To the Editor:
The letter from Jeanne Allen (“Center for Education Reform ‘Skeptical’ of Charter Study,” Aug. 7, 2013) questioning the validity of many educational research studies reminded me of a conversation I had several years ago with the main researcher of a study out of one of our leading universities.
I asked: “How can you base these studies on the test scores presented to you by these schools? Surely you must know that many, if not most, of these schools are cheating on these tests.”
I was shocked by his response: “Yes, we know that, but they’re all we have.”
Well, just think about research studies based on scores provided by Atlanta and Washington, and you get the picture.
Sadly, these are difficult economic times, and even our most prestigious universities are turning out “studies” that contradict one another, in accordance with the respective philosophies of the organizations or individuals that financed the studies.
Anyone truly interested in improving K-12 education should advocate for the highest level of research, starting with school tests that are professionally administered by a disinterested party.
Linda Mele Johnson
Long Beach, Calif.
The writer is a retired teacher.
A version of this article appeared in the September 11, 2013 edition of Education Week as Philosophies of Funders Can Influence Research