Meet our new Research Program Director
by Eloise Tan, Research Program Director at People for Education
I am so excited to join the People for Education team as the Research Program Director. It seems fitting that the week I start my new role here is also the week that I am registering my oldest child for kindergarten.
As a public school parent, I want my children to have an education that prepares them not just as a future workers, but also as engaged citizens and responsible community members. As an educational researcher, I’m not only interested in the quality of my family’s education, but in the quality of education for all students. This commitment to access and quality in public education is part of what drew me to People for Education.
I think most Ontarians support People for Education’s vision of “A strong, equitable, and prosperous Canada where universal public education fulfills its role as a cornerstone of our society”. But what makes People for Education unique is how we help Ontario achieve that vision – we conduct research and we foster inclusive dialogue with diverse stakeholders.
Now more than ever, evidence matters. Evidence should fuel our decision-making, and inclusive dialogue should be the foundation of our process. When policymakers are considering changes to our public education system, evidence should play a key role in informing those decisions. However, evidence without dialogue can miss the mark. Inclusive dialogue brings evidence to life, shines a light on things we may have missed, and helps us understand the complexities behind the data. I like to think of evidence as the forest and dialogue as a way to find the trees. When we speak of educational research, we must balance both the forest and the trees, because those trees are our students, our children, our neighbours, our future leaders.
When I started out as an educational researcher, I thought my career would be mostly analysing data sets, conducting mixed methods studies, and writing articles. While that has been a large part of my career to date, much of my experience has been around knowledge mobilization – working with stakeholders, convening consultations, and facilitating dialogue. I believe research is a team sport. It’s not something you do by yourself at a desk, crunching numbers. Research should involve multiple perspectives from start to finish. On that note, I look forward to connecting with you as I start my journey with the talented team at People for Education.