellows Program, a professional development program for mid-career educators. His scholarship in education policy includes a co-authored book, City Schools and City Politics: Institutions and Leadership in Pittsburgh, Boston, and St. Louis (University Press of Kansas). He serves on the Accountability and Assistance Advisory Council for the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and on Governor Patrick’s Readiness Project task force to analyze and report on future direction for state education policy. He is also an elected member of the Watertown School Committee, and served previously as a selectman. Professor Portz earned his BA in history at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and, after two years as a high school history teacher, returned to the University of Wisconsin to earn his MA and Ph.D. in Political Science.