January 19, 2007
Director of Media Relations

AMHERST, Mass.—A panel of national school-reform advocates and Amherst school teachers and administrators will discuss “Should No Child be Left Behind?”at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 27, in the Cole Assembly Room in Converse Hall at Amherst College. The panel will feature Wendy Puriefoy, founding president of the Public Education Network; public policy theorist William Howell of the University of Chicago; Jere Hochman, superintendent of the Amherst Regional Public Schools; and Michael Morris, a 2000 Amherst College graduate who now teaches 5th and 6th grade at Fort River School in Amherst. The discussion, which will focus on issues of school choice and educational access, is open to the public at no charge.

Wendy Puriefoy is a nationally recognized expert on issues of school reform and civil society. Her activism in this area began in the 1970s, when she served as a special monitor of the court-ordered desegregation plan for Boston’s public schools. In 1991, she became the founding president of the Public Education Network. Under her leadership, PEN has grown into the nation’s largest network of community-based school reform organizations and a leading force behind systemic reform initiatives in school finance, governance, curriculum, parent involvement, libraries and student health. A frequent author and speaker on topics related to education, she also serves on a number of national committees and boards.

William Howell is an associate professor in the Harris School of Public Policy at the University of Chicago. Before coming to the Harris School, Howell taught in the government department at Harvard University. He also served as deputy director of the Program on Education Policy and Governance and has written on a variety of education policy initiatives, including school vouchers, charter schools and the No Child Left Behind Act. He is the co-author of The Education Gap: Vouchers and Urban Schools (2002) and the editor of Besieged: School Boards and the Future of Education Politics (2005). He has also written widely on the U.S. presidency. A frequent contributor to academic journals, Howell was named Harvard’s 2004-05 Distinguished Research Faculty Associate and C. Douglas Dillon Scholar.

Jere Hochman is the superintendent of the Amherst Regional Public School system and the author of Thinking About Middle Schools. Before coming to Amherst, he spent 31 years as a teacher, principal and superintendent in the St. Louis area, where he was closely involved with the city’s lauded desegregation plan.

This panel on public education is part of a new program of Interterm Colloquia at Amherst College. New at the college this January, the Interterm Colloquia provide students with an opportunity to engage more deeply in interdisciplinary work while connecting intellectual theories and ideas to complex, real-world problems, and to explore pressing societal concerns in depth. Interterm at Amherst College is a three-week period during the January break when students are given the opportunity to take informal non-credit courses, work on a senior thesis, take part in an internship, participate in community service or take a course at one of the other Five College campuses.