Truthiness in Education

Most reports from education policy think tanks are not worth the paper on which they are printed, according to a new education policy research center called “The Think Tank Review Project,” a collaborative research project at the University of Colorado at Boulder and Arizona State University. It seeks to review reports from think tanks and to comment on their research methods, reliability, and validity.

The worst offenders, according to the Project, are the Arlington, Virginia-based Lexington Institute, the Washington-based Thomas B. Fordham Institute, the Harvard Program for Education Policy and Governance (PEPG), and the New York City-based Manhattan Institute. These think tanks, according to reviewers, published reports that were “selectively data-mined” and “seriously lacking in methodological rigor.” To list a few charges, Welner and Molnar criticized these organizations for their presentation of “conclusions that their own data and analyses flatly contradicted” and also for their “resolute use of statistics to achieve a desired outcome.” You can read the report here.

Robert Godfrey

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Filed under AMPS, Best Practices

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