Reauthorization of ESEA Demands Less Rhetoric and More Understanding of Research
October 5, 2010

Reviews provide analysis of Obama administration's research supporting its education reforms

Contact: Teri Battaglieri (517) 203-2940;

East Lansing, MI (October 5, 2010) – High quality research is not informing the process of reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) according to reviews of the six research summaries offered in support of the Obama administration's "Blueprint for Reform" – its proposals for ESEA reauthorization.

The six reviews, undertaken as part of the Think Twice think tank review project funded by the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice, provide a topic-by-topic research analysis by top independent education policy scholars.

While each review has its own specific findings, there are a number of strong overarching themes that emerge from the reviews. Each reviewer found, for instance, that the research he/she examined was of inadequate quality. Other themes include:

  • Key omissions, such as the Blueprint's accountability system and rationale for competitive grants as well as an undeveloped explanation and support for intervention models – despite these being centerpieces of the administration's education reform efforts;
  • A focus on problems, as opposed to providing research to support the Blueprint's proposed solutions;
  • Extensive use of non-research and advocacy sources to justify policy recommendations; and
  • An overwhelming reliance, with little or no research justification, on standardized test scores as a measure of student learning and school success.

According to Teri Battaglieri, director of the Great Lakes Center,"It is very important that high quality, academic research inform education policy in this country. The future of our children is dependent upon education policy that is thoughtful, well-crafted and informed by sound research evidence as opposed to ideology and rhetoric."

All six of the reviews and an introduction to them are available at

The reviews are also available in a new book from the National Education Policy Center titled, The Obama Education Blueprint: Researchers Examine the Evidence. To purchase this book, go to

About The Think Twice Project
The Think Twice think tank review project provides the public, policy makers and the press with timely academically sound reviews of selected think tank publications. Think Twice is funded by the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice which commissions the National Education Policy Center to conduct expert third party reviews of think tank publications for the project.


The mission of the Great Lakes Center is to improve public education for all students in the Great Lakes region through the support and dissemination of high quality, academically sound research on education policy and practices.

Visit the Great Lakes Center Web Site at: