The Director’s Corner

Fall 2013

image of Janice Hale

Janice E. Hale, Ph.D.

Professor of Early Childhood Education

Founding Director of ISAAC

Wayne State University

Detroit, Michigan

The Situation      The Solution      The Strategy

            ISAAC is a Movement.  Every initiative, every activity is designed to effect change.  African Americans are the most well educated, affluent Africans in the world.  If we become united around the issue of closing the achievement gap confronting African American children, the gap will be closed.

            It is my contention that there has been little progress on this issue because what is lacking is an infrastructure within the African American community that can cause such change.  The various entities within our community are disconnected.  There are educational and psychological scholars in our community.  There are educational administrators in our community.  These entities do not work in tandem.  There are foundation executives in our community.  There are governmental grants administrators.  However, there is no collaboration to assure that African American children and researchers receive their share of research funding even though they have the greatest need.           

            African American Congressmen have unprecedented power and influence.  There are more African Americans in powerful legislative positions across the country than ever before in history.  We have civil rights organizations.  African Americans surpass white Americans in charitable giving.  Yet, there has been no comprehensive, effective Movement to close the achievement gap facing African American children.  ISAAC’s Mission is to fill that void.

            The Conference on Research Directions (CORD) is created as a forum for empirical research in African American education.  This is a conference that is created to bring researchers into dialogue with each other and with practitioners in the helping professions.  It is a unique 2-1/2–day meeting focusing on methodological advances, research in progress, issues in conducting research, innovative approaches to combining methodologies, and provocative topics in African American education.

            The purpose of this conference is to build an infrastructure of a tight knit community of scholars who can pursue a collaborative research agenda and seek funding for that agenda.  The first step in that process is for those who are interested in the fortunes of African American children to affiliate.  We are spread out across our disparate disciplines.  We do not know each other.  I have talked to White scholars who want to work on issues related to African American children’s fortunes in school; however, they are reticent because they are unsure about whether their perspective is cutting edge.  Some are reticent because they fear being attacked by African American scholars for not being on the cutting edge of Black intellectual thought.  They need a forum wherein they can understand the African American perspective and join us in working for change.

            Once we bring scholars together and strengthen the facet of our infrastructure that generates knowledge, the next step is to engage those scholars to collaborate around a research agenda.  There is also a need for pressure to be brought to bear on foundations and governmental agencies that administer grants.  Some foundations seem to feel that having an African American foundation president or program officers is enough.  There is a need for the African American to issue Report Cards on the funding priorities and patterns of such entities in terms of whether they truly benefit our community.

            A part of developing the infrastructure for change is connecting the various facets of our community to our Mission.  To effect change, you need some “juice.”  Some people become engaged when they see a concept on paper – our Founding Sponsors.  However, to get a seat at the table, we have to come together as a community and make some noise.  The people who are at the table now either think that things are going fine as they are or they think they are the only ones who can offer a solution.  Our purpose today is to get a seat at the table. 

CORD Committees You Can Join

            The Research Component of ISAAC will be fulfilled through the work of the constituency of the Conference on Research Directions (CORD).   Each conferee was invited to sign up for a committee.   Even if you were unable to attend the conference, you can join a committee now.  Contact information is provided below.

Research Agenda Collaboration Development

            The purpose of this committee is to engage Associate, ISAAC and Senior Fellows in crafting a research agenda that will give guidance to future research that is designed to benefit the education of African American children.  This committee will construct a blueprint that will enable Fellows to collaborate and seek coordinated, collaborative, longitudinal research projects that will have an impact on public policy.  Opportunities for joint publication will emerge from this committee.  

            Service rendered to all committees counts as Service to the Profession for tenure, promotion and service evaluations..    

Committee Chair:

Lanette Waddell, Ph.D.


Teaching and Learning in Urban Schools Program

Assistant Professor of the Practice

Vanderbilt University

Peabody College of Education

Nashville, Tennessee

Collaborative Grantsmanship Project

            This committee will identify opportunities for grants, fellowships, travel abroad and any other opportunities that would be of interest to our constituency.  The purpose is to support career development, networking, grantsmanship, professional nurturance and support.  These opportunities will be announced on the ISAAC website on the Research Page in the News & Announcements section.

