E D 203, Month #1, Sept 12, 09, Updated

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  • Can you think of an example you have experienced personally?
  • We tend to think that only policymakers are influenced by ideology, but everybody is.All groups aren’t equal (power dynamics)….anyone focused on young children suffer from lack of respect and security, but for practitioners (and the researchers who study them), this is particularly true.
  • Shonkoff uses example of brain research and Head Start. Can you think of other examples?Problem: pronouncements are made that reach beyond the knowledge base and programs promises are overly ambitious, accountability becomes high stakesSometimes we are not asking the right questions or using the right measures (IQ with Head Start)Often our questions are too general and don’t look at context or specifics (e.g., programs work or don’t work, we need to look for which children under which conditions)BA debate is part of this: Under what conditions (content of education and training) and the context of your work environment
  • Policy or practitioner tables different than academic tables where expertise and position are paramountWhen there is a gap, people have questioned why. In theory, research is completed, gives an “answer” that influences policy decisions but it often doesn’t work this way. The policy process is much more indirect.There are different cultural styles between research and policy tables. Researchers may not have the same “weight” as the policy table.
  • E D 203, Month #1, Sept 12, 09, Updated

    1. 1. ED 203Public Policy: Children, Youth and Family Issues<br /> September 12, 2009<br />
    2. 2. How Do We Know What We Know?<br />It DEPENDS….<br />In a diverse world, people have a variety of perspectives, rely on different rules of evidence, seek different information, and draw different conclusions from it.<br />
    3. 3. Different Ways of Knowing<br /><ul><li>Fields have cultures and draw knowledge from a variety of sources
    4. 4. As leaders, you will need to be aware of these differences and seek ways to integrate them
    5. 5. Shonkoff is one of the researchers who has explored different approaches to knowing in policy, research and practice arenas</li></li></ul><li>Shonkoff: Three Cultures in Search of a Mission<br />Science, policy and practice all concerned with advancing children’s well-being<br />Different ways of knowing:<br />Scientists: complexity and ambiguity, what we don’t know, interested in questions<br />Practitioners: What we should do, must act<br />Policymakers: What we should do; simplicity, responding to constituent pressure, interested in answers<br />
    6. 6. Different Rules of Evidence<br />Different perspectives:<br /><ul><li>Science: established knowledge
    7. 7. Practice: Empirical data and experientially based wisdom
    8. 8. Policy: science is only one input, mediated by values and “common sense”, Driven by economic, political and social forces, negotiation among competing interests</li></li></ul><li>Ideology and Values<br />We must recognize that everyone is influenced by ideology and values! <br />In addition, professional respect and security is not equal across disciplines.<br />
    9. 9. Public Policy Makers and Researchers<br />Differences driven by:<br />Role<br />Public perception<br />Communication outlets<br />Communication styles<br />Range of research interest<br />Zervigon-Hakes (1995). Translating research findings into large-scale public programs and policies. In The Future of Children, vol 5, No. 3.<br />
    10. 10. Taxonomy to Differentiate Child Development Information<br />Transmission of knowledge across these arenas (policy, research, practice) is very challenging<br />Using this taxonomy to translate and apply what we know about the development of children will help us to craft and communicate “responsible” messages<br />Categories of Child Development Information <br /><ul><li>Established knowledge
    11. 11. Reasonable hypotheses
    12. 12. Unwarranted assertions</li></li></ul><li>Established Knowledge<br /><ul><li>Defined by the scientific community
    13. 13. Interaction between theory and empirical validation of theory
    14. 14. Strict rules of evidence
    15. 15. Monitored by rigorous peer review
    16. 16. Very limited, tightly enforced boundaries
    17. 17. Evolves slowly over time</li></li></ul><li>Reasonable Hypotheses<br /><ul><li>Generated by scientists, policymakers or practitioners
    18. 18. Anchored in established knowledge but moves beyond, “responsible action given incomplete information”
    19. 19. Expansive and limitless
    20. 20. Defining feature: It may be correct or incorrect</li></li></ul><li>Unwarranted Assertions<br /><ul><li>Propagated by anyone
    21. 21. Distance from boundaries of established knowledge OR blatant distortion or misrepresentation of cutting edge science
