Nerd Unity?

The post below is by guest blogger, Mike Goldstein. 

Hi folks –

Greetings from Boston.

I am terrible at predictions.

But it seems safe to predict that after this election, there will be calls for unity.

My question:

Is there some sort of quickie “unity” federal research agenda among competing ed advocates that can be fashioned in December 2016?

I.e., still leave plenty of room to battle what needs to be battled, yet carve out some sort of “We agree on 20 studies that should be done; we agree on who should do them; we agree how they should be framed; and bonus we even agree on the methodologies.”  Is that plausible?  Silly?

I’m in no way suggesting a “Be all and end all” agenda.  A quick $50 million that “supplements but does not supplant,” to use the feds’ term.  Just a mutual agreement about something.  Yes, I’m increasingly a sucker for “My esteemed colleague on the other side of the aisle” type language.  But also to show “There’s a lot we don’t know” about education (which I admit is a debatable proposition; a lot of people believe we know what to do, we just don’t have the will to do it).

I would think 10 influential people in a room, 5 on “each side”, could get this agenda done and enacted.

For example, I could easily imagine, 5 years ago, competing advocates agreeing to study the earnings effect on Texas charter school students, in the way that Roland Fryer and Will Dobbie recently published.  I.e., the research at the outset seems to have a decent chance of benefitting either side of the charter debate.

(More on that paper tomorrow).


Would/could friendly edu-journalists with sharply different views ever pair up?

My idea is they interview the same sources together, see the same schools together, and then write a story about the same thing —  with competing perspectives, including a nod to what they agree on?


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