Opinion Journal Talks About Head Start
Check out this interview that Jason Riley of the Wall Street Journal did with me regarding my blog post on the delay and manipulation of Head Start research by the Obama Administration.
I still haven’t figured out how to embed from WSJ, but here is a screenshot:
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It would be interesting to know if Jay and his colleagues can cite instances where quality research actually has influenced K-12 education policy. This interview suggests that our elected officials are impervious to research, so perhaps such examples are rare.
Public opinion would, I suspect, rank Head Start as a winner. Similarly, it is a given for most reporters and the public that “small class size” is a winner.
I would say that high quality research is having a tremendous impact on tenure reform.
from today’s press
Jindal tenure bill OKd in post-midnight session
BYLINE: By KEVIN McGILL, Associated Press
SECTION: STATE AND REGIONAL
LENGTH: 962 words
DATELINE: BATON ROUGE La.
In a rare post-midnight session, the state House early Friday approved Gov. Bobby Jindal’s proposal tying public school teacher job security to student performance. The measure also eliminates seniority protections for teachers when hard financial times force layoffs.
The influence of research is selective, but where it has influence it matters a lot. In some cases powerful interests align to exclude the research. But in other cases the research makes a big difference. The impact does tend to have a time delay compared with the impact of mere raw power, but over time it does matter.
I think the research we’ve done on school choice over the past 15 years was a big part of the shift toward choice on the left over the past five years. It wasn’t a sufficient condition to create that shift but I think it was a necessary condition – the progressives wouldn’t have signed on for choice if we hadn’t been able to show them those findings. And the shift on the left is the reason we got The Year of School Choice in 2011.
See here for deep thoughts.
Greg and Matt,
Good examples. Greg makes a good point that perhaps the “impact” will be gradual and cumulative.
Today’s Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has an editorial categorically stating that research shows that smaller class sizes produce learning gains. I have not looked at recent studies in this area; I recall nothing of the quality associated with school choice research, where the results so often are reported as “mixed.”