Two professors present at American Educational Research Association annual meeting

Professors Ryan M. Good, PhD, and Paul Yoder, PhD, both of Eastern Mennonite University, presented research at the American Educational Research Association (AERA) annual meeting, April 15, 2018, in New York City, New York.

Good is assistant director of the Washington Community Scholars’ Center in Washington D.C. and assistant professor of applied social sciences. Yoder is assistant professor of teacher education.

Good: Effects of private funding on public school inequities

Professor Ryan Good.

Dr. Good’s paper, co-authored with Katharine Nelson, is titled “With a Little Help From Our Friends: Private Donors and Public Schools in Philadelphia” and chronicles the increasing trend of local “friends” groups incorporating as independent 501c3 organizations to support individual neighborhood public schools. The paper focuses on sixteen such organizations in Philadelphia. The research reveals how these organizations created the fiscal architecture to independently raise, manage, and disburse private funds on behalf of individual schools, supplementing public funding in a context of resource scarcity.

The schools with established 501c3 organizations are disproportionately found in gentrified, gentrifying, or historically wealthier parts of the city and are whiter than the school system as a whole.

“It is an important story to tell because it highlights how efforts to decentralize the
management of public schools and to increasingly rely on private capital can result in
exacerbating existing inequalities between local communities,” says Good. “This project
illuminates how cuts to traditional public education funding play out on the ground and
intersect with trajectories of neighborhood development and gentrification.”

He holds a PhD in planning and public policy from Rutgers University, an MA in geography and urban studies from Temple University, and an MA in theological studies from Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary.

Professor Paul Yoder.

Yoder: Preparing pre-service social studies teachers to work with ELLs

Yoder’s paper, co-authored with Dr. Stephanie D. Van Hover, University of Virginia, is titled “Teaching History to English Language Learners in Standards-Based Settings: Implications for Teacher Educators” and focuses on the ways in which teachers have developed instructional effectiveness for teaching ELLs history and social studies, content areas in which there is less context and a compelling higher purpose of learning.

Using a case study of one middle school history teacher in a culturally and linguistically diverse Virginia school district, Yoder’s findings indicated that use of the regular lesson plan and materials along with differentiated instruction for ELLs provided opportunities for students to be “active agents” in the classroom. The intentional grouping of students, devoting extra time to activities, and using varied speech patterns and call-and-response techniques were some of the classroom strategies used with ELLs that successfully supported both the subject and content requirements and the larger goal of promoting the civic purpose of social studies.

“What really stood out from our study was the way the case study teacher focused on the skills or action-based aspects of social studies to make class engaging for students who were learning English,” says Yoder. “Rather than simply lecturing or assigning a textbook reading on the Holocaust, the teacher used a reader’s theater so students could examine different historical perspectives. At one point two students started to ad lib lines while still in character, which showed how invested they were as active agents in their own learning.”

Yoder earned his PhD in curriculum and instruction with a concentration in social studies education from the Curry School of Education at the University of Virginia. Yoder is an EMU graduate with a BA in history and an MA in education. He taught history at Thomas Harrison Middle School and English as a Second Language at Dayton Learning Center.