Thompson: It's Not "Research" Just Because Someone Says It Is
Robin Rogers' guest post in The Education Optimists explains that contemporary philanthropists are creating a hybrid method of effecting change. The bad news is that "billionaire policymaking" can instill fear of retaliation, thus quashing open discussions. She also notes that some reformers believe that this "brass knuckle philanthropy" is a basically good idea. "Philanthro-policymaking," as Rogers dubs this new approach, funds numerous position papers that have the veneer of academic scholarship, given what she calls the "language of science." Rogers characterizes its method as "funding ‘research’ and gathering ‘evidence’ in ‘experiments.’" These non-peer reviewed papers are not educational research, however, as much as reports on "policy experiments." Rogers concludes that, "we must not allow the language of science to obscure the power of the economic elite." She sees this "policy seeding is an effective political strategy," as opposed to an objective search for truth. Rogers also makes the sensible point that by giving the phenomena a name, we can better discuss its implications.-JT (@drjohnthompson)Image via.