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Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach testifies on useful, usable and relevant data in education research

June 28, 2017


Testimony of Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach

Subcommittee Chair Rokita, Ranking Member Polis, and Members of the Committee, thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today to discuss opportunities to strengthen education research while protecting student privacy.

I am Dr. Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach, and I am Director of the Hamilton Project and a Senior Fellow in Economic Studies at the Brookings Institution. I am Professor of Education and Social Policy at Northwestern University, and conduct research on policies related to children, including education policy. At Northwestern, I serve as the director of the Multidisciplinary Program in Education Studies—a pre-doctoral training program sponsored by the federal Institute of Education Sciences. I am also a member a of national interdisciplinary network funded by the National Science Foundation and headed by my Northwestern colleague Dr. David Figlio, that includes scholars, policymakers and education administrators working together using longitudinal data to better inform research-based practice.

My testimony reflects my experience conducting research studies and engaging with practitioners for over 20 years, using federal education surveys collected by the National Center for Education Statistics, as well as longitudinal state and district data systems that have the capacity to follow students over time.

Our education system must continue to adapt and improve to ensure that our nation is prepared for the jobs of the future. This includes better educating an increasingly diverse population across all skill domains, and making more careful, efficient use of public resources. Rigorous and relevant education research on policy and practice are a critical component of an education system dedicated to continuous improvement.

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