CREO faculty publish in top sociology and education university presses. Research productivity has been maintained at high levels, even with the passing of beloved colleague Dr. Maureen Hallinan. Because a department's reputation and standing is shaped by past as well as recent research productivity, career publications for faculty members in the department remain essential for advancing its mission. While some departments focus primarily on book writing and others primarily on article writing, CREO faculty members publish both books and articles. Figures on citations taken from Google Scholar also indicate that much of CREO faculty's work is influential in the field, even for newer assistant professors. 

Amy Langenkamp

Amy Langenkamp

Joel Mittleman

Joel Mittleman

Calvin Zimmermann

Calvin Zimmermann

Systems and Schools Study

Dr. Anna Haskins is leading a project that aims to address the following: In what ways has the rapid rise of surveillance, policing, and involvement in punitive systems (such as the criminal legal, immigration enforcement on child welfare) undermined parental involvement in young children's schools and schooling? While research shows that children do better inside and outside of school when their parents are involve in their education, schools are increasingly becoming hostile to the active participation of some groups of parents through their punitive climates, record keeping, and direct connections to surveilling systems. More and more, schools are adopting features of the surveillance state, such as video cameras, guards and collaborative relationships with police, immigration officials, and child welfare authorities. As a growing number of families interact with the criminal legal, child welfare and immigration enforcement systems, parents involved with these punitive systems may be wary of their children's schools and reluctant to engage fully. Given that the majority of system-involved families are low-income, racial minorities, and/or living in mixed immigration status households, means that such surveillance - and the fear, distrust and reduced engagement it potentially produces exacerbates existing racial, socioeconomic, and national origin-based inequalities in children's outcomes. 

Latino Students’ Pathways to College 

Dr. Amy Langenkamp is leading a project that analyzes how race/ethnicity and social class influence students’ transition to college. Specifically, she is investigating the intersection of race and social class among Latinos using data from nationally representative surveys and interviews with Latino adolescents and parents. Findings from this project will identify distinctions in Latinos’ educational trajectory as well as elements that promote or inhibit college attendance and completion. 

School Discipline and Racial Socialization

Dr. Calvin Zimmermann is working on a book project that examines black and white boys' school disciplinary experiences in early childhood. The goal of the project is to uncover the everyday mechanisms that produce racial disproportionality in school discipline. He also considers the social consequences of racialized discipline for black and white boys. Schools are an important site where children come to understand their social selves. He argues that school discipline in early childhood is socializing and sorting these young boys into a larger racial system. Specifically, rather than cultivating the full potential of young black boys, with such an intense focus on discipline and control schools often socialize them into a sense of racial inferiority from the very beginning of their schooling. In contrast, white boys’ disciplinary experiences socialize them into a sense of racial privilege and relative invisibility.

Effects of School Choice in Indiana

Indiana has broadened its school choice offerings with its scholarship (voucher) program and expansion of charter schools. This project, led by Dr. Mark Berends, addresses the impacts of vouchers and charter schools on student achievement gains, engagement, high school graduation, and college attendance and graduation. The project also examines whether these impacts differ among groups, thus affecting the racial/ethnic and socioeconomic achievement gaps. The project analyzes several years of longitudinal, student-level demographic and test score records from CREO’s partnership with the Indiana Department of Education (IDOE).In addition, the project team conducted over 100 interviews of principals, teachers, parents, and students in thirteen private schools participating in the voucher program. These interviews provide important information about academic and social integration of students receiving vouchers. The team revisited these schools in 2017-18 to understand how schools have changed in response to the voucher program.

Partnership with Indiana Department of Education

In 2012, the Center for Research on Educational Opportunity (CREO) of University of Notre Dame’s Institute for Educational Initiatives entered into a partnership with the Indiana Department of Education to improve learning for Indiana children. In 2012, Mark Berends established the partnership with Dr. Tony Bennett, Indiana's Superintendent of Public Instruction at the time. This partnership has spanned both Democratic and Republican administrations and continues today under Indiana's Secretary of Education, Dr. Katie Jenner.

The research-practice collaboration allows the nation’s leading educational experts at the Institute and others from around the country to conduct independent, nonpartisan, empirical research to inform policymakers as they seek strategies to improve educational quality in Indiana. Studies focus on such topics as the effects of parental choice programs on schools, teachers, and students; improving the quality of teaching and teacher preparation; organizational and instructional conditions that reduce educational inequalities; the impact of choosing courses on student outcomes; and factors related to students’ applications, attendance, and persistence in higher education. The research effort is led by Dr. Mark Berends, professor of sociology and the Hackett Family Director of the Institute for Educational Initiatives, home to CREO. 

School Effectiveness in Indiana

Led by Dr. Mark Berends, this study addresses the following research questions: (1) What is the impact of the Indiana Choice Scholarship Program (vouchers) on student achievement gains and the schools these students attend? (2) What is the impact of the charter schools on student achievement gains? (3) Are these voucher and charter school impacts greater for some groups of students compared with others, having effects on the racial/ethnic and socioeconomic achievement gaps? (4) How do schools of choice (charter or private schools) differ from traditional public schools in terms of organizational and instructional conditions, school leadership, professional capacity, school learning climate and funding conditions, and parent involvement and support that promote achievement?

Because students in traditional public, charter, and private schools all take the same state assessments, we have a unique opportunity to examine achievement gains across students and school sectors using longitudinal student assessment data from the Indian Department of Education. With additional longitudinal data collected from schools and teachers in a representative sample of K-8 traditional public schools, charter schools, and private schools, we examine the conditions under which the impacts of the voucher and charter schools occur (sample of 577 schools, 5,300 teachers).

The Intersection of Race and Gender and Teacher Perceptions

Dr. Calvin Zimmermann is working on several papers using nationally representative data that examine how racial and gender meanings shape teachers’ perceptions and actions in early childhood. For example, one paper coauthored with Dr. Grace Kao from Yale University looks at children’s race and gender classification and the relationship between children’s noncognitive skills and teacher ratings of academic ability. A second paper examines racial and gender disparities in teacher communication with parents about children’s behavior problems, academic problems, and accomplishments. One of the goals of all of these papers is to push scholars to think beyond how race or gender individually shape teacher perceptions and actions but also how the intersectionality of race and gender enhances our understanding of these issues.