Last year in a shiny glass room one floor above the Brown Bookstore, the Annenberg Institute for School Reform hosted an event: “Advancing Equity through Research-Practice Partnerships.” The Institute brought in Ruth Lopez Turley, founder of the Houston Education Research Consortium, to present on the power of research grounded in community partnerships — a worthy and pertinent topic.
However, one central irony stood out as the elephant in the room: The Annenberg Institute had just undergone a push in the opposite direction.
The Annenberg Institute should heed Turley’s call and focus their research on the Providence community.
The story of Brown’s Annenberg Institute begins in 1993. Former Chair of the Education Department Ted Sizer — a name famous in education philosophy for his vision of student empowerment — created the Institute and executed an agenda of progressive school reform. After Sizer left, Warren Simmons stepped in as executive director with a focus on putting “racial equality and social justice in the forefront of the mission.” Under his leadership, the Institute expanded its reach into the community with a New England-Based Community Organizing and Engagement program.