Dec 20, 2009 by

As we look today at education in America, we would concur that today’s teaching profession is the product of a mid-twentieth-century labor model; we need to rethink what the teaching profession should look like in the twenty-first century.I am sure UPTON SINCLAIR would agree.


Delia Stafford – Michael F. Shaughessy

As we look today at education in America, we would concur that today’s teaching profession is the product of a mid-twentieth-century labor model; we need to rethink what the teaching profession should look like in the twenty-first century.I am sure UPTON  SINCLAIR would agree.  We know that $68 billion was spent  on  education in fiscal 2009. What has the economic-stimulus funding actually bought? What would Upton Sinclair say? He would probably conclude, “yes, this is way too much, especially since we have 7,000 students dropping out of school every day in America and many of our schools have become noted as dropout factories.” We need to rethink our schools and find ways to make them client centered, for the sake of the children. Do you think Oprah would help us?”:~)

Upton Sinclair would say to all who would listen, “How might we re-imagine the tapestry of teaching, schooling, and preparation to ensure that the changing labor force reinvigorates teaching and learning?” He would ask the Upton Sinclair winners from 2005-2009 what SHOULD we do? I suspect the UPTON winners would have a real answer for all Americans who are actively involved in education.

Regardless of any current academic accomplishment, innovative educational practices are vital to laying the groundwork for continuous and transformational change.

Breakthrough leadership is possible in schools if reform-minded educators boldly step out of self-defeating mind-sets into the wind storm of change. UPTON SINCLAIR  would agree with this idea. He was a man of distinction, not a big spender, and we would take some great UPTON SINCLAIR winning minds who WOULD solve this for the clients, because our clients are the unsuspecting victims of the adults who continue the flow of mindless blunders!

But today as we close out  2009 we have several  forward thinking hard working Upton Sinclair winners! They could all offer our American Public Schools sound effective advice…and here they are! TADA!!!!



E.D. Hirsch- Professor Hirsch has worked relentlessly and tirelessly on behalf of education and his voice remains as strong and true as it ever has. His robust work for the Core Knowledge Foundation has clearly established his ideas and thinking in American education. His books on cultural literacy, the Knowledge Deficit, are now classics and embody the finest in American education and thinking.


Jay Mathews, reporter for the Washington Post has been a beacon of light in the realm of education. Parents, teachers, counselors and all those involved in education have a willing ear and advocate in Jay Mathews. He has contributed much to education and his book “WORK HARD. BE NICE” is this year’s winner of THE OUTSTANDING  BOOK IN EDUCATION AWARD. This book highlights the “hard work” of the KIPP founders, Feinberg and Levin.

Jay continues to investigate various aspects of education and always has something new, novel, original and refreshing to discuss and examine.

Jay is author of the following books: One Billion, Escalante: The Best Teacher in America ( 1988), A Mother’s Touch: The Tiffany Callo Story (1992) Class Struggle : What’s Wrong ( and Right) with America’s Best Public High Schools (1998) Harvard Schmarvard: Getting Beyond the Ivy League to the College that is Best for You (2003) and Supertest: How the International Baccalaureate Can Strengthen Our Schools ( 2005) He may be best known for his rating system that ranks high schools which is used by Newsweek and the Washington Post.


John Goodlad, author of A Place Called School, and many other texts should be recognized in terms of his many contributions. He has been writing about education, schools, school reform and assorted topics for many years. He is the ultimate scholar and gentleman.  We would like to acknowledge his work, his books and his contributions to the field.

John wrote the following books which have had a major impact on the lives and minds of countless individuals. In 1990, he wrote Teachers for Our Nation’s Schools; Educational Renewal : Better Teacher, Better Schools ( 1994) What Schools Are For ( 1994) In Praise of Education (1997)  as well as several others and some of his articles, published in Phi Delta Kappan are considered classics- some are :P roducing Teachers who Understand, Believe and Care (1997) and On Taking School Reform Seriously ( 1992)  Better Teachers for Our Nation’s Schools, a summary of a 5 year study was published in 1990.


Dr.Reagan earned undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Texas and a doctorate from the University of Nebraska. He has served in the positions of teacher, director and assistant superintendent of curriculum, and superintendent of schools. He also served as a regional commissioner for the United States Department of Education and later assumed responsibilities as deputy director for Instructional Services at the Region 4 Education Service Center in Houston.

