Introduction: Assessing the Research Base for A Blueprint for Reform

In March 2010, the Obama administration released "A Blueprint for Reform," setting forth its proposed revisions of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). If enacted, the Blueprint will shape the curriculum, standards, assessment and accountability systems of schools throughout the nation. It will also determine how and where federal education funds will be targeted. It will further increase federal control over K-12 education and help fund a greater private-sector role in the operation of public schools. Mirroring the administration's Race to the Top competitive grant priorities, the Blueprint pushes states to adopt its preferred policies and practices. Two months after the release of the Blueprint, the U.S. Department of Education issued a set of six documents, presented as summaries of "the research that supports the proposals in the blueprint," in order, it said, "to inform conversations around ESEA reauthorization and the reforms that research shows are necessary." NEPC asked experts in each of the six areas to review these research summaries, and those reviews find that the research cited by the Department does not provide solid support for its proposals.