Education policy: separating the junk from the science (EPI Forums)

Date: September 29, 2010

You are invited to a forum sponsored by the Economic Policy Institute and the National Education Policy Center, discussing the lessons learned by the NEPC’s 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.

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 Think Tank Review Project provides expert third party reviews.

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 University and EPI Research Associate, contributor

Registration begins at 9:00 am.
Coffee, tea and refreshments will be served.