Sputnik: It’s the Right Time to do the Right Thing

Sputnik - Advancing Education through Innovation and Evidence

Over a 37-year career in educational research and reform, I’ve always been an advocate for using proven programs and practices to improve schools. In that time, I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone opposed to the idea in principle. In the academy, there are those who argue about which research designs and measures should count as evidence of effectiveness, but in the world of education practice and policy, this is not the problem. Instead, educational leaders always have a good reason why, even though they strongly support the idea of evidence-based reform, they can’t do it right now. They complain that the evidence is never clear, and they don’t have the time or expertise to figure out what really works. But mostly, they say it’s just not the right time.

Why is it not the right time? The number one objection, of course, is a lack of money. Another is that there are too few proven programs to choose from right now. Another is that there is an election coming, or one has just taken place, or that some other issue is more important. At the moment, for example, evidence-based reform is on hold because of the upcoming election, because Common Core is coming, because school districts are figuring out what to do with Race to the Top, No Child Left Behind waivers, and value-added assessments of teachers, not to mention the long-delayed reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). The current continuing resolution prevents progress in Congress, and then there’s the possibility of sequestration. Plus lack of money.

Each of these concerns is legitimate in its own way, but if we really wanted to base educational policy and practice on evidence, we could do it.

Continue Reading at Education Week

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Current day month ye@r *