Graduate School of Education

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  • David Labaree

    David Labaree

    Lee L. Jacks Professor of Education, Emeritus

    Current Research and Scholarly InterestsMost Recent Book:

    My new book – A Perfect Mess: The Unlikely Ascendancy of American Higher Education – is an essay about the nature of the American system of higher education. American higher education is an anomaly. In the second half of the 20th century it surged past its European forebears to become the dominant system in the world – with more money, influence, Nobel prizes, and drawing power than any of the systems that served as its models. By all rights, this never should have happened. Its origins were remarkably humble, arising from a loose assortment of parochial 19th century liberal arts colleges, which emerged in the pursuit of sectarian expansion and civic boosterism more than scholarly distinction. It was not even a system in the usual sense of the word, since it emerged with no plan, no planner, no prospects, and no reliable source of support. Yet these weaknesses of the American system in the 19th century turned out to be strengths in the 20th. From the difficult circumstances of trying to survive in an environment with a weak state, a divided church, and intense competition with peer institutions, American colleges developed into a system of higher education that was lean, adaptable, consumer-sensitive, self-supporting, and radically decentralized. This put the system in a strong position to expand and prosper when, before the turn of the century, it finally got what it was most grievously lacking: academic credibility (which came when it adopted elements of the German research university) and large student enrollments (which came when middle class families started to see social advantage in sending their children to college).

    This system is extraordinarily complex, bringing together contradictory educational goals, a broad array political constituencies, diverse sources of funds, and multiple forms of authority into a single institutional arena characterized by creative tension and local autonomy. One tension is between the influence of the market and the influence of the state. Another arises from the conflict among three social-political visions of higher education – as undergraduate college (populist), graduate school (elite), and land grant college (practical). A third arises from the way the system combines three alternative modes of authority – traditional, rational, and charismatic. In combination, these elements promote organizational complexity, radical stratification, broad political and financial support, partial autonomy, and adaptive entrepreneurial behavior.

  • Teresa LaFromboise

    Teresa LaFromboise

    Professor of Education

    Current Research and Scholarly InterestsBicultural competence and resilience in ethnic minority adolescent development. Particularly, the influence of enculturation and acculturation experiences on adolescent development. Cultural considerations in individual, school and community-based psychological interventions with adolescents and emerging adults.

  • Jennifer Langer-Osuna

    Jennifer Langer-Osuna

    Associate Professor of Education

    BioJennifer Langer-Osuna is assistant professor of mathematics education at Stanford's Graduate School of Education. Her research examines how young people develop identities as learners in collaborative mathematics classrooms, focusing in particular on the social construction of authority, influence, and marginalization among peers during student-led activity. Dr. Langer-Osuna teaches in Stanford’s Teacher Education Program (STEP) and partners with local school districts to design robust and humanizing mathematics learning experiences in diverse collaborative classrooms. She has contributed to broader federal and state mathematics education initiatives, including co-authoring new chapters in both the 2025 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) mathematics assessment framework and California’s revised CA Mathematics Framework. She is a National Academy of Education/Spencer postdoctoral fellow and co-hosted the Spencer-funded conference, Advancing Methods for the Study of Social Identities in Mathematics Education (AMSSI-Math). Dr. Langer-Osuna earned her PhD at the University of California, Berkeley and has published in leading education journals, including Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, Journal of the Learning Sciences, Journal of Educational Psychology, and Review of Research in Education.