“You can put off building a highway or an airport, but you can’t put off nurturing a child."
This article is the first in a What’s Working series that looks at innovative policy solutions pioneered by the Rural Education Action Program (REAP), an impact evaluation organization that brings together researchers from Stanford University and China to forge new solutions in rural poverty alleviation.
Once every week for six months, a special team of family planning workers fanned out across the remote towns of Shaanxi Province or journeyed to isolated villages in the Qinling Mountains, the cradle of China’s civilization and habitat of the world’s remaining wild pandas. Determined to make a difference, the workers braved downpours in the dead of winter and long, treacherous roads to conduct weekly visits to families living in the region’s rural corners.
In Shangluo, tucked away in the distant parts of the Qinling mountain range, 70 officials have already undertaken the assignment of “early child development parenting trainers.”
Yaojiang Shi, Director of the Center for Experimental Economics in Education at Shaanxi Normal University, was brimming with confidence as he received journalists, saying, “before long, they will pass the evaluations and become China’s first generation of parenting trainers.”
As the year comes to a close, the snow still has not completely melted in the city of Shangluo, 167 kilometers southeast of Xi’an. On Wednesday, February 11th, 33-year-old Bo Li and 31-year-old Shuxia Yan climb the steep, snow-covered sloping road to the village of Heigouhe in Shangzhen, Danfeng county. On this day, the two officials, who work for Shangzhen Family Planning Services, are paying a visit to the eight newborn to three-year-old children in this nationally designated poverty county.
For 14 years, Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar has been a tireless Stanford professor who has strengthened the fabric of university’s interdisciplinary nature. Joining the faculty at Stanford Law School in 2001, Cuéllar soon found a second home for himself at the Freeman Spogli for International Studies.
The Asia Pacific Journal of Education named REAP researchers Drs. Renfuo Luo, Yaojiang Shi, Linxiu Zhang, Scott Rozelle, and Brian Sharbono top cited authors for the period from 2008 to 2012 for their paper, "Malnutrition in China's rural boarding schools: the case of primary schools in Shaanxi Province." Published in 2009, this paper documented and analyzed the nutrional intake and malnutrition status of boarding and non-boarding students in western rural China.
In November and December of this year, REAP researchers are working with our partners at the Center for Experimental Economics in Education (CEEE) to teach a 5-week intensive graduate course on impact evaluation at Shaanxi Normal University. CEEE aims to raise the quality and effectiveness of education policy and projects throughout China by not only conducting actionable research, but also educating the next generation of scholars on the importance of evidence-based action and the core principles and methodology of impact evaluation.
On November 1, REAP and REAP's partner organization, the Center for Experimental Economics in Education (CEEE) at Shaanxi Normal University, became official Giving Partners of TOMS Shoes, LLC. TOMS adheres to a "One for One" philosophy, and is committed to donating one pair of shoes to a child in need for each pair of shoes purchased. This partnership with TOMS is a novel attempt to deliver shoes to children in Shaanxi, Ningxia, Qinghai, Gansu, Guizhou, and other rural areas.
From October 19th to 22nd, REAP's partner at Shaanxi Normal University, the Center for Experimental Economics in Education (CEEE), held a conference gathering representatives from 10 universities across China and more than 20 foundations, NGOs, and government education departments to exchange experiences regarding education development programs and impact evaluation in China. Founded in January of 2014, CEEE aims to raise the quality and effectiveness of education policy and projects throughout China not only by conducting action research, but also by leading training sessions to help othe
Michael McFaul, a Stanford political scientist and former U.S. ambassador to Russia, has been selected as the next director of the university’s Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies.
The announcement was made Wednesday by Stanford Provost John Etchemendy and Ann Arvin, the university’s vice provost and dean of research. McFaul will succeed Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar, who was nominated in July as an associate justice of the California Supreme Court and elected Tuesday.
McFaul takes the helm of FSI in January.
China Education Daily, a national newspaper published by the Department of Education with daily readership in the millions, published a feature article highlighting REAP research on teacher performance pay structures in rural China. The article rapidly caught the attention of policymakers and educators across China and was widely circulated on a number of China's largest news media websites.