What role should research play in the policy arena?
- Researchers at the centennial meeting of the American Educational Research Association agree that educational scholars in general have not spoken up in relation to equity issues in education policy and politics, and many in attendance were divided on whether education should play a larger role in the process.
- Some attendees noted that research tends to be cyclical and pointed out that scholars re-create data that is already known instead of "filling in gaps in information for policymakers," Education Week reports.
- Others discussed the inaccessibility of academic research, pointing out that lawmakers don't always have time to read multiple-page studies, but prefer succinct presentations that get quickly to key points.
When it comes to issues like closing the acheivement gap, dismantling the school-to-prison pipeline, and even looking at how school buildings and environments impact student learning, research can have a sudden and direct impact on policy.
The AERA aims to push academic research on education to improve pedagogy. It's received funding to the tune of a quarter million dollars from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in 2013, meant for "the selection and support of nine doctoral scholars who will conduct research in the area of teaching effectiveness using the Measures of Effective Teaching longitudinal database." But following the conversation, some scholars may be inspired to play a bigger role in driving policy discussions, while others may still prefer to steer clear of partisan politics.