Every January, Education Week blogger Rick Hess releases his RHSU Edu-Scholar Public Influence Rankings. In conjunction, Education Week Opinion takes a closer look at some of the data Hess uses for his rankings and explores a relevant issue in public scholarship. This year, Hess, in an essay co-authored with educator Mike Goldstein, asks whether researchers and education leaders can ever fulfill the promise of collaboration. Too often, Hess and Goldstein say, educators point to evidence as justification for their decisions rather than use evidence to inform them. For their own reasons, scholars go along with the charade.
To move past this devil’s bargain, some education leaders and researchers have formalized their relationships around specific aims, creating what are known as “research-practice partnerships.” But is this innovation really better at bridging the gap between research and practice than other arrangements? The authors of the other essays in this collection, all veterans of RPPs, believe it is, and they describe what it takes to make it successful.