With the National Board for Education Sciences still down five of 15 members and with more expected to go at the end of November, outgoing chairman Eric Hanushek told me the board couldn't wait for its normal quarterly meeting to plow through a pile of pending issues.
Though it just met on Sept. 29, NBES, which advises the Education Department's research arm, announced it would meet Nov. 1 in Washington D.C. to discuss and approve priorities for the Institute of Education Sciences, elect a new chairman and vice-chairman, and discuss a handful of other issues.
"It really is a bad situation because every year you're supposed to replace four people, and it's hard to get Congress and the White House to think that far ahead," Mr. Hanushek, a Stanford University economist, told me. "I'm sure they haven't thought about how they are going to replace me."
The board's governing law requires only a majority of the available members, rather than a set number of members, to achieve a quorum, so it will be able to approve the priorities, provided members agree on IES Director John Q. Easton's plan to include educators in future research&mdasha proposal up for debate at the last meeting.
After voting on the proposed IES priorities, the board plans to consider a possible new Privacy Technical Assistance Center to help researchers and school districts safely work with information from states' longitudinal education databases; begin planning the next iteration of the nation's regional education laboratory system; and discuss new methods to disseminate research produced by the centers.
"Most researchers are pretty far away from the actual classrooms and so you can't expect them to be the best communicators," Hanushek said. "We need somebody else who does that."
The final agenda will be posted Oct. 25 on the NBES web site.