David R. Garcia

David R. Garcia is Associate Professor in the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College at Arizona State University. A former Arizona Associate Superintendent of Public Instruction, he was Arizona's Democratic candidate for governor in 2018. He is the author of School Choice, a volume in the MIT Press Essential Knowledge series.

  • Teach Truth to Power

    Teach Truth to Power

    How to Engage in Education Policy

    David R. Garcia

    How academics and researchers can influence education policy: putting research in a policy context, finding unexpected allies, interacting with politicians, and more.

    Scholarly books and journal articles routinely close with policy recommendations. Yet these recommendations rarely reach politicians. How can academics engage more effectively in the policy process? In Teach Truth to Power, David Garcia offers a how-to guide for scholars and researchers who want to influence education policy, explaining strategies for putting research in a policy context, getting “in the room” where policy happens, finding unexpected allies, interacting with politicians, and more.

    Countering conventional wisdom about research utilization (also referred to as knowledge mobilization), Garcia explains that engaging in education policy is not a science, it is a craft—a combination of acquired knowledge and intuition that must be learned through practice. Engaging in policy is an interpersonal process; academics who hope to influence policy have to get face-to-face with the politicians who create policy. Garcia's experience as trusted insider, researcher, and political candidate make him uniquely qualified to offer a roadmap that connects research to policy. He explains that academics can leverage their content expertise to build relationships with politicians (even before they are politicians); demonstrates the effectiveness of the research one-pager; and shows how academics can teach politicians to be champions of research.

    • Paperback $30.00
  • School Choice

    School Choice

    David R. Garcia

    An accessible guide to the major issues and arguments surrounding school choice.

    The issues and arguments surrounding school choice are sometimes hijacked to make political points about government control, democratic ideals, the public good, and privatization. In this volume in the MIT Press Essential Knowledge series, David Garcia avoids partisan arguments to offer an accessible, objective, and comprehensive guide to school choice. He first outlines the different types of school choice, including home schooling, private schools, freedom-of-choice plans, magnet schools, charter schools, vouchers, and education savings accounts. Two themes emerge as particularly resonant in the American school choice debate: the long history of school desegregation, and debates over the roles and responsibilities of government. Is education a public good, for the collective benefit of society, or a private good, to benefit the individual?

    Garcia describes and evaluates the major arguments supporting school choice policies: the elimination of government bureaucracies, the introduction of competition into education through market forces, the promotion of parental choice, and the casting of school choice as a civil right. He examines the research on the effects of school choice and summarizes general trends. Finally, he considers how school choice policies are likely to evolve. He notes that the Trump administration's Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, is an advocate for school choice, and that the administration's budget allocations signal a deliberate shift from long-standing federal policies that provide supplemental funding for low-income schools. Instead, new policies provide incentives for low-income families to leave public schools altogether through choice. This book will be an essential resource for participating in the debates that are sure to follow.

    • Paperback $15.95