Advisory Board

Dr. Lawrence A. Baines

The article Public School as Wasteland said

Over the past decade, some demographic and sociological trends have become apparent that could significantly exacerbate the problems of the already overburdened, underfunded public schools — changes that could transform them into holding tanks for the academically suspect, the socially outcast, or for students whose parents cannot afford to enroll them anywhere else.
 
Among the most damaging developments are these: 1) the increasing costs of running a public institution that attempts to remediate social disadvantage while simultaneously providing children with access to emerging technologies, 2) the shrinking corporate tax base, 3) an aging population dependent on fixed incomes, 4) the proliferation of litigation against schools, 5) the changing nature of the neighborhood school, 6) the dismal view of schools held by much of the public, and 7) current educational reforms that emphasize minimal competencies.
 
At the same time that these trends have undermined the ability of the public school to serve its constituencies well, private schools (often under the guise of charter schools, vouchers, and other initiatives) have become increasingly viable and attractive. Already, about one-half (Golay 1997) to two-thirds (Stutz 1997) of parents would send their children to private schools if they could afford to do so. Although private school enrollments have hovered between 10–15% of the student population for the past thirty-five years (Archer 1996), the flight from public schools over the next decade may likely expand their numbers to unprecedented heights. The danger is that if nothing is done to counteract the downward spiral of the public schools, these most democratic of institutions may eventually become obsolete.

Lawrence A. Baines, Ph.D. was coauthor of this paper and is Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Studies at the University of Oklahoma. He is a member of The Author’s Guild, the International Reading Association (IRA), National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE), National Conference on Research in Language and Literacy (NCRLL), and the World Future Society.
 
Lawrence works to develop innovative strategies to improve the quality of adolescents’ writing, reading, and thinking. An advocate for effective, humanistic, transformative teaching, he has worked with teachers and students in over 400 schools. Previously, he has served as the Judith Daso Herb Endowed Chair in Adolescent Literacy at The University of Toledo and the J. Leland Green Endowed Chair in Education at Berry College (Georgia).
 
Lawrence coedited How to Get a Life, Vol. 1: Empowering Wisdom for the Heart and Soul, How to Get a Life, Vol. 2: Empowering Wisdom from Thinkers and Writers, Going Bohemian: How to Teach Writing Like You Mean It, 2nd Edition, and Language Study in Middle School, High School, and Beyond: Views on Enhancing the Study of Language.
 
He coauthored Teaching Challenging Texts: Fiction, Non-fiction, and Multimedia, Teaching Adolescents to Write: The Unsubtle Art of Naked Teaching, and the innovative Amazon downloads “We Want to See The Teacher” – Constructivism and the Rage Against Expertise and Celebrating mediocrity? How schools shortchange gifted students. He authored A Teacher’s Guide to Multisensory Learning: Improving Literacy by Engaging the Senses, Project-Based Writing in Science, and The Teachers We Need vs. the Teachers We Have: The Realities and the Possibilities. Read the full list of his publications!
 
He earned his B.S. in English Education at the University of Texas at Austin in 1978, his Masters Degree in Computer Information Systems at the University of North Texas in 1984, and his Ph.D. in English Education at the University of Texas at Austin in 1993.