To the Editor:
For more than 40 years, I was the director of the TRIO programs at the University of Utah, which was included in the 2006 study of Upward Bound that Grover J. “Russ” Whitehurst is quoted as calling “rigorous [and] randomized” in the Jan. 26, 2012, post “Group Says Study Calling Upward Bound ‘Ineffective’ Was Flawed” in your Inside School Research blog.
I can say that we at the university did not see our opposition to the study as being opposed to evaluation, which we were not. It was about being required to mislead low-income children and their parents by saying they were being recruited for an educational program when they were actually being recruited as research guinea pigs.
According to the University of Utah’s Institutional Review Board, or IRB, the study design would never have been approved had the university’s IRB been involved; the board saw the design as ethically questionable and encouraged the use of other approaches to assess the program.
We applaud the work of U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, and others in stopping the study.
TRIO Director, 1972-Feb. 15, 2012
University of Utah
Salt Lake City, Utah
A version of this article appeared in the February 22, 2012 edition of Education Week as Study of Upward Bound Used Flawed Procedures