Dr. Reagan served as the superintendent of the Houston Independent School District (HISD) for 12 years. During that time, he implemented a basic-skills competency program that led to a district wide accountability system. He created a Magnet school system network as a desegregation tool, which became a national model. He launched HISD’s first International Baccalaureate program and formed the nation’s first Department of Technology, which was recognized by the United States Department of Technology Assessment as the leading school-support unit in the country. While serving here as superintendent, the Alternative Certification movement was launched in Houston ISD. Today, university educators as well as school districts embrace the idea and the programs bring large numbers of dedicated individuals into classrooms nationwide. As an aside, Dr. Reagan appointed me, Delia Stafford, as the first director of the Alternative Certification Program in the Houston Independent School District. For more than 50 years, Dr. Reagan has been dedicated to public education a real caring UPTON SINCLAIR awardee!



Upton winner indeed! Mr. Canada, in his 20-plus years with Harlem Children’s Zone, Inc., has become nationally recognized for his pioneering efforts that assists children and families in Harlem. He has shown himself to be a passionate advocate for education reform.

Since 1990, as  President and Chief Executive Officer for Harlem Children’s Zone, he has been touted as producing one of the most ambitious social experiments of our time. In October 2005, Mr. Canada was named one of “America’s Best Leaders” by U.S. News and World Report. Further, the The Zone Project “combines educational, social and medical services. It starts at birth and follows children to college. It meshes those services into an interlocking web, and then it drops that web over an entire neighbourhood….

The Harlem Children’s Zone Project, targets a specific geographic area in Central Harlem with a comprehensive range of services. The Zone Project today covers 100 blocks and aims to serve over 10,000 children by 2011.This alone is a remarkable achievement indeed! The work of Mr. Canada and HCZ has become a national model and we see him as a worthy winner of the prestigious Upton Sinclair Award. He is truly “one of a kind in America”.



Dr. Hess, a true UPTON, began his career in education as a high school teacher in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Today he is  AEI’s director of education policy studies, a noted educator, a  political scientist, and well known  author. At AEI his studies which range from  K-12 to higher education issues continue to make educators aware of the additional changes needed to improve the education system for children who will become leaders into the 21st century. He has authored influential books such as Common Sense School Reform, Revolution at the Margins, and Spinning Wheels.

Dr. Hess will continue to serve as a leader for education and policy as he enriches learning for students at well known universities including  Harvard, Rice, University of Virginia, and  University of Pennsylvania. He is executive editor of Education Next and a faculty associate with Harvard’s Program on Education Policy and Governance. He also serves on the board of directors for the National Association of Charter School Authorizers and the review board for the Broad Prize in Urban Education.


The young Upton Sinclair winner Jay Hartling, educator, student advocate, innovator, leader, and pacesetter serves as the principal of a Baltimore High School, Baltimore, Maryland. I learned about Mr. Hartling when he attended a Haberman Foundation Star Teacher Selection training session with KIPP leaders in Chicago, 2006. He has become an advocate of the on-going research of Dr.Martin Haberman, Distinguished Professor, Emeritus, UWMilwaukee.

In 2009, he proudly stated, “my seniors have over 800 projects to complete. Fortunately we have a good team and we lead the district and state in completed projects, in fact. our school has completed the largest percentage of all projects required.” Further he stated, “I haven’t had the time yet, but I’m planning on taking the scores on the Haberman online tool and the Haberman Teacher Selection Interview and doing some informal comparisons to the teacher’s performance.  I feel it’s there, just need to look at the data that I have collected. In closing he wrote, “Hope all is well, and remember, anything I can do for the Haberman Foundation please let me know. I plan on using the interview to pick next year’s staff, albeit a smaller number since we should retain 90% of our teachers.”   90%is an astounding statistic for teacher retention since many teachers struggle to stay for one year when working in the inner-city schools.

In our large urban school settings it is refreshing to hear about our young school leaders who are shaping the lives of the next generation. To be recognized as an UPTON SINCLAIR WINNER is truly an honor!! I am sure Upton would want Jay to be recognized! He certainly fits the mold.


The past year has been a sad one with the passing of Theodore Sizer, Gerald Bracey, John Feldhusen and Dorothy Rich as well as the tragedy at Fort Hood. We want to acknowledge their accomplishments here.


