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Advocacy: More Ways To Measure Advocacy's Impact

Screen shot 2013-05-22 at 3.53.40 PMToday's as good a day as any to share with you the draft report I heard about a couple of weeks back when last discussing the issue of how to assess reform advocacy efforts.

As you may recall, the question keeps coming up if and how funders are going to assess the impact of their advocacy efforts, whether they be grants to nonprofits or direct contributions to campaigns or PACs:

"Teachers unions (AFT, NEA) and nonprofits on the other side (Broader/Bolder Alliance, Shanker Institute, and the new Ravitch thing) are actively engaged in advocacy as well, and have to figure out if their spending is making a difference, too."  (What About The Impact?)

As with teachers and schools, poor evaluations can lead to poor understanding, however.  It's not so easy to get it right.  Michigan State professor and TWIE contributor Sarah Reckhow took a stern look at several recent recommendations for advocacy evaluation (A Misleading Approach to Assessing Advocacy)

This newest report, called a Media Measurement Framework, is funded by Gates and Knight and produced by the SF-based LFA Group: Learning for Action, who tells us that the Knight Foundation is in the process of creating an online, interactive version of this framework. This static version will become a collection of online resources. 

No word yet on whether the framework is any good or if any advocacy grantees are using it yet.  That's where you come in.

Previous posts: A Misleading Approach to Assessing Advocacy [Reckhow]; So How'd The Advocacy Groups Do?Gates Shifts Strategy & Schools Get Smaller Share [Reckhow]; EdWeek's Balanced View Of Reform Advocacy


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While not directly responding to the report cited in this post, this article is a good read for anyone who is curious (or concerned) about technocratic approaches to assessing advocacy or more generally, the rise of technocratic thinking in education reform-

Most of the advocacy assessment proposals I've seen treat advocacy efforts similarly to the way economists have studied policies--independent of the political institutions they seek to influence. Political feedback, interaction among groups, and long term institutionalization of interests are usually overlooked.

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