Saturday, May 23, 2009

Inside the mind of John Easton

Easton is in the process of being confirmed as the new head of the Institute for Education Sciences. I am told that he is likely to be both less dynamic and less controversial than former head Grover "Russ" Whitehurst, now at Brookings.

The remarks quoted in the Education Week piece
One thing that I would like to see as a real priority for myself is to look carefully over the last six years and ask under what circumstances, and under what conditions, are particular kinds of research strategies and methodologies most likely to give the most information.
are a bit worrisome to me.

I would focus IES entirely on two things: data collection and experimental evaluations. These are the thing that are under-produced in the broader education literature. Both are also public goods, and so there is some justification for government to produce them. Put differently, Easton should focus not on balancing the IES research portfolio but the overall research portfolio.

Hat tip: friend at big IES contractor