Education Research on Trial: Policy Reform and the Call for Scientific Rigor

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Pamela Barnhouse Walters, Annette Lareau, Sheri H. Ranis
Routledge, 2009 - Education - 242 pages

Read the author's commentary for the Teachers College Record here: http://www.tcrecord.org/Content.asp?ContentID=15915

It is not an exaggeration to say that the field of education has been under attack. Many, particularly in Washington, D.C., have proclaimed the research to be shoddy. They have called for new "scientific" standards for research. Randomized control trials have been promoted. In many of these discussions, the only criterion is making a more rational and scientific approach to education research. Since the federal government plays a leadership role in defining the terms of education debates, this critique is important. It stands to radically reshape research and possibly school priorities in the future.

The essays in this book take up this important topic. They offer critical insight into how this debate came to flourish. Some of the authors take issue with core assertions of the debate; other are sympathetic. Taken together, they help to broaden and deepen our understanding of the efforts to revamp the field of education research and, ultimately education. The chapters also discuss the factors that facilitate, and impede, research from having an impact on policy.

Teaching and Learning Goals Include:

-- helps illuminate the relationship between education research and policy

--critically examines key assumptions of federal legislation particularly the call for scientific rigor in the No Child Left Behind Legislation

--helps students understand the broader intellectual context of this crisis in education

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About the author (2009)

Annette Lareau is the Stanley I. Sheerr Professor at the University of Pennsylvania. She is faculty member in the Department of Sociology with a secondary appointment in the Graduate School of Education. Lareau is the author of "Home Advantage: Social Class and Parental Intervention in Elementary Education" (1989; second edition, 2000), and coeditor of "Social Class: How Does it Work?" (2009); and "Education Research on Trial: Policy Reform and the Call for Scientific Rigor" (2009); and "Journeys through Ethnography: Realistic Accounts of Fieldwork"(1996).

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