Sep 22, 2016

UW-Madison Looking Good as New Grants and Innovation Soar

The war on public education by Wisconsin Republicans has run into reality.

The University of Wisconsin System remains the standard for public higher education systems. No matter how zealously Republicans oppose critical thinking, institutional analyses and empirical investigation, much of America hails these values.

Surf through UW dept. websites and the news is good.

From the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Institute for Research on Poverty (IRP):

The Institute for Research on Poverty (IRP) at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, the nation's longest standing center for poverty research, has been awarded a five-year, $9.5 million cooperative agreement to serve as the national Poverty Research Center. The award from the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE), the principal advisor to the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) on development of policy and legislation, strategic planning, policy research and evaluation, and economic analysis, comes as IRP marks its 50th year of examining the causes of poverty and inequality in the United States and approaches to reduce them. The award establishes IRP as the nation's sole federally funded Poverty Research Center, an honor that IRP has shared with the Center for Poverty Research at the University of California, Davis, and the Stanford Center on Poverty and Inequality for the past five years.

Noted in a brief history of the Institute is the commitment to intellectual honesty and implicit moral principles set forth in 1964, (Evanson, Regents of the University of Wisconsin System, on behalf of the Institute for Research on Poverty).

In the politics of 2016, a muttered talking point passes for argument on poverty-related issues, not so at the IRP:

The Institute was created in March 1966, when the University of Wisconsin-Madison reached agreement with the U.S. Office of Economic Opportunity to establish a national center for study of 'the nature, causes, and cures of poverty.' A national center, located in Madison, was a logical response to the issues and the times.

When the federal government undertook new efforts to aid the poor in the 1960s, it also determined that social programs would be studied and evaluated to determine their effectiveness. In 1965 a presidential executive order directed all federal agencies to incorporate measures of cost effectiveness and program evaluation into their decisions. The guiding concept was that the policies and programs then being developed should be shaped by sound logic, firm data, and systematic thinking rather than by good intentions alone.

Charged with implementing the War on Poverty that President Johnson had declared in 1964, the Office of Economic Opportunity (OEO) sought to establish a center where experts would perform basic research, provide counsel, and serve as a ready information source.

To distance it from the arena of day-to-day issues and problem-solving, the center should be located outside of Washington.

The University of Wisconsin was a likely site in view of its long tradition of applied social policy research and because several of its faculty members had served on the staff of the president's Council of Economic Advisers when the antipoverty strategy was being formulated. ...

Sociologists and political scientists analyzed the interconnections of race, segregation, discrimination, and political power. 18

18 In the list of IRP books, see those by Peter Eisinger; see also Karl Taeuber, Franklin Wilson, David James, and Alma Taeuber, "A Demographic Perspective on School Desegregation in the United States," IRP Discussion Paper no. 617-80, and Franklin Wilson and Karl Taeuber, "Residential and School Segregation: Some Tests of Their Association," IRP Reprint no. 333, 1979.

UW-Madison is looking good, as American politics appears on the brink and a new chapter in race-baiting and demonetization has taken hold of the political culture.

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