More #1

Arkansas Razorbacks #1 Fan Pin

2013 has been a very good year.  In addition to having my piece with Brian Kisida and Dan Bowen about field trips to art museums as the most viewed and emailed piece in the Sunday New York Times, and having the research on which that was based as the most viewed piece in Education Next, I’ve now learned that one of my blog posts was the most read post on the Education Next site.

This most-viewed Ed Next blog post was one I wrote about whether high school athletic success comes at the expense of academic success.  It was based on an article that Dan Bowen and I wrote for the Journal of Research in Education.

A few other observations about these popular pieces:

  • They are about art and athletics, not math and reading.  Education reformers (including myself) have gone too far in focusing narrowly on math and reading achievement scores, as if those were the only things about schools that matter.  As it turns out, people clearly think that the arts, athletics, and other things are also important and would like to read more articles about them.  I also think they would like schools and policymakers to pursue a diversity of goals and not just maximize math and reading achievement scores.
  • Dan Bowen was co-author on both the art and athletics research projects.  Dan just graduated from our doctoral program in education policy and is currently a post-doc at Rice University.  Next year he’ll be back on the academic job market and I think having two #1 research projects won’t hurt.
  • Department of Education Reform folks had 3 of the top 10 spots for blog posts and 4 of the top 20 articles in Education Next.  Way to go team!

4 Responses to More #1

  1. Parry says:

    Kudos to you for focusing on topics that are of incredible importance to kids and parents — arts education, athletics, etc. — that don’t boil down to standardized test scores, but can nevertheless be analyzed in a rigorous fashion. We need to expand the K-12 discussion beyond reading proficiency levels and test-based merit pay (not that those aren’t important conversations, but they’re not the ONLY conversations), and it’s nice to see serious researchers setting serious research agendas outside of the narrow boundaries that have dominated the conversation for too long.

    Well done!


  2. Greg Forster says:

    Does your finding on athletics and academics help interpret the success of your department’s “team”?

  3. Peter Ford says:

    When my students ask me “Why are you so smart?” (Which opens up another completely different issue on why they are surprised that an African-American male ‘knows so much’) I respond always “I’m not smart, but my parents would turn us loose in the Smithsonian Museums when we were growing up.”
    Oh, that ‘Art makes you smart’ thing again.

  4. Peter Ford says:

    One more thing:
    In the Los Angeles Metropolitan Area, consistently the schools with the best academic reputations have competitive, championship-level sports programs. As I type this two outstanding academic schools are slugging it out in the State Football Championship Game: St. John’s Bosco and Concord De LaSalle. These schools are far from your ‘Friday Night Lights’ stereotypes, in a state rivaled only by Texas and Florida for their football talent.

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