    22. 22. Masquerades as science and thus, undermines it
    23. 23. Neither advances or guides policy or practice (hopefully)</li></li></ul><li>What is Shonkoff asking us to do as a Profession?<br />Acknowledge and respect the different ways of thinking about child development <br />Understand the role that values play in policy, research and practice venues<br />“Blend” the three cultures: To remain open to new ways of thinking about children and families (the “sturdy bridges”…to recognize that we have a shared agenda)<br />Can start by focusing our energy on understanding the role of context. That is, howspecific services influence outcomes andwhysome children and families do better than others.<br />
    24. 24. Research and Policy/Practice gap<br />Multi-directional in nature:<br /><ul><li>What is known scientifically or factually is not put into practice or supported by policy
    25. 25. Information and answers policymakers and practitioners need is not available from researchers and researchers don’t get input from others in designing what is studied
    26. 26. Policy not in place to support data collection or exploration of issues
    27. 27. Lack of definitive answers undermines research and fuels poor policy</li></li></ul><li>What Researchers Bring to the Table<br /><ul><li>Data that documents existing conditions
    28. 28. Data that indicates if trends are positive or negative
    29. 29. Ideas and generalizations
    30. 30. Influence/attention that stimulates public debate
    31. 31. Support or advocacy function</li></li></ul><li>Researchers at the Policy Table<br />Brokering relationship between those wanting data and those producing it<br />Recognizing that research moves into conflictual and dynamic process (Weiss)<br />If good and timing is right, “research enlightens—punctures old myths, offers new perspectives, and changes the priority of issues” (Weiss)<br />
    32. 32. What do we mean by policy?Edward Zigler<br />Any principle, plan or course of action that has impact on children and families<br />Purpose of child policy:<br /><ul><li>Provide information
    33. 33. Provide funds
    34. 34. Provide services that prevent or solve problems
    35. 35. Provide infrastructure that supports policy efforts on behalf of children</li></li></ul><li>The Policy Process<br />Initiation: problem defined<br />Estimation: consequences of status quo or particular action<br />Search for solutions: decide on action or no? Particular type of action?<br />From proposal to implementation (compromises, unintended consequences)<br />Evaluation: determination of effectiveness<br />Modifications, continuation, termination?<br />
    36. 36. US Child and Family Policies:<br />More likely if it is linked to the national interest <br />Not just based on children’s needs <br />Emphasis is almost always on the economic bottom line <br />More often targeted rather than universal<br />Overwhelmingly treatment oriented (addressing problems after the fact)<br />
    37. 37. Human Capital Theory<br />Where business and economics meet early care and education<br />Focuses on investments that lead to skill formation that will have monetary benefits<br />Helps us predict which policies will affect skill formation<br />ECE (under certain conditions!) can generate government savings that repay their costs and can produce other returns to society that outpace most public and private investments<br />Human Capital Theory and ECE assume: <br /><ul><li>Later skills build on earlier skills
    38. 38. Development occurs in multiple stages
    39. 39. Involves the interaction of nature and nuture
    40. 40. Human capital and child development assume skill and capability, involves multiple dimensions </li></li></ul><li>Key Insights from Economic Theory<br /><ul><li>Spectrum of services best
    41. 41. Crucial role of early experiences
    42. 42. Prevention and Investment best </li></li></ul><li>Politics of Policy<br />Players (stakeholders)<br />Those affected, those with expertise, those with authority to make change, those who resist change<br />Pre-Requisites for success<br />Public engagement (usually crisis)<br />Broad Support<br />Leverage points<br />Legacy of History<br />Economic Implications<br />Targeted<br />Treatment Oriented<br />Reluctance to get involved in “family affairs”<br />
    43. 43. Final Reflection<br />Think about what your personal lens is in the research, policy, practice triangle of communication. <br /><ul><li>Which culture are you most centered in?
    44. 44. Which culture seems most foreign to you?
    45. 45. Where will you need to work hardest to “build bridges” towards the commitment of a shared agenda between researchers, policymakers and practitioners?</li>

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