Mary Poplin

Since we have the privilege of meeting with Mary Poplin this week, I thought it would be helpful if I gave some background information on her and her work in urban education. Dr. Poplin began her career teaching elementary school and special education. She received her M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Texas. She became a professor at Claremont Graduate University in California where she was director of the Teacher Education Program, 1985-1995 and Dean of the School of Educational Studies, 2000-04. In 1992, she completed a large yearlong study of four schools in southern California and produced a report, Voices from Inside: A Report on Schooling from Inside the Classroom.

According to her faculty profile at Claremont Graduate University from 2000 to 2004 she and John Rivera worked on reconceptualizing education in light of the new focus on accountability and outcomes, and began to integrate social justice in their work. They focused this work on improving teacher education “In 2006, she completed a large study of thirty-three high performing teachers in low performing schools. Her work on combining the imperatives for accountability and social justice continue to this day in her courses and in the Institute for Education in Transformation that she directs.“

More recently Poplin has focused her study and teaching on the history of philosophy in the west and its impact how educators approach knowledge, specifically concentrating on Judeo-Christian principles. In 1996, Poplin worked with Mother Teresa in Calcutta and published a book on the experience, Finding Calcutta, in 2008.

Poplin is extensively published, so I included a few citations of her work relating to urban education below:

  • Poplin, M. and Soto-Hinman, I. (2007). Taking off ideological blindness: Lessons from the start of a study on effective teachers in high-poverty schools. Journal of Education, 186,3.

  • Poplin, M. & Rivera, J. (2005). Merging social justice and accountability: Educating highly qualified, responsible and effective teachers. Theory Into Practice, 2005, 44, 1, Winter.
  • Rivera, J. & Poplin, M. (1995). Multicultural, critical, feminine and constructive pedagogies seen through the lives of youth: Toward a pedagogy for the next century. In Sleeter, C. and McLaren, P. Multicultural Education, Critical Pedagogy, and the Politics of Difference. New York: SUNY.
  • Poplin, M.& Weeres, J. (1992). Voices from the inside. The Institute for Education in Transformation.


One response to “Mary Poplin

  1. It is sad that there are more teachers that perform poorly in schools that primarily serve students from low income backgrounds than teachers who perform highly. I would like to know what is being done to remove these poor performing teachers. If they cannot teach, they need to find other employment.

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