Education reform inspires professor’s book
Assistant professor of education administration Dr. Christopher Tienken is co-author of “The School Reform Landscape: Fraud, Myth, and Lies,” published on Feb 22.
In addition to being a Seton Hall professor and co-writing a book with Donald Orlich, Tienken is the editor of the American Association of School Administrators Journal of Scholarship and the Kappa Delta Pi Record.
He started his career in education as an elementary school teacher and went on to become an elementary school assistant principal, middle school principal and an assistant superintendent.
Throughout his 14 years in education, Tienken said he noticed that there was a lot of talk about education reform in the schools and the government. He said this is what inspired him to write his first book.
“Many ideas from bureaucrats had no evidence that they would help students,” Tienken said. “Don Orlich and I decided to chronicle the last 60 years of reform since Sputnik and look for evidence to support them.”
But Tienken does not limit his observations to his book. He incorporates the lessons in his Curriculum Design and Engineering classes as well.
“We look at current reform ideas in class and compare them to past reforms (covered in the book),” Tienken said. “A lot of times, new reforms are borrowed from past reforms; but if the past ones are broken, the new ones will be, too.”
In his classes, he trains future principals, superintendents and school administrators.
While his book has influenced the way he teaches his classes, his teaching experience at Seton Hall influenced his book as well.
“Since coming here, I’ve conducted a lot of research on standardized curriculum, standardized assessments, and the genesis of these ideas,” he said.
Tienken said that is a family man who enjoys spending time with his wife and two daughters, ages 5 and 7. Together they like to ski, visit the beach and travel. Their favorite place to visit is Italy, where they have family members.
Noora Badwan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. edu.