The Center for Education Policy Analysis (CEPA) at Stanford Graduate School of Education (GSE) has won a $4 million grant from the Institute of Education Sciences, the research arm of the U.S. Department of Education. The funding will support about 30 doctoral students and promote the latest skills in education policy research with two- and four-year fellowships in a variety of disciplines.
The award advances a new emphasis in federal education research – to encourage closer partnerships between universities and school districts. The goal is to accelerate the translation of research findings into practice. Stanford, which was notified by the institute in May, is one of five universities nationwide to receive such an award.
“School districts and colleges often need rapid answers to practical questions involving school policies, such as
how to train teachers and how to direct limited resources,” said SEAN REARDON, professor of education and, by courtesy, of sociology. Meanwhile, he added, researchers have traditionally asked questions that are often of broad scholarly or policy interest with limited immediate practical application for districts.
“We think there is a sweet spot where these questions overlap,” explained MICHELLE REININGER, assistant professor of education and CEPA’s executive director. “Our students work to answer these questions using data from school districts or educational organizations that not only offer much-needed practical solutions for schools, but also inform answers to broad, scholarly questions, as well.” Reardon and Reininger are co-directors of the federally funded training program.
The new award follows a five-year grant from the federal institute, made in 2009, that helped CEPA and the GSE to establish the Stanford Interdisciplinary Doctoral Training Program in Quantitative Education Policy Analysis. This next round of funding, again for five years, enables the program to continue its mission of training doctoral candidates to use rigorous quantitative research methods for education policy analysis. And it comes as the GSE is strengthening its partnership with the San Francisco Unified School District while GSE faculty members continue relationships with dozens of other districts nationwide.
Students in the program will be drawn from the GSE and from social science disciplines across campus, including sociology, political science and psychology. Its focus is to identify potential solutions to the challenges facing educational institutions at all levels, from public school districts struggling to close racial achievement gaps to community colleges redefining their role in higher education.
Read the full story on the Graduate School of Education’s website.
—ANDREW MYERS, for the Graduate School of Education