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Senate to Take Up House's Education Research Legislation

By guest blogger Sarah Sparks. Crossposted from Inside School Research

The Senate is scheduled to put its own mark on H.R.4366, the Strengthening Education through Research Act, which reauthorizes federal education research through the Institute of Education Sciences.

According to a notice on its site (and a hat-tip to Michele McLaughlin of Knowledge Alliance), the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions committee will discuss the bill, along with a handful of other items, on Wednesday, Sept. 17 at 10 a.m. at 430 of the Dirksen Senate building in Washington.

The House passed its version of the bill back in May, after a long slog with a few false starts. The House reauthorization would, among other items:

  • Mandate a strategic plan for IES and outside evaluations every three years for each of IES' centers.
  • Require ongoing evaluations of the regional educational laboratories and comprehensive centers, and would cap the number of the centers at 17 and the labs at 10 to "reduce overlapping duties."
  • Eliminate the specific topics which the National Center for Education Research's research and development centers must cover. Instead, the bill requires the centers to balance coverage of prekindergarten, K-12, and postsecondary issues.
  • Replace "scientifically based research standards" with "scientifically valid research," intended to encourage more research methodologies beyond so-called "gold standard" randomized-control trials.

The House bill also opted to reject a call by the American Educational Research Association to move the National Center for Education Statistics out of IES; instead, the bill would confirm the NCES commissioner as a position appointed by the IES director, instead of being a position confirmed by the Senate (which has caused delays in filling the position in the past.)

We'll have a closer look at the House and Senate discussions of education research in the next week.

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