"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Monday, July 26, 2010

The Hypocrisy of Andrew Rotherham

There might not be a more controversial topic in education reform than the effectiveness of Teach For America. Andrew J. Rotherham addressed some of the research around TFA in an Eduwonk blog posting today, but it's not really what he says about TFA that piqued my interest. Instead, Rotherham made some comments about education research that deserve a bit of attention.

Rotherham is pretty upset about a recent report looking at the effectiveness of TFA put out by the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice. The Eduwonk concluded his first paragraph with this sentence:
The report conveniently highlights two problems: Our field’s pathetic and weaponized approach to research and the problem of “study laundering.”
These issues may be very real in the field of education research. Rotherham concludes his post with the following statement:
In other words, the problem of the easily fooled or the agenda-driven becomes everyone’s problem because it further clouds already complicated issues.
Fair enough, Andy. But the reasons this caught my attention has to do with EdSector's scrubbing of Tom Toch's CMO report that was released in late 2009. Can Rotherham really claim the high road here when his think tank obviously cut significant sections from Toch's original report and inserted additional comments in order to fit the views of the pro-CMO crowd?

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