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Jack Jennings Named to National Academy of Education

Jack Jennings, president and CEO of the Center on Education Policy, a Washington-based think tank, has been tapped to join the National Academy of Education.

The Academy, one of the National Academies of Science, includes no more than 200 American and 25 international members, each elected based on "outstanding scholarship related to education." The vast majority come from academia or research foundations, and it will be interesting to see what perspective a think-tank researcher and former House education wonk will bring to the Academy's discussions.

Last fall, I reported on a forum in which several Academy researchers bemoaned how seldom academic research translated into actual policy or classroom practice, and pointed to think tanks as being better able to market their research. CEP holds regular packed-room press briefings on its studies of NCLB accountability, as well as individual topics from graduation rates to gender gaps in education, and Jennings is a regular on the forum circuit. Might the selection of Jennings be an effort to learn a bit of his adroitness at gaining recognition for policy research?

Jennings said he had talked to Susan Fuhrman, president of the National Academy and also of the Teachers College at Columbia University, earlier this year during an education forum, but he said he had no idea he was being considered for the group until he was called with the news a week ago.

"It's all the top researchers in the country, so it's a pretty good group. I'm just not sure how they lowered their standards to let me in," Jennings quipped. "I'm like Groucho Marx; I'm hesitant to join a group that would have me as a member."

Fuhrman begged to differ with Jennings' description of his qualifications. "Jack Jennings has had a profound effect on education policy in the United States and makes a strong addition to the membership of the National Academy of Education," she said in a statement.

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