Bunkum Awards Winners Brookings and StudentsFirst Reprise Their Shoddy Research
Susan Notes: Three Cheers! I don't imagine many readers of this site ever put any truck in StudentsFirst, but I want this information to come up for anyone who ever puts 'Brookings' into a search. Their standards continue to fall. Put Grover Whitehurst into a 'search' on this site and you'll get an eyeful.
Apparently untainted by any concern for social science conventions or research quality, StudentsFirst released its 2014 State Policy Report Card on January 14th, and it is little more than a shopworn recapitulation of its 2013 clunker. It claims to rate states based on whether their "education policy environments . . . are student-centered and able to support reform." But StudentsFirst simply does not support these assertions.
Similarly, Brookings won its "Look Mom! I Gave Myself an 'A' on My Report Card!" Bunkum Award for the Education Choice and Competition Index. Developed by Grover J. "Russ" Whitehurst with Sarah Whitfield, the Education Choice and Competition Index (ECCI) is composed of 13 criteria used to determine how much a school district supports and encourages parental school choice. The index criteria favor choice as an end in and of itself, making the A-F grades nothing more than a reified statement of ideological preference.
As the 2013 Bunkum Awards judges noted in announcing their decision, the Brown Center
The 2014 version of its Education Choice and Competition Index, released on January 8th, again offers a ranking and A-F grades. As opposed to StudentsFirst, this Brookings report is more clearly presented as based on ideological consistency, with a given set of choice-focused principles rather than rhetoric such as "student-centered" or "reform supporting" environments.
But if our friends at the Brown Center really want to simply help people understand where school districts fall on in the various choice-related categories, we would encourage them to drop the disapproving (or laudatory) approach of assigning A-F grades.
Or, alternatively, if they want to make the claim that the choice-heavy A-rated districts are deserving of praise, why not provide empirical support for the conclusion that these choice and competition policies are beneficial?
National Education Policy Center
FAIR USE NOTICE
This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of education issues vital to a democracy. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information click here. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.