There are two sides to every U.S. education policy debate ...and that is the problem.
Those two sides – public education’s entrenched groups allied with the Democratic and Republican Parties – represent the interests of few U.S. citizens on education issues. Yet, with the cooperation of most education journalists, and some wealthy foundations, these groups have become the source of virtually all the information provided the public about education policy. Their selective information is then sold to the rest of the world as neutral, objective, scientific research that, when trusted, can compromise education policy in other nations like an invasive, exotic species of weed.
The Nonpartisan Education Review provides an alternative. We are allied with neither side. We have no vested interest. Unlike the many allied education pundits and researchers who call themselves independent, we actually are. And, we prove it by criticizing both sides, though probably not nearly as much as they deserve.
The Nonpartisan Education Review's purpose is to provide education information the public can trust.
U.S. education has an information problem, an information problem that is exported worldwide. Education research and information inundate public fora and publications. But, much of that information is misleading or awash in factual inaccuracy.
Though much high quality and trustworthy education research and information exists, much does not find its way into education policy discussions. Its path is blocked by a wall of interest groups, think tanks, federally-funded research centers, and well-funded advocacy groups that dismiss information they dislike and promote information they like. These organized groups have the resources to push their agenda, saturating the media and the Web with their own particular version of reality.
In a manner of speaking, these groups own all the microphones, at least in the United States. Any more, research and information from nonaligned individuals seldom makes it past the wall. And, few U.S. education journalists seem willing to climb over the wall to retrieve a story.
Imagine what would happen to the progress of humanity if in the fields of, say, biology and medicine, the only information ever made public came from organized interest groups, and all independent research and information was suppressed. Understanding that may help explain why our country’s education policy is stuck–it is mired in misinformation.
It is our conviction that some of the organizations allied with the two education establishments do our country more harm than good, primarily through their censorship of education research and information. Indeed, it has become rather commonplace for the education groups aligned with the "two sides" to openly declare that vast regions of the education research literature do not exist.
Currently, there are few intellectual or policy research homes for the majority on education issues. U.S. Democratic politicians are dependent on vested education groups for a large portion of their financial and organizational support and can be reluctant to confront them.
As for the U.S. Republicans, a single small group of related individuals has assumed control of the education policy function for virtually all GOP-aligned research and policy groups. National, state, and local GOP faithful are instructed to support whatever those in this tiny group say or do, and to ignore the vast majority of information that would be useful and relevant to them. Indeed, our logo "Outside Both Boxes" was inspired by the Thomas P. Fordham Foundation's "outside the box" logo, which has since been discontinued (perhaps because they realized that, while they may have been free of the education establishment box, they were stuck inside another of their own making).
Allegedly bipartisan organizations that simply join individuals from "both sides" with a propensity to censor and suppress information succeed only in compounding the problem.
It may seem quixotic, but in this polarized, overly-politicized world of education research, we aim to be truly independent. We are affiliated with no group or organization with any political power. We truly wish to embrace those who are not on either “side.”
The Nonpartisan Education Review may be the first research and policy group paying more than lip service to representing and informing the non-aligned and non-partisan--the majority--on education issues. At some point, the dam could break, and all the accurate and straightforward education information that the two U.S. education establishments have strained to hold back will burst forth. For the sake of the world, that is our hope.
Board of Advisors