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October 12, 2005 -- School accountability and testing. Desegregation. Children with special needs. School choice. These four themes have shaped the course of education in Virginia and the nation over the past century and promise to influence the direction of public education in the century ahead.

The Curry School of Education is holding a national conference on Oct. 24 with invited speakers and panel discussions addressing each of these themes. The conference, “At the Crossroads of Hope and Habit,” will be held on Grounds in the Newcomb Hall Ballroom as part of the education school’s centennial celebrations.

U.Va. professors Daniel Duke and Jennings Wagoner will open the conference at 9:30 a.m., giving an overview of the hundred-year history of public education in the Commonwealth of Virginia and nationwide implications for the preparation of tomorrow’s educators.

Special education will be the focus of Harvard professor Tom Hehir’s talk at 11:15 a.m. Hehir is the former director of the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education.

Jay Heubert, a Columbia professor who directed a Congressionally mandated study of high-stakes testing for the National Academy of Sciences, will explore that topic and today’s legal climate at 1:15 p.m.

Michal Kurlaender, from UC-Davis, will discuss trends for diversity in her 2:30 p.m. lecture. Her research interests include access to post-secondary schooling for underrepresented populations and K-12 school desegregation and integration.

Economist Robert Olsen will discuss school choice in the U.S. at 3:45 p.m. A member of Mathematica Policy Research Inc., he is currently involved with two large-scale evaluations for the U.S. Department of Education, on Upward Bound programs and on charter schools.

All presentations are open to the public. For more information, call the Curry School Foundation at 924-0854 or download a brochure from the Web site at http://curry.edschool.virginia.edu/.

Contact: Anne Bromley, (434) 924-6861

FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: Contact the Office of University Relations at (434) 924-7116. Television reporters should contact the TV News Office at (434) 924-7550.

SOURCE: U.Va. News Services

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