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Slicing the K-12 Data on Governors Running for White House

It’s very tricky to draw a direct cause-and-effect relationship between a particular policy—for instance, a governor’s decision to increase education spending or add more charter schools—and an improvement in student achievement, researchers say.

“In most cases, it’s almost impossible” to truly credit a particular policy or policymaker with gains in student outcomes, said Laura Hamilton, the associate director of RAND Education, a research organization, in Santa Monica, Calif.