History and policy, while often connected, also frequently clash with one another, especially in urban spaces. This chapter outlines three types of conflicting questions posed by historians and policymakers on the topic of urban education. The first, conflicting orientations on past, present and future, explores the most basic differences in thought between historians and policy makers. The second, conflicting purposes of historical interpretation, considers the different contexts shape conceptualization and use of history. The third, conflicting views on historical understanding versus policy action, focusing on the fundamental differences in the roles of these two groups. This chapter draws on examples from historical research and policy discussions in Hartford, Connecticut while also reflecting on the writings of other scholars.
Dougherty, Jack. “Conflicting Questions: Why Historians and Policymakers Miscommunicate on Urban Education.” In Clio at the Table: Using History to Inform and Improve Education Policy, edited by Kenneth Wong and Robert Rothman, 251-62. New York: Peter Lang, 2009. Available from the Trinity College Digital Repository, Hartford, Connecticut (http://digitalrepository.trincoll.edu)
Submitted as part of the Cities, Suburbs, and Schools project for the On The Line web-book by Jack Dougherty and colleagues.