>The whole system reminds me more of organized crime than >academic research.
Hence the moniker, "Education Mafia". And, although I do not expect to ever see it happen, this is why I really do think a few people among the Education Mafiosi really should be in jail. Besides the incalculable harm they inflict on innocent children, besides the damage they are doing to our society, they are taking public money for fraudulent research.
That said, you have to admire the audacity of the Education Mafia. As we all know, one essential part of the scientific process is replicability by independent researchers. In the natural sciences, this means you describe your work in such a way that other laboratories can try to replicate your experiments. In the social sciences, this frequently means you actually share your data.
If the data are confidential, like names of small children, you take appropriate steps. You can expunge names, and other identifying information, from the data. Or, if you need to be able to identify individual children (say, you need to follow their performance across several years), you can encode the names ("John Smith" is "Student #1", "Sally Fletcher" is "Student #2", etc.). In addition, you ensure that the people to whom you send your data are bona fide academics and researchers and you bind them to secrecy with appropriate legal instruments. In science, replicability is essential, sharing data is common, and confidentiality is SOP. There are no problems.
As I understand the Jo Boaler story---Wayne, do please jump in---Milgram and Bishop asked for the data in the usual way, "pretty please with a bow on top". Boaler responded with a resounding "No", claiming confidentiality. In other words, Boaler was appealing to one principle of research, the confidentiality required in the study of human subjects, in order to sabotage another principle of research, replicability by independent parties. Ya gotta love it.
The only question on my mind is this. Did Jo Boaler really think no one would notice, or did she simply not care, confident in the knowledge that she would be protected by her co-conspirators in the Education Mafia?
Clearly, what Boaler did not anticipate is that a couple of smart men would be able to discover her schools, and discover her fraud, through some clever inferences. Hence her anger and her lashing out.