Reform: Value-Added Ratings -- For Think Tanks
This seems interesting and unfair to me -- and an opportunity for someone to step in make a name for herself. After all, just this week AEI's Rick Hess named his top edu-scholar (Linda Darling-Hammond) of the year, and the Washington Post's Ezra Klein named its all-purpose think tank of the year (Center on Budget and Policy Priorities).
Some of the key measures would have to be original research, media mentions, and political influence. Research quality. Cost-per-report. Some of the obvious contenders would be Fordham, Education Sector, AEI, CAP, New America, the Education Trust. Heritage? The Alliance? EPI? I'm not sure. I'm not even sure I could say what constitutes a think tank these days, given how many have sprawled out into space once occupied by newspaper columnists (the "flipped" think tank). Maybe some Gates Foundation program officer has already created such a ratings system and I just haven't heard about it yet.
I know and like people at all of these places but in recent months, I've found the detailed New America blog postings to be the most interesting and informative. And I remain stubbornly convinced that the Education Trust is the most influential in terms of real-world impact though it lacks a (c)4 Action Fund like CAP and I haven't seen a report from them in what seems like years.