We create and strengthen relationships between research and practice.
We believe that education research is an important part of the educational process, and that rigorous evidence, whether qualitative or quantitative, can foster better opportunities and outcomes for children. Rigorous evidence empowers educators, families, and communities with additional knowledge to inform better decision-making.
However, differences in researchers’ and practitioners’ values, goals, structures, and incentives pose challenges for working together and achieving shared goals for improving educational opportunities and outcomes.
Through joint work involving the co-production of research-informed, equity-centered resources, we create opportunities that bridge those gaps. These collaborative opportunities support greater understanding and appreciation across research and practice boundaries and improve capacity for future collaboration.
We center equity and diversity in our practice, programs and in the creation of resources.
A critical challenge facing preK-12 schools is the need for more equitable learning opportunities, environments, and outcomes. We believe improvement efforts must be driven by using both research and local data. Our vision for a more equitable school system links research with local data and rethinks how to connect research and practice.
Traditional approaches to educational accountability and evidence-based decision-making are characterized by top-down approaches to improvement. These top-down approaches sustain systems that marginalize sources and forms of knowledge. To produce a more informed, democratic system, we envision empowering diverse stakeholders in the construction and use of evidence.
Further, both research and practice communities exist within cultures, systems, and structures that have marginalized many members of our communities and historically maintained power hierarchies and accepted social inequities. Increasing the representation of individuals with racial, ethnic, linguistic, and gender identities and backgrounds in the research-practice ecosystem ensures a more equitable and socially just education in our country.
We foster connections among knowledge brokers.
Knowledge brokers – people who facilitate the development, uptake, and implementation of research in policy and practice – are found in a wide range of organizations and roles. These individuals play a critical role for evidence use. However, few opportunities exist for professional learning or knowledge sharing between knowledge brokers, and there is little infrastructure for supporting and organizing their work. A network or community of practice can reduce silos, improve collaboration, and build capacity to link research and practice across the system.
Most of our understanding of effective brokers and knowledge mobilization processes come from other fields and contexts (e.g., health). Thus, it is critically important that we collect data on a range of processes and outcomes to support continuous improvement.
Further, there is little evidence to help us understand and build capacity for effective knowledge mobilization and brokering in education. The need for evidence creates an opportunity for our work to contribute to larger bodies of practical and academic literature.