            This committee will also devise a long term plan for connecting ISAAC Fellows to Foundation Executives and Grants Administrators.  As we obtain sponsors, we can potentially invite Foundation Executives to attend CORD and enable ISAAC Fellows to network with Foundation Executives and Grants Administrators.  This committee will create a plan for partnering ISAAC Fellows with the people who distribute grant money.  Funders fund people, not institutions.  We need to meet those funders and penetrate those networks.  The goal is to increase the extent to which African American children receive their fair share of funding that is earmarked to address educational issues.

            This committee will work to identify sponsors for future CORD conferences.  When we achieve funding for the conference, we can offer scholarship assistance for graduate students to attend.  We can also provide support for grants administrators to attend so that we can make connections between them and scholars who are engaged in educational research.

            Service rendered to all committees counts as Service to the Profession for tenure, promotion and service evaluations.  

Committee Chair:

Jomo Mutegi, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Science Education

Director of the Urban Center for the Advancement

Of STEM Education (UCASE)

School of Education

Indiana University


Publications Committee

            The Publications Committee has already launched the online journal, African American Learners (AAL) that is available at no cost on our web site.  Dr. Gloria Boutte and Dr. Hakim Rashid are the co-editors.  Papers that are presented at the CORD conference can be submitted for peer review and publication in the journal.  The first two issues of the journal were released in 2012.  It is available on the research/journal page of the ISAAC web site on which you are reading this column.

Committee Co-Chairs:

Gloria S. Boutte, Ph.D.

Schuler and Yvonne Moore

Child Advocacy

Distinguished Co- Chair

Professor and Chair

Department of Instruction and Teacher Education

University of South Carolina, Columbia

Hakim M. Rashid, Ph.D.


The Department of Human Development and

Psycho-educational Studies in the

School of Education

Howard University

Washington, D.C.

            Additionally, the 2013 Conference Proceedings will be published as an online volume in the fall of 2013. 

Conference Proceedings Co-Editors are:

Dr. Marisha L. Humphries, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

Department of Educational Psychology

University of Illinois at Chicago

Dr. Erika D. Taylor, Ph.D.

Research and Evaluation Department

Prince Georges’ County Public Schools

Upper Marlboro, Maryland

            Service rendered to all committees counts as Service to the Profession for tenure, promotion and service evaluations.    

            The Inaugural Round Table sponsored by ISAAC, held in 2008 was dedicated to the memory of Dr. W.E.B. Du Bois.  Dr. Du Bois is notable because he was the 1st African American to receive a Ph.D. from Harvard in 1890.  Dr. Du Bois crafted cutting edge empirical research studies such as the Philadelphia Study and wrote numerous books. 

            However, Dr. Du Bois found it necessary to step out of the academy and spearhead the founding of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) at the first meeting of the Niagara Movement in 1916.  Dr. Du Bois found it necessary to step out of the academy and personally march through the streets of St. Louis in 1917 in a silent march against lynching.  Dr. DuBois further joined in the founding of the Pan-Africanist Movement in 1919.  History will reveal the historic significance of the founding of ISAAC.  Du Bois was born in 1868.  ISAAC WAS FOUNDED ON THE 140TH ANNIVERSARY OF HIS BIRTH! 

          Like Du Bois, I am disturbed about the lack of educational equity for African American children across this nation.  I have stepped out in his footsteps to create the Institute for the Study of the African American Child in the College of Education of Wayne State University.  In the Old Testament ISAAC was God’s promise to Abraham. 

          And God said to Abraham, “As for Sar’ ai your wife, you shall not call her name Sar’ ai, but Sarah shall be her name.  I will bless her, and moreover I will give you a son by her; I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of peoples shall come from her.”

