National Academy of Education Statement on Census 2020

Apr 2, 2018

The National Academy of Education (NAEd) advances high-quality research to improve education policy and practice. The Academy undertakes research studies to address pressing issues in education and administers professional development programs to enhance the preparation of the next generation of education scholars.

As a learned society, we are concerned with public policy and practice issues that education research can inform and help decision makers and practitioners. We join with other scientific societies in opposing the proposed change to the US Census regarding the inclusion of the “citizenship question.”

As is true with any large-scale data set that has potential to impact research accuracy and statistical projections, inclusions and exclusions of questions require a rigorous process that includes testing, vetting, and public hearings to assure greater response rates and accuracy.

Our major concern is for the implications that inaccurate data have on the research process and results. A secondary, but equally important concern is for the potentially chilling impact that such a change may have on the ability of schools and other education entities to continue to serve students and/or their parents due to inaccurate information about who their students and community members are.

Given the American Community Survey (ACS) that is designed to be administered every year already collects data on citizenship, we can think of no demographically sound reason to ask this question again on the 2020 Census.

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