The Center for Evaluation and Education Policy is not a traditional lobbying firm. It’s a subdivision of Indiana University’s School of Education. It researches every policy ever considered by any Indiana agency ever connected to education. Consider this brief from 2003 which discusses the value of exporting an Indiana University Social Studies program to Lithuania and Latvia.
Project Citizen is a civics education program developed and promoted throughout the U.S. by the Center for Civic Education. The federal government recommended the program to the education ministries in Latvia and Lithuania. The Social Studies Development Center at Indiana University assisted those countries with implementation, and asked the Center to design and oversee evaluation, including an examination of the project in Indiana. Instruments, instructions, and organization had to be coordinated in Lithuanian, Latvian, Russian, and Polish to accommodate the two Baltic nations.
Most of CEEP’s projects are of a less esoteric nature than this one. The group has published dozens of policy briefs on the school choice voucher program, charter schools, school consolidation, referendums, the property tax cap amendment and every other major education issue that’s come up in recent years.
CEEP is hardly the only group out there researching education. So what makes them unique? Their audience. The group is the go to researcher for many school boards and superintendents looking to get a handle on complex issues coming out of the Indiana General Assembly. Furthermore, CEEP will custom tailor its presentations to whatever information a district asks for.
Concerned that your district may have long term solvency issues as a result of the newly minted property tax cap amendment? Call in CEEP. Worried that your current curriculum priorities might not align with the most recent round of changes to the state’s assessment model? Call in CEEP. Worried that you might not be able to afford the debt payments on the new astroturf you just laid on your high school football field? CEEP will come in and perform a long term feasibility study based on current trends in state and local school finance for your area.
There are countless examples of CEEP’s handy work in districts across Indiana. Consider this study commissioned in 2004 by the Richland Bean Blossom Community School Corporation to measure the impact of full day kindergarten on learning outcomes.
This evaluation uses an experimental control group to examine the impact of full day kindergarten on students’ learning and academic achievement. Specifically, this study will focus on differences between those students randomly assigned through lottery to full day kindergarten and those students who applied for full day kindergarten but were not selected. It will document how these students differed and also the ways in which time is spent in full day kindergarten and half day kindergarten.
Aside from school corporations, CEEP provides much of the research used by other policy groups, interest groups, government agencies, businesses and non-profits. CEEP has worked with nearly everybody: the Indiana School Finance Interest Group, the Indiana Department of Education, the Indiana Youth Services Association, the Foellinger Foundation, McGraw-Hill Companies and countless others. If you see numbers, statistics, or research cited in a policy platform, there is a good chance that CEEP is behind that research.
CEEP is also a major source of policy expertise for news outlets of all stripes. This publication and its parent station WFIU have repeatedly consulted with experts at the organization on a variety of stories. So have most of the major television news outlets and newspapers in Indiana.