The Politics of Data Use
by Jeffrey R. Henig - 2012
Background/Context: Many contemporary education reformers present themselves as reformers who, armed with data and evidence, are locked in battle against politics, the weapon of choice for entrenched defenders of the status quo. Although studies of school reform increasingly recognize that politics is inevitably intertwined with reform efforts, the conceptualization of politics is thin and largely divorced from the broader literature in the discipline of political science.
Purpose/Objective/Research Question/Focus of Study: This study reviews political science theories and findings to inform our understanding of how politics affects efforts in order to increase data usage in education policy and school reform and to lay a foundation for future research on the issue.
Research Design: This is a review and analytical synthesis of literature that for the most part has not looked at the education policy arena in order to derive insights relevant to contemporary efforts to infuse education policy with greater attention to data.
Conclusions/Recommendations: Rather than block the door to politics, those who hope to promote informed policy making might consider ways to use politics to protect and defend high-quality data and their informed application.
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