Senator Harkin Calls For End To Lung Cancer Research

Okay, he didn’t say that. I made that up.

Instead, he just wants to kill the first ever scientifically valid evaluation of Upward Bound. From Ed Week:

The concerns in Congress pose a challenge to the Bush administration’s ongoing efforts to seed and promote randomized experiments in education. The Education Department’s top research officials see such scientific experiments as a way to transform education into an “evidence-based practice” not unlike medicine.

It’s not just electeds; the Upward Bound people themselves don’t want to know how they’re doing. Their fig leaf:

“You can’t tell a kid, ‘You’re going to be in this life-changing program,’ and then say, ‘No you’re only going to be in the control group.'”

Actually, we can and do say “You may not get this drug, because we have no idea if it it’s life-saving, beyond that it seems to do a nice job with mice.”

For years, our charter school has tried to have an independent MIT economist compare our admission lottery winners to lottery losers. We have waivers from parents. State officials still say no, (mistakenly) interpreting FERPA. (Shameless plug: If any fed DOE people read this, and want to help straighten it out, get in touch!)

Without this analysis, which controls for any selection bias of who chooses to enter the lottery, we’ll never have legit understanding of the academic gains (or lack) generated by our charter school.

-Guestblogger Mike Goldstein

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