ERIC Number: EJ900619
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Sep-29
Reference Count: 0
Think Tank Critics Plant a Stake in Policy World
Sparks, Sarah D.
Education Week, v30 n5 p1, 14-15 Sep 2010
After five years of providing critical reviews of education-related reports by nonacademic think tanks, education professors Alex Molnar and Kevin G. Welner hope to expand their own reach with a new, broader research center. The new National Education Policy Center, based at Welner's academic home, the University of Colorado at Boulder, will consolidate his Education and the Public Interest Center and Molnar's Education Policy Research Unit, previously at Arizona State University. It will review existing research, conduct new research, and, for the first time for both groups, make policy recommendations. Molnar and Welner, the new center's director, already are well known in the academic community for the centers they have been running, which study the effects of private and for-profit influences on education and of policy interventions, such as charters and other forms of school choice. Their highest-profile venture, though, is the Think Tank Review Project, launched in 2006 with the aim of countering what its founders saw as "a hodgepodge of private "think tanks" at both the state and national levels [that] wield significant and very often undeserved influence in policy discussions by cranking out an array of well-funded and slickly produced--yet ideologically driven--research." The launch of the new center, coinciding with its publication of a book collecting 21 of the review project's 59 critiques of think tank research, renews the debate over the quality of education research in both the think tank and academic sectors--as well as questions about the objectivity of the review project itself.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
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