Phi Beta Cons

Eduwonkette Comes Out

Of anonymity, that is. She is Jennifer Jennings, a Columbia doctoral student.

Here’s why she stayed anonymous so long:

When I started this blog last September, it was a modest attempt to keep track of my evolving thoughts about educational research and policy and to share social science research often ignored in education policy debates. But I was concerned about how blogging would be perceived in the academic community. Academics don’t yet know what to make of blogs. At best, blogging is seen as an unnecessary distraction, and at worst, a total waste of time.

Blogging seemed like a respectable enough hobby to me – one I could partake in for an hour a day, all from the comfort of my couch. I was bad at crocheting anyway and tired of watching the Yankees lose – so why not? To be honest, I didn’t think that anyone would read it. I certainly didn’t consider the potential complications raised by anonymity; would anyone really mind another graduate student writing an anonymous blog? So I decided to write under the cover of the fetching masked superheroine in a purple dress who you have come to know well.
Why am I dropping the mask now? Over the past few months, two things happened. First, people started to wrongly finger other educational researchers as eduwonkette. Given the New York City Department of Education’s affection for my data analysis, some researchers rightfully worried that a case of mistaken identity could have negative implications for their relationships with the DOE. Second, others have started to figure out my true identity. It was a matter of time until someone else made my identity known, and I ultimately decided to introduce myself on my own terms.

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