Thursday, October 01, 2009

Flawed Research: Strategic Vision and OCPA

One of my favorite categories in this blog is called "Flawed Research." This category deals with studies opponents of public education have used to try to discredit our schools. The organizations tout the results as gospel to push their anti-public education agenda.

The Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs is noted for using these studies to enhance their positions. Op-ed columns, press releases and press conferences have sung their praises.

Not surprisingly, when put under scrutiny, researchers find a number of flaws and/or serious issues with the creditability of the studies. A few days ago, a survey commissioned by OCPA and conducted by Strategic Vision out of Georgia, was used to show how poorly students were doing in Oklahoma in regards to Civics instruction. These results were based on phone interviews to questions found on the US citizenship test.

Our state newspapers both used the information in stories to show how schools were failing their students. The results, if legitimate, would have raised serious questions. However, a few days after the splash in the press, there was some serious investigative reporting done and further information about the polling company, Strategic Vision, came to light.

The reporting puts into question the validity of the research and results, and puts OCPA clearly in the spotlight of the "Flawed Research" category. One story, Can Oklahoma Students Really be this Dumb addresses the results and methods used by the polling company while the other story, Pollsters Under Fire for '08 Surveys, brings the historical credibility of this company into question.

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