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Friday, July 25, 2014

Compelling Education Quote of the Week: Research or Advocacy?

"I think the charter idea is a brilliant idea, but we need to handle it responsibly. ... Trying to make sweeping statements about charter schools or district schools does not advance the overall cause of improving American public education." Joe Nathan, director of the Center for School Change in Minneapolis, quoted on NPR.

Context: Nathan was responding to a just issued report by the Department of Education Reform at the University of Arkansas. Researchers analyzed finances and NAEP test scores to determine that students in charter and regular schools perform about the same. But, the report goes on to say, charter schools have less funding so are more efficient.

Some called the report another instance of advocacy research and say it needs to be taken with a few grains of salt.

Patrick Wolf, author of the study, said, “Public policy in education can't ignore cost. Money is scarce, so it's a service to policymakers for them to know which education sectors are most productive."

What's your take?

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