AIR Speakers Featured at an Education Week Forum on Fiscal Policy in Public Education

Washington, D.C. – Gina Burkhardt, an education policy expert and executive vice president at the American Institutes for Research (AIR), and Dr. Thomas Parrish, a nationally-recognized expert on fiscal policy in public education, were featured speakers at a forum on K-12 policy and economics hosted by Education Week on Tuesday, January 11, 2011.

The event, “Uncertain Forecast: Education Adjusts to a New Economic Reality,” also included a discussion of Education Week’s “Quality Counts” report, which assessed the challenges states face and their success in meeting those challenges.

During opening remarks at the daylong event in Washington, D.C., Burkhardt told the audience about the importance of examining the “ways that states and schools are facing some of the challenges” caused by fiscal constraints. “Look to the kinds of things that we can do on the policy side to actually influence and change some of the implementation that has to happen very quickly if we are going to hold schools and states and districts accountable.”

Burkhardt, the director of AIR’s Education, Human Development and the Workforce program, is an expert in organizational development and systems change, district and school improvement and policy research.

Parrish gave a presentation on “High Quality Special Education on a Tight Budget.” Parrish, a managing director for AIR based in San Mateo, Calif., specializes in education finance with an emphasis on special education. He has directed and participated in numerous cost analysis, education policy, and evaluation projects for federal, state and local agencies over the past twenty-five years. He has addressed numerous committees, conferences, and legislative bodies on education finance policy, and has written extensively on these issues.

Other speakers included: Noelle Ellerson, Assistant Director, Policy Analysis & Advocacy, American Association of School Administrators; Bethany Little, Chief Education Counsel, U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions; Karen Hawley Miles, President, Education Resource Strategies; Gerard Robinson, Secretary of Education of Virginia; Andrew J. Rotherham, Founding Partner, Bellwether Education Partners; John W. Scanlan II, Deputy Superintendent, Rochester City School District and Matthew E. Stanski, Chief Financial Officer, Prince George's County (Md.) Public Schools.

About AIR
Established in 1946, with headquarters in Washington, D.C., the American Institutes for Research (AIR) is a nonpartisan not-for-profit organization that conducts behavioral and social science research and delivers technical assistance both domestically and internationally in the areas of health, education and workforce productivity. For more information, visit

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