Working with partners within the Educational Justice Network, SCOPE is developing and piloting several projects that engage community-based organizations with researchers to establish the kind and format of information that would be of the most use to the grass roots organizations as well as study both how CBO’s use the information and with what types of influence on local educational decision making and policy.
In this moment, the underlying purposes of this set of projects--developing and better understanding the use of evidence to foster democracy--could not be more important. Democracy depends upon an educated and engaged citizenry. Without an informed and engaged community, the American experiment in democracy will fail. Yet, the perspectives and expertise of community stakeholders are all too rarely reflected in policy decisions. These projects will increase the capacity of community members to access and use evidence as well as the skills and opportunities to use that evidence to engage with positional (traditional) decision makers in creating educational policy -- and will develop the capacity of researchers to support that core mission of democracy. As Dewey presciently noted, "science" is most effective when researchers engage in sustained, reciprocal public inquiry around the actual challenges within specific contexts.