UW–Madison’s John Diamond wrote a critical reflection of a new report from the William T. Grant Foundation focused on research-practice partnerships (RPPs) in education.
Diamond is the Kellner Family Distinguished Chair in Urban Education in the School of Education’s Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis.
Drawn from interviews with dozens of RPP leaders and a literature review spanning hundreds of recent empirical studies, the report, titled “Research-Practice Partnerships in Education: The State of the Field,” offers a snapshot of the RPP landscape at a pivotal moment.
Diamond’s is one of three written reflections that the foundation published with the report.
In Diamond’s reflection, titled, “Racial Equity and Research Practice Partnerships 2.0: A Critical Reflection, he recognizes the potential of RPPs to forge relationships that lead to new possibilities for racial justice. Yet he cautions they also run the risk of reproducing the very inequities that many claim to challenge.
“As a sociologist of race and educational organizations,” Diamond writes, “I recognize that RPPs are an organizational approach, not an equity strategy. Collaborations among school districts and universities can produce just as much harm as good.”
“Therefore, to work for positive change, those engaged in RPPs need to foreground power and racial justice and intentionally design partnerships that challenge various forms of oppression,” Diamond adds. “In short, RPPs must confront the ‘institutional histories, power asymmetries, and racialized organizational processes’ that shape them. By taking this approach, the field will increase the likelihood that RPPs challenge oppressive systems rather than reproduce them.”
Read Diamond’s reflection at wtgrantfoundation.org.