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Communities of Scholars, Research, and Debates about Teacher Quality

Abstract

"Debates about the importance of different kinds of teacher qualifications have appeared off and on throughout the history of American education, and we are currently in a very intense "on" phase. ... we have witnessed one of the most intense and one of the most data-laden debates ever to appear in the history of educational debate. The characteristics of this debate raise important questions about the role of research in educational debate. As researchers, we like to think that research might actually settle some educational disputes by providing strong evidence about what our best options are. As policy advocates, we like to believe that research justifies our particular causes. But the debate over teacher qualifications makes it clear that research can be used by those on all sides of an argument and so raises questions about whether and what research really adds to policy debates, and about what role research can reasonably play in policy deliberations."

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