On February 20th & 21st, the Consortium for Policy Research in Education (CPRE) held an AERA Education Research Conference titled Policy and Politics of the Common Core. The conference brought together a nationally renowned and interdisciplinary group of scholars to examine the political and policy contexts surrounding the current Common Core State Standards movement.

Informed by traditions in policy implementation research and prior conceptualizations of standards reform, conferees discussed the political environment within which the Common Core movement is occurring as well as how policymakers are constructing implementation strategies and preparing for the next generation of high stakes tests. Ensuing papers will center on how these research frames influence our understanding of how reforms unfold. CPRE seeks to engage multiple perspectives to reconsider established theories of policy implementation research in order to inform the next generation of education reform research.

The conferees left the conference with the intention to investigate the national, state, and local political and policy environments within which the Common Core movement is occurring in order to address the following overarching questions:

  • How have education policy and political science researchers conceptualized past large scale reforms, with a particular emphasis on standards-based reforms since the 1990s, and what are the implications for researching the Common Core reforms of the present?
  • How can the traditions and modes of inquiry of education reform implementation research be built upon and extended in current policy research?
  • How does the press for policy relevance influence the shape of scientific inquiry?

The second conference will take place in Philadelphia on November 6th & 7th, 2014.  Participants will present chapters written as a reaction to the first meeting in February.  These short presentation will be recorded and available to view on this site, cpre.org, and the CPREresearch YouTube channel. The chapters will be compiled in a short book written for practitioners, slated to be released in Spring 2015. Participants also plan to produce a journal special issue or edited volume for education researchers.