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

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Introducing: National Education Policy Center

From the National Education Policy Center:

Leading Education Researchers Announce Creation of National Education Policy Center

NEPC Focuses on High-Quality Education Research on Policy

BOULDER, CO (September 20, 2010) – With the demand for education research at its highest level in a generation but growing concern about the quality of such research, experts and researchers from across the United States today announced the establishment of the National Education Policy Center (NEPC). Housed in the School of Education at the University of Colorado at Boulder, NEPC (nepc.colorado.edu) stands at the forefront of efforts to bring the highest quality education policy research to bear on policymaking and public understanding of key schooling issues.

The NEPC Fellows, a network of 100 mostly university-based education policy scholars, will work with NEPC because they care about the goal of bringing quality research to the task of policymaking. These Fellows include some of the most accomplished and knowledgeable researchers in the nation, and they will assist NEPC in meeting the national demand for education reform and improvement. “The national need for progress in our schools makes it more important than ever that policy be based on reliable research,” Welner said. “NEPC is committed to providing researchers, practitioners, policymakers, and the community at large with policy analyses and recommendations based on high-quality social science research.”“We are launching NEPC at an important time for American education research and policy,” said Kevin Welner, NEPC director and Professor at the University of Colorado at Boulder. “Policy decisions are too often made without supporting research, or even in conflict with what the research tells us. To help push research to the fore, the National Education Policy Center brings together some of the most important education research and analysis currently being conducted across the nation and around the world.”

NEPC will feature three ancillary activities in support of research-based education policy analysis:

  • The Commercialism in Education Research Unit (CERU), which is the only research unit in the world dedicated to studying the impact of commercialism on education, is now part of NEPC.
  • NEPC will be the new home for Education Review, the foremost open access book review journal in education, accessed by more than 1,000 readers each day.
  • NEPC will house the new Education Research Global Observatory (ERGO), a resource dedicated to the promotion and dissemination of open access scholarship in education from around the world.

NEPC will combine the efforts of two previous major players in the education policy-making scene – the Education and the Public Interest Center (EPIC) at the University of Colorado at Boulder and the Education Policy Research Unit (EPRU) at Arizona State University. NEPC will continue to produce think tank reviews, policy briefs, research briefs, and legislative policy briefs. “Over the years, EPIC and EPRU have seen growing demand for their research publications,” said Alex Molnar, NEPC Publications Director and professor at Arizona State University. “NEPC will build on and extend the work begun by EPIC/EPRU. We have a very aggressive publication agenda.”

The NEPC Mission

The mission of the National Education Policy Center is to produce and disseminate high-quality, peer-reviewed research to inform education policy discussions guided by the belief that the democratic governance of public education is strengthened when policies are based on sound evidence. To learn more about NEPC, please visit http://nepc.colorado.edu/.

And here's an announcement about an upcoming forum co-hosted by NEPC and the Economic Policy Institute:

Education Policy: Separating the junk from the science

NEPC and EPI host forum on Thank Tank Quality and NEPC Book

BOULDER, CO (September 22, 2010). Education policy over the past thirty years has been powerfully influenced by well-funded and slickly produced research reports produced by advocacy think tanks. The quality of think tank reports and the value of the policies they support have been sharply debated. To help policymakers, the media, and the public assess these quality issues, the National Education Policy Center created the Think Tank Review Project, which provides expert third party reviews.

On September 29, 2010, NEPC and the Economic Policy Institute will host a forum to discuss the lessons learned through the think tank review project, as compiled in a new book called Think Tank Research Quality: Lessons for Policy Makers, the Media and the Public. Several of the book's editors and contributing scholars will discuss the challenges in finding quality research to support education policy-making and delve deeply into the core issues surrounding teacher pay and evaluation.

The Project has, since 2006, published 59 reviews of reports from 26 different institutions. This book brings together 21 of those reviews, focusing on examining the arguments and evidence used by think tanks to promote reforms such as vouchers, charter schools and alternative routes to teacher certification. The reviews are written using clear, non-academic language, with each review illustrating how readers can approach, understand and critique policy studies and reports.

The book will be of interest to practitioners, policymakers, researchers, and anyone concerned with the current debates about educational reform and will be distributed free to forum participants.


> Introductory Comments - Lawrence Mishel, Economic Policy Institute, contributor
> The Need for the Think Tank Review Project - Alex Molnar, Arizona State University, editor
> Themes, Patterns and Lessons Learned - Kevin Welner, University of Colorado at Boulder, editor
> Assessing the Quality of Available Research
Vouchers: Clive Belfield, Queens College, CUNY, contributor
Teacher Pay: Sean Corcoran, New York Univ. & EPI Research Associate, contributor

Wednesday, September 29, 2010
9:30 - 11:30 am
Economic Policy Institute, Washington DC
Registration begins at 9:00 am
Coffee, tea and refreshments will be served.

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