            Then Abraham fell on his face and laughed, and said to himself, “Shall a child be born to a man who is a hundred years old?  Shall Sarah, who is ninety years old, bear a child?  And Abraham said to God, “O that Ishmael might live in they sight!”  God said, “No, but Sarah your wife shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name ISAAC.  (In Hebrew ISAAC means, “he laughs.”)  I will establish my covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for his descendants after him.

            As for Ishmael, I have heard you; behold, I will bless him and make him fruitful and multiply him exceedingly; he shall be the father of twelve princes and I will make him a great nation. 

            But, I will establish my covenant with ISAAC, whom Sarah shall bear to you at this season next year.  (Genesis 17:15-21).

            Just as Dr. Du Bois joined with other activists in founding the NAACP, we must now join together to end the discrimination our children suffer educationally.  In the Civil Rights Movement, Dr. King worked the streets and Thurgood Marshall worked the federal courts.  We have got to create the coalitions we need to effect change.  As Frederick Douglass so eloquently stated, “Power yields nothing without a struggle.  It never did.  It never will.”

            How You Can Help ISAAC

            I would like to share with you how you can help us build this organization and achieve our Mission:

            The Power of One.  The annual activities of ISAAC can be fully funded if each person pays their $50 annual membership fee.  The Last Poets said that “the Revolution will not be televised.”  I say that the Revolution will not be financed by corporations, foundation executives or governmental grants administrators.  In order for us to fulfill our Mission of the educational liberation of our children, we must secure and provide independent funding.  Every membership, donation and contribution is 100% tax deductible.  Also, once you join, please renew your membership annually.  You will receive an email prompt to remind you.  Not one penny of ISAAC’s donations is used to pay staff.   Not one penny of ISAAC’s donations go to pay costs of space.  ISAAC is 100% virtual.  Every penny that is given to ISAAC goes to our Mission.

            Web site submissions.   Please cooperate with us in using the web site for the submission of memberships, donations, proposals and manuscripts.  We begged, borrowed and did everything but steal to install those features on our web site.  This enables us to function without a staff.  When you have no staff, you don’t have to worry about getting your staff cut when money is tight.  The features on our web site enable us to survive with no staff members.  Each button has a manager that provides a separate listing for memberships, donations, conference registrations, proposals to make conference presentations, manuscripts submitted to the journal and manuscripts submitted for the conference proceedings.  Each editor has access to those items that are collected in their pertinent manager.  We each receive email notification when new submissions are made.  These features allow us to operate efficiently and independently without paid staff members..

            We call upon you to take the time to use these web site features.  It only takes a few minutes for you to use these features.  When you send them to me or my secretary, you think that you are the only one who is doing so.  The reality is that most of our constituents don’t want to be bothered with learning to use the web site and send everything to us.  We don’t have the staff to handle those tasks.  So, I ask you to please take the time to submit everything through the web site.  It is very user friendly.

            Help us spread the word.  Please help us by spreading the word of our activities through your social media networks and professional list servs.  Direct mail is very expensive.  If each person would just pass along our announcements to others within your personal and professional networks, it would enable us to preserve our meager resources.

            2015 Conference on Research Directions 4th Bi-Annual Conference on Empirical Research on African American Education.  Mark your calendar, now for Sunday, May 3, 2015 through Wednesday, May 6, 2015 for the next CORD conference.

            Join a CORD committee.  Even if you were unable to attend the CORD conference, you can volunteer to serve on a committee. 

            Seek donors for the 2015 CORD conference.  You can solicit your employer or university in serving as a co-sponsor of the 2015 CORD conference.  Dr. James C. Young secured the College of Education at Clark Atlanta University as a co-sponsor of the conference for 2013.  Dr. Gloria Boutte has provided co-sponsorship of the conferences in 2009, 2011, and 2013 through the College of Education and the Department of Instruction and Teacher Education at the University of South Carolina.  We will need additional sponsorship for 2015.  Contact me for details at:

            Complete the Cultural Prism Research Survey.  Please click on the following link and complete the Cultural Prism Research Survey: .    This survey grew out of the Think Tank that was held in 2012.  We need additional respondents to complete the study.