Bridging the Two Communities Problem

Written by:
Written by: Jonathan Supovitz
Jan. 31, 2017

This is a guest blog post by Jonathan Supovitz, professor of leadership and policy, Graduate School of Education, University of Pennsylvania and co-director, Consortium for Policy Research in Education (CPRE).

 The limited use of research in education policymaking is a longstanding challenge for those who advocate the best possible decision-making by education leaders. The gap between researchers and policymakers, the so-called “two communities problem,” is well known: researchers and policymakers live in separate worlds, with different reward systems and problem-solution time frames, speak different languages, and seek the answers to different questions.

How can we bring the research and policy communities closer together? At the Consortium for Policy Research (CPRE) we have been working since 1985 to contribute new knowledge to inform PK-20 education policy and practice. Today, we are launching a new initiative called the CPRE Knowledge Hub ( The CPRE Knowledge Hub brings together researchers, policymakers and practitioners to share and learn from one another about the most pressing and important problems in education. Building upon illuminating videos, provocative podcasts and insightful interviews, the Knowledge Hub provides the conversational space that allows education professionals to interact, reflect and learn from one another.

One feature of the CPRE Knowledge Hub is Cool Thinking on Hot Topics, a series of interviews with researchers and policymakers around important education topics. In partnership with Education Commission of the States, one of the inaugural Cool Thinking series is discussions with education experts who participated in the new Education Commission of the States report: The K-3 Policymakers’ Guide to Action: Making the Early Years Count. The series includes conversations with the members of the policy and research communities who participated in the Thinkers Meeting that helped to produce the Guide and additional resources. The perspectives shared over the course of the series are nuanced, distinct and immensely relevant to the education community. The K-3 Policymakers Guide to Action series is one small example of what can help us address the two communities problem in the service of the best possible education decision-making.

You can follow along with the latest updates on Twitter @cprehub, or on Facebook by searching “CPRE Knowledge Hub.” 


About Us

At Education Commission of the States, we believe in the power of learning from experience. Every day, we provide education leaders with unbiased information and opportunities for collaboration. We do this because we know that informed policymakers create better education policy.

Copyright 2024 / Education Commission of the States. All rights reserved.