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Education Opinion

eduwonkette Unmasked

By Eduwonkette — August 24, 2008 2 min read

For those of you who pegged me as Amy Ellen Schwartz, Diane Ravitch, Amy Stuart Wells, or Randi Weingarten – what can I say?

You were a tad off.

eduwonkette is written by Jennifer Jennings, a final year doctoral student in Sociology at Columbia University. I study many of the topics regularly covered on this blog: the effects of accountability systems on race, gender, and socioeconomic inequality, teacher and school effects on cognitive and non-cognitive outcomes, the effect of non-cognitive skills on academic achievement and attainment, school choice, and gender gaps in educational outcomes.

When I started this blog last September, it was a modest attempt to keep track of my evolving thoughts about educational research and policy and to share social science research often ignored in education policy debates. But I was concerned about how blogging would be perceived in the academic community. Academics don’t yet know what to make of blogs. At best, blogging is seen as an unnecessary distraction, and at worst, a total waste of time.

Blogging seemed like a respectable enough hobby to me – one I could partake in for an hour a day, all from the comfort of my couch. I was bad at crocheting anyway and tired of watching the Yankees lose – so why not? To be honest, I didn’t think that anyone would read it. I certainly didn’t consider the potential complications raised by anonymity; would anyone really mind another graduate student writing an anonymous blog? So I decided to write under the cover of the fetching masked superheroine in a purple dress who you have come to know well.

Why am I dropping the mask now? Over the past few months, two things happened. First, people started to wrongly finger other educational researchers as eduwonkette. Given the New York City Department of Education’s affection for my data analysis, some researchers rightfully worried that a case of mistaken identity could have negative implications for their relationships with the DOE. Second, others have started to figure out my true identity. It was a matter of time until someone else made my identity known, and I ultimately decided to introduce myself on my own terms.

Will eduwonkette change now that I’m not anonymous? Absolutely not. I stand behind everything I’ve written here, and will continue to write about research and policy issues with the playfulness that makes this blog a pleasure to write, and - I hope - fun to read as well.

eduwonkette will continue to make educational research accessible to a larger audience, to analyze data to assess the veracity of the claims made by policymakers, and to provide a forum for teachers, parents, administrators, policymakers, and researchers to reflect on how research can and should shape day-to-day life in American schools. As we move toward the one-year anniversary of eduwonkette and beyond, I look forward to more of the thoughtful debate and exchange that make this community so dynamic.

Credits: Please put your hands together for the talented Ian Toledo, animator extraordinaire and recent Teachers College graduate, who created this amazing comic strip. Head over to his site and check him out - word on the street is that Toledo’s on the market to do graphic design, animation, and illustration work. When he’s the next Frank Miller, we can all say we saw his artwork here first!

The opinions expressed in eduwonkette are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.

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