Education Week - January 14, 2015 - (Page 19)

RHSU 2015 EDU-SCHOLAR CONCENTRATIONS 7 University of Washington WA This map shows the locations of the universities with four or more influential "edu-scholars," according to the Rick Hess Straight Up rankings. 6 University of California, Berkeley 4 22 Stanford University CA University of Colorado at Boulder 8 University of California, Los Angeles AZ To read more about the 2015 Edu-Scholar Public Influence Rankings, go to rhsu-rankings. 4 Arizona State University CO TN 9 Vanderbilt University 5 University of WisconsinMadison IL WI MI VA PA 5 University of Chicago 6 Michigan State University 7 University of Michigan 18 Harvard University NY MA 14 Columbia University 9 New York University 10 University of Pennsylvania 10 University of Virginia How Does an Edu-Scholar Influence K-12 Policy? Engage in the K-12 Public Debate By Robert C. Pianta E ducation happens in school hallways and classrooms, in district offices and government agencies, at board meetings and in living rooms. These are the laboratories of education scholarship. To remain relevant in practice and policy, university faculty members must engage with the people who inhabit these spaces. Education schools and their faculties are the focus of withering criticism for their lack of relevance to solving the K-12 challenges in contemporary American life. Faculty members are responsible for educator-preparation programs that put too much emphasis on theory and not enough on fostering essential skills. Scholarship is derided for filling journals no one reads with papers that describe research no practitioner could find useful in daily practices or no policymaker could use as a rational basis for investing millions of dollars. Although perhaps an overstatement of the disconnect, among most opinion leaders, the cultural and political narrative concerning education schools is one of irrelevance. From my perspective, engagement in the public debate not only replaces these misconceptions; it also has the potential to enable real traction on problems of great intransigence. The education ideas marketplace is cacophonous, and it is hard to see how evidence fits. Everyone has an opinion, typically informed more by personal experience than by facts or appreciation of scale. In the absence of standards for utility and impact, district leaders have to make multimillion-dollar choices on the basis of sales pitches. The demand for a scholarly and informed perspective in these debates and decisions is staggering, but not easy to address. I am afraid that too often the rituals and routines of the academy have reified scholarship and public engagement as distinct categories of activity. The training of young scholars focuses on getting the methods right more than it does on thinkPAGE 20 > ROBERT C. PIANTA is the dean of the Curry School of Education at the University of Virginia, in Charlottesville. Address Problems of Practice By Karen Symms Gallagher A I merica is ill-served when promising or accomplished scholars and researchers are discouraged, by overt or subtle university practices, from public engagement in societal challenges, particularly those around reform in our K-12 schools. Whether the topic is the reauthorization of Title II of the Higher Education Act or the consequences of eliminating testing requirements on civil rights provisions within the No Child Left Behind Act, university-based scholars who tackle complex educational questions related to these federal policies need to be heard. Faculty engagement must, of course, be tied to the scholar's area of expertise. It must also be balanced by peer-reviewed engagement. While it is accurate to say that decisions of tenure and promotion tip heavily on a documented commitment to funded, peer-reviewed scholarship, in schools of education within research universities we should expect that documentation to include evidence of impact on the profession. Faculty research that answers problems of practice in a variety of educational settings-K-12 schools, colleges, universities, and nontraditional learning environments-should be encouraged. Nevertheless, the main criterion for judging the quality of the publications must be impact. The Rick Hess Edu-Scholar Public Influence Rankings highlight scholars who fit the definition of "translational researchers." I like to think of these scholars much like individuals who are fluent in two languages: They speak in the appropriate language for the apPAGE 20 > KAREN SYMMS GALLAGHER is the dean of the Rossier School of Education at the University of Southern California, in Los Angeles. Make Research Accessible By James E. Ryan n thinking about whether academics should be encouraged to participate more in the public conversation about K-12 education, it helps to begin by considering what they might contribute. There is no shortage of opinions about education, nor is there a shortage of pundits eager to share theirs. So it can't be that academics are needed simply to keep the conversation going. Many insightful participants are already in the debate. What academics can offer is their expertise. This, in turn, suggests that we ought to distinguish between academics, on the one hand, and their ideas and research on the other, and we should be mostly concerned that their ideas and research are part of the conversation. If academics personally want to take part in debates about K-12 education, they should be encouraged to do so when they can share their expertise faithfully. Given the distorting tendencies of the public square, however, this is not always easy. The real challenge, as I see it, is that many higher-ed faculty members have neither the time nor the inclination to be full participants in the ongoing conversation due, in part, to the highly politicized nature of the conversation. As a result, the good research and creative ideas of academic experts are often left to languish in academic journals. This is a genuine problem, because it means that the opinions often formed and offered by those outside the academic walls are done so without reference to existing evidence about what works and what does not. This is also not a problem that faculty alone PAGE 20 > JAMES E. RYAN is the dean of the faculty and the Charles William Eliot professor of education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, in Cambridge, Mass. EDUCATION WEEK | January 14, 2015 | | 19

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Education Week - January 14, 2015

Education Week - January 14, 2015
Mandatory State Testing on Thin Ice
Feds Confront Doubts in Plan To Fix Tribal Schools
TFA-Like Corps Places Advisers In High Schools
DIGITAL DIRECTIONS: Pittsburgh Collaboration Seen as Model
News in Brief
Report Roundup
With Common Core, More States Sharing Test Questions
New Study Plan Set on Down Syndrome
Blogs of the Week
Growth of Md. Advising Program Runs Into Familiar Controversy
N.Y. Governor Aims to Flex Muscles On Education Policy
Head Start Partnerships to Provide New Resources, Standards for Day Care
State of the States
Blogs of the Week
FREDERICK M. HESS: The 2015 Edu-Scholar Rankings
How Does an Edu-Scholar Influence K-12 Policy?
TopSchoolJobs Recruitment Marketplace
WILLIAMSON M. EVERS: Exit, Voice, Loyalty—and the Common Core

Education Week - January 14, 2015