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Education Researchers in the Media

In case you missed it, the Brookings Institution's "Scouting Report" last week featured Grover "Russ" Whitehurst, the former director of the federal Institute of Education Sciences.

During his six-year tenure at the federal research agency, Whitehurst mostly kept mum on where he stood on hot-button education issues. But as the director of the Brown Center for Education at Brookings, Whitehurst is free to opine now on whatever he likes. And opine is what he does in this Q&A session moderated by Politico's Fred Barbash. In the Sept. 2 discussion, Whitehurst comes clean on vouchers, charter schools, merit pay for teachers, alternative teacher certification, and the federal No Child Left Behind Act, among other controversial topics.

In response to a question, Whitehurst also appears to differ some with the contention, recently made public by his Brookings' colleague Tom Loveless, that NCLB is leaving smart children behind. (For more on that, check out this Aug. 28 commentary in the The New York Times by Loveless and Fordham's Mike Petrilli.) Whitehurst says that, while value-added assessments are needed to "give schools as much incentive to increase the learning of gifted students as they have to teach low-achieving students," there's little evidence from the National Assessment of Educational Progress or other sources that the performance of top students is declining.

If you were out enjoying the Labor Day weekend, you may also have missed the article, "What Washingtonians Make" in Monday's Washington Post. Among the 100 Washingtonians whose annual salaries were listed in the article was well-known education researcher Robert Slavin. He earns $140,000 a year, according to the article, as a "professor and director of a research center" at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. Incidentally, that's nowhere near as much as Michelle Rhee makes. As the chancellor of the District of Columbia's public school system, she is paid $275,000 a year—much more than the city's mayor.

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