Please note the use of the word with, not at or for. Using with signals our deep commitment to research that is collaborative, participatory, and emancipatory. We build on recent calls for engaged scholarship in the academy that argues, “Consequential research on meaningful and equitable educational change requires a focus on persistent problems of practice, examined in their context of development, with attention to ecological resources and constraints, including why, how, and under what conditions programs and policies work” (Gutiérrez & Penuel, 2014, p. 19). By researching alongside the East community, our goal is to produce more authentic and useful accounts of school change.
To this end, we believe the University’s EPO partnership with East is an exciting opportunity to take what researchers know about education to a school that will benefit from it. It is crucial that we document this partnership with rigorous research, but that we do not position East as a research “lab.” We believe that our parents and families and our children have been experimented on enough, and we honor this belief in our focus on collaborative research. To construct a welcoming space for researchers that honors the East community, we have developed the following principles that all research will need to address before receiving approval:
Research must benefit the mission of the school.
Relevance to practice must be an explicit criterion.
The research must be useful to the East community.
Proposals must be explicit about how this community will benefit (not just researcher benefit).
Proposals must show how the research will advance the needs of the school without overburdening East and without being intrusive.
Dissemination of results needs to include the East community (teachers, administrators, students, family, and community members).
We have established an East Research Committee (ERC), which will serve as the department review for IRB. The committee shall consist of Warner faculty, East teachers, students, administrators, and family/community members. The committee will ensure that the above criteria are met and will monitor the numbers of studies that are conducted so as not to overburden the East community or disrupt the EPO partnership’s mission.
We hope you will join us in our work to transform East in ways that can illustrate how urban education can achieve excellence through equity (Blanksein, Noguera, & Kelly, 2016).
Michael W. Scandling Professor of Education
Associate Director for Research
Center for Urban Education Success
Blankstein, A, Noguera, P., & Kelly, L. (2016). Excellence through equity: Five principles of courageous leadership to guide achievement for every student. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.
Gutiérrez, K. and Penuel, W. (2014). “Relevance to practice as a criterion for rigor.” Educational Researcher 43(1): 19-23.