Roundtable: Tackling Scarcity with Research: Evidence-Based Policymaking In a World of Budget Cuts
(Public & Non-Profit Management)

Friday, November 9, 2012: 8:00 AM-9:30 AM
Salon E (Radisson Plaza Lord Baltimore Hotel)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Organizers:  John Hutchins, MDRC
Speakers:  Jon Baron, Coalition for Evidence-Based Policy, Karen Cadigan, Minnesota Office of Early Learning, Kathy Stack, Laura and John Arnold Foundation and Mindy Tarlow, Center for Employment Opportunities
Moderators:  Jenni Owen, Duke University

The past decade – particularly the past four years – could be termed “The Golden Age of Evidence-Based Policymaking,” as both the federal government and philanthropy have invested in identifying education and social policy programs with rigorous evidence of effectiveness, in funding the continued investigation of promising programs, and in scaling up interventions with the best evidence of effectiveness. At the same time, the fiscal pressures on federal and state budgets have put the focus on being able to demonstrate cost-effectiveness and return on investment of government funding. This roundtable, the fourth in an annual series on evidence-based policymaking, will focus on two interrelated themes: what models exist for addressing the interest of policymakers in determining cost-effectiveness and how can policymakers and program developers use program evaluations to improve programs and create better performance standards. And, coming just days after the election, this roundtable will provide a political read of the future of evidence-based policymaking. This proposal stems from roundtables that we have organized at each APPAM conference since 2009 on the major growth in attention to and use of evidence in education and social policymaking. We began in 2009 with a look at “evidence-based policymaking (EPB),” focusing on the new emphasis on EBP at the federal level and across the nation. In 2010, the panelists considered whether EBP was “for real” — as would likely be revealed by its staying power during tight budget times. Most recently, the 2011 roundtable examined the hot topic of “scaling up” evidence-based programs as a critical challenge for sustaining evidence-based work in policy and practice. This year’s roundtable participants offer a diversity of perspectives from federal and state governments and the practitioner, research, and policy advocacy communities: Jon Baron, former Congressional staffer and Defense Department official, heads the Coalition for Evidence-Based Policy and is former Chair of the National Board for Education Sciences, which oversees the Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences; Karen Cadigan is Director of the Minnesota Office of Early Learning, where she works to align, coordinate, and improve the statewide system for children from birth to eight years old and their families; Kathy Stack is Deputy Associate Director for Education and Human Resources, Office of Management and Budget; and Mindy Tarlow, Chief Executive Officer of the Center for Employment Opportunities, runs programs that serve more than 2,500 former prisoners a year, including a cost-effective transitional jobs program that reduces recidivism, which is being replicated as part of the federal Social Innovation Fund initiative. The moderator, Jenni Owen, a former senior policy advisor to a governor, focuses on bridging research and policy at Duke University’s Center for Child and Family Policy.

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