BiographyDana L. Mitra is Professor of Education Policy Studies at the Pennsylvania State University. She currently is a Students at the Center “Distinguished Fellow” with Jobs For the Future/the Nellie Mae Foundation. She is founding editor of the International Journal of Student Voice and Co-Editor of The American Journal of Education. Dana has published over 30 papers and two books on the topics of student voice and civic engagement. Her research interests include student voice, civic engagement, civic capacity in the Rustbelt, and opting out of standardized testing. Dana also works with professionals as a leadership and personal coach at coachingbydana.com
Areas of Research / Professional Expertise
Dana has published over 30 papers and two books on the topics of student voice and civic engagement. Her research interests include student voice, civic engagement, civic capacity in the Rustbelt, and opting out of standardized testing. Her most recent book prior to this was Civic Education in the Elementary Grades: Promoting Engagement in an Era of Accountability from Teacher’s College Press.
Dana is a mother to two teenagers. She practices yoga and Quaker silent worship, and she finds her greatest truths on a long hike in the woods.
Published: Jun 10, 2017 by International Journal of Inclusive Education: Special Issue on Researching Ethically with Children and Young People
Authors: Dana Mitra and Paul McCormick
This article discusses ethical issues involved in facilitating young people’s resdearch on controversial issues. We examine ethical dilemmas of teachers facilitating a particular form of activism – youth participatory action research (YPAR). We consider how teachers foster school-wide conversations on difficult issues and support students who wish to take a critical stand on issues of race, class and gender.
Published: Dec 10, 2016 by American Educational Research Journal
Authors: Mayes, E., Mitra, D., & Serriere, S
This article explores how elementary school students responded to their teacher’s invitation in a civic classroom to make a difference to the world. We consider how the teacher framed civic efficacy and how the students refracted these ideas in their navigation of a civic education project. The overlaps and/or divergences in discourses and artifacts from various figured worlds of citizenship render some students more recognizable as civically “engaged” and “efficacious” than others.
Published: Dec 10, 2016 by Education Policy Analysis Archives
Authors: Dana Mitra, Bryan Mann, Mark Hlavacik
We explore how the opt-out movement has responded to the combination of a stringent federal policy with weak implementation among the states. Gaps between federal expectations and states’ understandings of just how to make NCLB’s demands a reality have created policy ambiguity. We examine how parents have exploited policy ambiguity through creating contested spaces—places of agency in stringent policy environments in which grassroots can question policy authority and take action.
Published: Dec 10, 2012 by American Educational Research Journal
Authors: Dana Mitra and Stephanie Serriere
We examine the developmental outcomes of elementary-aged students engaged in student voice efforts. Using a case study of fifth-grade girls, the authors find marked similarities in the growth of agency, belonging, competence—the ABCs of youth development. The authors also notice two additional dimensions—the need to engage in discourse that allows an exchange of diverse ideas while working toward a common goal.
Published: Dec 10, 2012 by Teachers College Record
Authors: Dana Mitra and Saamira Halabi
Subjects: Education, Urban Studies
The United States’ Rust Belt experience a paradox of wanting youth to find successful careers but not leave the area. The strategies of the three cases suggest that three specific signaling strategies were most often used to address individual and community policy needs in these Pennsylvania communities: achievement, alignment, and awareness.
Published: Dec 10, 2008 by Educational Policy
Authors: Dana Mitra, William Frick, Marcela Movit
Using the lens of building civic capacity, this article examines efforts to revitalize “Milltown”—a small urban community that has been devastated by the loss of manufacturing jobs. Analysis of interview and written documents identifies several paradoxes that highlight the ways in which the conceptions of individuals and the nature of this former manufacturing community contrasted dramatically with the realities of the emerging global economy.
Published: Dec 10, 2004 by Teachers College Record
Authors: Dana Mitra
Grounded in a sociocultural perspective, this article provides some of the first empirical data on youth participation in student voice efforts by identifying how student voice opportunities appear to contribute to "youth development" outcomes in young people. Specifically, this research finds a marked consistency in the growth of agency, belonging and competence --three assets that are central to youth development.
Published: Dec 10, 2001 by Journal of Educational Change
Authors: Milbrey McLaughlin and Dana Mitra
This article examines the questions of sustaining and extending theory-based educational change reforms. It draws upon five years of research in schools and classrooms engaged in one of three theory-based reforms to discuss five essential factors affecting sustainability: resources, reformers' learning, knowledge of the first principles of the reform and the support of a community of practice, the principal, and the district.