2011 TC Pressroom
Teachers College, Columbia University
Teachers College Columbia University

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Data misinterpreted, botched or lost, can often lead to bad policy decisions

Some researchers have political agendas, or financing from organizations that do, some are eccentric outsiders, some insulated academics and others are prominent scholars, and frequently results are published before independent experts can verify the claims. Misleading statistics or bogus social science research can excite the public and agitate lawmakers into making distorted policy. Henry Levin, director of TC's National Center for the Study of Privatization in Education, refutes an argument that researchers cannot afford to wait in publishing their findings. "One study should never make a difference between moving towards policy or not. One of the important features of science is that you replicate the experiment and see if you get similar results. It's the accumulation of knowledge." The article, entitled "Opps, Sorry: Seems That My Pie Chart is Half-baked" appeared in the April 8th edition of the New York Times. When possible, the News Bureau provides a link to the articles and a link is always provided to the online source. Not all online sources archive information and some charge a fee for older material.previous page