At the William T. Grant Foundation, we have made it a priority to support research on reducing inequality among young people in the United States. A key area for progress is in the policies, programs and practices to reduce unequal opportunities and outcomes for English learners (ELs).
Reflecting on the odds of upward mobility in light of a widening opportunity gap in the United States, Harvard’s Robert Putnam states simply: “Any notion that you can ‘pull yourself up by your boot straps’ sounds ridiculous now.”
Systematically considering programs, practices, and policies that may move the needle in some of these important areas is the next frontier of research if we want to address inequality for this fast growing group of students.
We are collaborating with our friends at the Russell Sage Foundation to sponsor a research grants competition on educational inequality that will support a racially and ethnically diverse cadre of early-career scholars.
It’s important to recognize that the form of research contributes to the social sense-making process, and can create a body of shared understandings based on research principles. Research designed for use, with specific guidance for practice, can embed common ideas in state school improvement delivery systems.
Despite widespread efforts by intermediaries to shape education by conveying research to policymakers, a recent study finds that very few of these policymakers report using research when making decisions. As other studies have found instances where research can shape policy and practice in a variety ways, what explains this contradiction? And what does it mean for efforts to improve the use of research evidence?
Whether it is instrumental or conceptual, research use needs to be measured in order to be understood. But what exactly are we measuring?
Research works in subtle ways to influence policy decisions and practice. Bill Penuel and Anna-Ruth Allen outline three approaches that can help identify the uptake of ideas from research in practice.
William T. Grant Foundation President Adam Gamoran spoke to the American Educational Research Association about our focus on identifying programs, policies, and practices to reduce inequality among youth in the United States.
Sarah Sparks writes in EdWeek that the “new research finds an insidious cycle” and that “fifteen years of new programs, testing, standards, and accountability have not ended racial achievement gaps in the United States.”