Switching from academics to politics and back again is no easy task....Eduwonkette seems to miss the political point I was making about making NCLB seem more fair (and powerful) by calling for -- you guessed it -- better data. She may be right, but politics doesn't wait for better data, and educators of all stripes are going to have to think more politically if they are ever going to get into the political debate where the policy decisions are made.
Over in TWIE's comments, skoolboy cautiously concludes that academics can be right and politically relevant:
What's risky about it is that -- at least based on my personal experience -- many policymakers really don't want to take the time to listen, and to appreciate the ambiguities and limits of social science research. I don't want to let researchers completely off the hook here, because most of us aren't even very good at communicating to one another, let alone to others who don't speak our language.
I'm interested to hear more from Alexander and others about what it would mean for academics to think more politically about education policy - is this about the art of compromise? Translating findings for a broader audience by omitting the bloody details? Accepting that the perfect is the enemy of the good? (Btw Alexander, this is a good discussion topic for your AERA session.)