International Conference on


Welcome Message

Dr. Ned Holstein

Dear Colleagues,

We are honored by your presence here in thecradle of the American Revolution at what maybe looked back upon as a watershed moment. In the history of civilizations, watershed moments are obvious only in retrospect: the Magna Carta, Martin Luther at Wittenberg, the Bill of Rights (an afterthought), the march to Selma, and Stonewall were not immediately recognized for their importance. In the “hard sciences,” watershed moments are sometimes easier to recognize. Newton’s calculus, the invention of the microscope and telescope, Galileo’s observation of the moons of Jupiter, the Origin of Species, and the discovery of the genetic code were immediately transformational. Watershed moments in the social sciences fall in between. Some are recognized immediately, but most are not. Perhaps today will be one of the few. Until now, for most of the stubborn problems of our youth over the past 40 years, there have not been any watershed moments. For instance, Mitch Pearlstein, educator and analyst, lists scores of programs to improve education, none of them proving both eective and scalable. Increased spending, smaller classes, smaller schools, extra courses, early childhood education, special education, multicultural education, bilingual education, new ways to teach teachers, new math, old math, new reading, old reading, centralization, decentralization, neighborhood schools, stronger ties between schools and businesses, and on and on. Yet student achievement over the past several decades has at most inched upward only a bit, in his telling. Similar stories can be told in the areas of childhood substance abuse, truancy and lawbreaking, bullying, gang behavior, and teen pregnancy. Programs abound, while the problems at best remain unchanged. At long last, as society struggles with the failure of one experimental program after another, it may finally be ready to look at root causes. Our Conference today and tomorrow examines root causes and their solutions. And so our researchers may well have stories to tell that renew hope, stories of favorable outcomes that perhaps can be scaled up, of pathways to success for our families. Today, we are blessed by the gathering of the best minds in the world on the problem at hand. Let us imbibe their wisdom, and let us use it to help our struggling children. I personally feel that I will look back and say with satisfaction, “I was there.”

With warm regards,

Conference Co-Chair

Conference Co-Chair

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