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Noel Hammatt

Noel Hammatt

Noel Hammatt is an independent researcher (and thinker) in education policy and is currently focusing on the important distinctions to be made between "education" and "schooling." He has retired from Louisiana State University, and from his 16 years as an elected School Board Member in Baton Rouge.

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I consider myself to be a bit of a non-conformist, to be sure. Not willing to "go with the flow" and simply accept the ideologies of the times, I have always been one who questioned. I tend to let research and data provide me with direction, and often that leads to conflict with the status quo, and often with those who "think" they are challenging the "status quo" but in fact are only following their own version of a new ideological "status quo."

I have recently retired from Louisiana State University, where I taught and conducted research for over twenty years in the College of Education. I served for 16 years as an elected member of the East Baton Rouge Parish School Board in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, the largest school system in the state. I served as the President of the Louisiana School Boards Association, and as a member of numerous non-profit organizations. My work has led me, in part, to question traditional understandings of the relationship between schooling and poverty (note that while many speak of the relationship between "education" and poverty, they really mean "schooling"). I am currently seeking to share a new understanding of the role of "education," which literally consists of all experiences through which we grow and learn, and the much more limited (and limiting) understanding of "education" as schooling. For me, and for researchers carefully studying these issues, schooling has a significantly smaller overall impact on students' "achievement" (as measured on a myriad of standardized tests) than the experiences that students have outside of school. Unfortunately, "reformers" seeking to hold schools accountable for the achievement of their students have ignored this incredibly large and robust finding about the impact of so called "out of school" factors.

I am currently exploring what communities might look like that focus their "educational currency" not on schools, but on all of the factors outside of schools that can truly impact the education of our children in powerful and effective ways.

My work is also focused on dispelling the myths that abound about the value of charter schools, choice in education, and the incredibly poor ways in which the media is serving to education the public about such popular school "reforms."

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