On the last page of the first issue of the new education journal/magazine Education Matters is a feature called “Education Matters to Me,” where an individual voice cuts through all the debate and research on vouchers with a reminder that public policy decisions on school choice are urgently needed to give some children just a future, let alone a brighter future.
In an essay titled “Graduation Wish,” Arizona superintendent of public instruction Lisa Graham Keegan relates a discussion she had with another mother and voucher supporter in a small alternative school located “deep in the inner city.” As they talked about their children, the mother asked Keegan what she looked for in a school. Keegan ticked off high academic expectations, respect for her children, and a positive school atmosphere. But she was floored by the bare minimum the other mother wanted from a school.
“She told me she wanted her son, Chopper, to be alive at the end of high school. Period,” writes Keegan. “I had never looked into the eyes of a mother who knew the system could not guarantee her child’s basic safety, let alone his academic progress.” Education mattered to that parent, but academic excellence was a luxury.
Education Matters: A Journal of Opinion and Research is a new quarterly journal committed to looking at hard evidence about school reform, presenting that evidence in a readable form, and going wherever the evidence points and the facts lead. But it’s also a magazine of opinion, as Keegan’s column indicates.
The journal’s aim is to present up-to-date research findings that are relevant to public policy on education. According to editor-in-chief Paul E. Peterson, professor of government and senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, Education Matters is “a crossover publication that will provide up-to-date information for those fashioning the education world for the 21st century.”
Where researchers and policymakers meet
As the editors note, evidence and reform in education too often have been divorced from one another in recent years. To help bring the researcher and the policymaker together again, the journal has four distinct sections: Forum, Features, Research, and Check the Facts.
The Forum is for scholars and commentators to express differing views on major education issues and reform proposals. Issue #1 kicks off with teacher merit pay and for-profit schooling.
The Features section provides a place for notable authors to reflect on important concerns. In the first issue, Nancy and Ted Sizer discuss starting charter schools; E. D. Hirsch Jr. covers romanticism; and Greg Cizek writes on “cheating to the test.”
In Research, the journal presents new, peer-reviewed research studies, starting off with the work of Terry Moe and Caroline Hoxby.
Check the Facts asks whether research that is already influencing policy actually withstands close scrutiny. Eric Hanushek reviews two RAND reports that were widely quoted during last year’s Presidential campaign.
The journal is a joint venture launched by four institutions. It is published by the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, and sponsored by the Harvard Program on Education Policy and Governance, the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation, and the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research. In addition to Peterson, the editors include Manhattan Institute Senior Fellow Jay Greene, Fordham Foundation President Chester E. Finn Jr., and Fordham Foundation Research Director Marci Kanstoroom.
For more information . . .
Education Matters is available online at www.edmatters.org. More comprehensive versions of the authors’ research and essays also are available online at www.edmattersmore.org. A one-year U.S. subscription costs $20 and applications may be initiated online at www.edmatters.org, by phone at 650/723-3373, by fax at 650/723-8626, by e-mail at [email protected], or by writing to Education Matters Subscriptions, Hoover Institution, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305-6010.