Theodore Sizer – The author of the Horace trilogy basically gave his entire life to teaching, learning and the educational process.  He has been a teacher, professor, scholar, writer, researcher, thinker and leader in education for many years. He should have been acknowledged long ago, but we take this opportunity to recognize his true greatness and genius. Ted was born in New Haven, Connecticut and received his B.A. from Yale in English. He earned his master’s and doctorate from Yale and served his country in the army. He served as a faculty member and later Dean at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. 

He wrote the following books : Secondary Schools  at the Turn of the Century (1964), Places for Learning; Places for Joy,( 1973), The Students Are Watching : Schools and the Moral Contract ( which was co-authored by Nancy Sizer in 1999) The Red Pencil: Convictions From Experience in Education ( 2004) but he is best known for the “ Horace “ trilogy- Horace’s Compromise : The Dilemma of the American High School (1984) Horace’s School: Redesigning the American High School (1992) and Horace’s Hope: What Works for the American High School (1997)

Dorothy Rich-Dorothy – has been involved in education in many areas. She has been influential in many fields, and will be sorely missed. Her greatest contribution has been to her conceptualization of Megaskills. She sincerely wanted to help students develop confidence, positive attitudes and a variety of skills to help them succeed.  

John Feldhusen – was truly a giant in the field of gifted education. His teaching, his research, his scholarship, his writings and his public presentations did much to advance the cause of giftedness- in all its many forms around the world. John was born in Waukesha, Wis., on May 5, 1926.  He grew up in Wisconsin and attended University of Wisconsin where he earned a B.A., M.S. and Ph.D. He began his academic career at the University of Wisconsin as an assistant professor and in 1961 he accepted a position as associate professor of educational psychology at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind. He spent almost four decades in West Lafayette, where he retired as a distinguished professor in gifted education at Purdue University.

He was the founder of the Purdue Gifted Education Resource Institute in 1977 and continued as its director until 1995. During his long and prolific career he had a very wide influence on gifted education and authored more than 300 articles, chapters and books.

He enjoyed mentoring and collaborating with his colleague’s .He received the International Award for Excellence in research from the World Council for Gifted and Talented Children in 1997 and the Mensa Lifetime Achievement Award in 2002. He also served as the editor of Gifted Child Quarterly and served as the association editor for the NAGC. John will be missed by his friends, family and colleagues in the field.

Gerald Bracey – has for years, written, researched, and been an exemplar of insightful, critical criticism, as well as an ally and friend. He will be missed by all but his spirit will live on.  A small book could be written about him, and his work. His articles will be referenced for the near future, and hopefully, his demand for solid evidence and proof will live on.

Michael Pyryt died in 2008, and we continue to mourn his loss. He was exceptionally well known in Canada in the field of gifted and I still recall meeting him at various conferences and I remember his contributions to the field. His work lives on and his ideas are still welcomed and regarded in the field. Michael was a tenured associate professor in the Faculty of Education at the University of Calgary. He was Director of the Centre for Gifted Education at the University.

His accomplishments are serving a worthy cause. He exudes the much needed attitude regarding the matter of” life and death” urgency for the education of America’s children and youth, especially for the 15 million who live in poverty. An energetic Upton Sinclair winner! We wish him continued success in his efforts to improve America’s public and charter schools.


The Upton Beall Sinclair, Jr. Award

The award recognized outstanding individuals in the field of education. This year, we are again proud to acknowledge the contributions of nine outstanding people and one group who have contributed to the field of education, all of whom are great thinkers, motivators and believe children are important and deserve the best life has to offer. After all, no child has ever ask to be born. So therefore, as responsible human beings we must do what ever is necessary to make their lives meaningful, and give them the start in life that they so richly deserve. The following individuals met the criteria!

Upton Beall Sinclair, Jr. (September 20, 1878 – November 25, 1968), was a prolific American author and muckraker who wrote over 90 books in many genres and was widely considered to be one of the best investigators advocating socialist views and supporting anarchist causes. He achieved considerable popularity in the first half of the 20th century. He gained particular fame for his 1906 novel The Jungle, which dealt with conditions in the U.S. meat packing industry and caused a public uproar that partly contributed to the passage of the Pure Food and Drug Act and the Meat Inspection Act in 1906.

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