Education Research and Education Policy: Be Careful What You Wish For!

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Throughout the world, members of the education research community have long decried the lack of attention to research and scholarship that is evident in most education policies promulgated by state, provincial, and national legislatures. The Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 2001 (ESEA 2001), which was recently signed into law in the United States, is an interesting case to consider in this regard. Because ESEA 2001 states that education programs and policies should rely on “scientifically based research,” it appears at first glance to offer a welcome counterexample to the longstanding tendency of policy professionals to ignore research when setting education policy. Unfortunately, I fear that this new development may be a good example of the kind of outcome my grandmother had in mind when she used to say, “Be careful what you wish for, because you just might get it!” Readers of JRME both inside and outside the United States may find it interesting to contrast the case of ESEA 2001 with other instances of education policy with which they are familiar.

Journal for Research in Mathematics Education

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