The “Policy Goes to School” series continues with a lecture by David Blazar—“Tradeoffs and Challenges of ‘Good’ Teaching”—on March 18

Thursday, March 7, 2019
David Blazar

UC Santa Barbara’s Gevirtz Graduate School of Education continues this year’s “Policy Goes to School” lecture series on Monday, March 18 from 4 pm - 5 pm in room 1201 Education Building. David Blazar,  Assistant Professor of Education Policy and Economics at the University of Maryland, will give the lecture “Tradeoffs and Challenges of ‘Good’ Teaching.” The talk is free and open to the public. The lecture series is hosted by Michael Gottfried, Tine Sloan, and the Department of Education.

Theories of teaching and learning have long emphasized the complex role teachers play in supporting students’ understanding of cognitively demanding academic content, as well as their social and emotional development in the classroom. Recent evidence from education research supports much of this theory but also highlights critical challenges and tradeoffs that teachers face in their practice. Using experimental data in which teachers were randomly assigned to class rosters, Blazar examines the extent that teachers who raise test scores are equally effective at engaging students in class. He further tracks the effect of these upper-elementary teachers on student outcomes into high school. He examines whether the cognitively demanding and “ambitious” teaching practices (e.g., Common Core State Standards of Mathematical Practice) that currently are emphasized for general education students are equally effective for English language learners and students with special education needs—both of whom require additional academic supports in the classroom. Findings can inform efforts to recruit and train teachers who are able to balance and excel at multiple teaching skills.

David Blazar is an Assistant Professor of Education Policy and Economics at the University of Maryland. His research examines teacher and teaching quality, with a focus on professional learning, organizational contexts of schools and districts, and accountability policy. Current projects include: a study validating measures of teachers' effectiveness at improving student outcomes beyond test scores; an evaluation of textbooks used in upper elementary mathematics; a study examining the role of school districts in improving teacher and student outcomes. His work is published in American Educational Research Journal, Economics of Education Review, Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, Educational Researcher, among other publications. He received the AEFP Flanigan Outstanding Dissertation Award and was named an emerging education policy scholar by the Fordham Institute. He received his doctorate in quantitative policy analysis in education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. He holds a masters in policy and management and a bachelors in history and literature, also from Harvard. He previously taught high-school English in New York City.