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Education Policy Fellowship Program

The Changing Role of Federal Education

January 12, 2009
12:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Kellogg Center, MSU

The purpose of this session is to develop some insights into the changes that are likely to occur with the appointment of a new Secretary of Education under the Obama Administration. We will explore several policy issues that will be debated over the next several months including the reauthorization of the NCLB legislation. We will discuss the appointment of incoming Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and examine some anticipated changes for state education agencies and school districts.


Resource Person

Sharif M. Shrakrani, Ph. D. (EPFP 1979-80)
Professor and Co-Director
The Education Policy Center at Michigan State University
201 D Erickson Hall
East Lansing, MI 48824
(517) 432-0216
shakrani [at]

Dr. Sharif Shakrani is a professor of measurement and quantitative methods and co-director of The Education Policy Center (EPC) at Michigan State University (MSU). His work with the EPC includes providing key audiences in the education policy system with access to timely, credible, non-partisan policy research and analysis. His research interests include analysis of the effects of national and states accountability systems on student achievement; use of research in setting educational policy; impact of national efforts to enhance student’s participation and achievements in mathematics, science, and technology education; and alignment of standards, assessment, and pedagogy. His areas of expertise include Assessment and Testing, Measurement and Testing, and Quantitative Research Methods. Before coming to MSU, Dr. Shakrani served eight years as the Deputy Executive Director of the National Assessment Governing Board in the U.S. Department of Education. He was responsible for technical and policy direction for the National Assessment of Educational Programs (NAEP). He has also worked for the National Center for Education Statistics in the U.S. Department of Education, where he guided the design of federal educational assessments. Prior to his work at the federal level, Sharif worked at the Michigan Department of Education, where he was responsible for K-12 general education curriculum assessment and was instrumental in revising the Michigan Educational Assessment Program (MEAP). He has provided technical advice in the area of large-scale assessment to the states of California, North Carolina, Florida, Louisiana, and Oregon. His Ph.D. is in educational measurement from MSU, where he also earned his M.A. in measurement and evaluation after earning his B.S. in mathematics.

Dr. Shakrani has worked extensively with the U.S. Congress and the U.S. Department of Education on several key testing, measurement and evaluation initiatives and he currently serves as a member of a study group to recommend changes to the NCLB Act. The purpose of the study is to query key groups at the state level about perceived strengths and weaknesses of the NCLB Act. The group has been studying problems encountered in fulfilling the Federal reporting requirements, issues of testing and assessment, reporting, and the Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) procedures. Input from these studies will help inform policy makers in the process of the reauthorization of the NCLB Act. Dr. Shrakrani is currently serving as a member of the education policy transition team which is working on behalf of both the Bush Administration and the Obama Administration.

Resource Materials

President-elect Obama nominates Arne Duncan as Secretary of Education
The Value of Higher Education - New Educator Fall 2008
Powerpoint Presentation

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