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Education Research Use Bill Squeaks into Congress

Thanks to Jim Kohlmoos over at the Knowledge Alliance for tipping me off to a late move in the 111th Congress to help educators translate research into usable classroom knowledge.

New Jersey Democratic Rep. Rush Holt's 11th-hour Knowledge and Innovation for the Next Generation of Learning Act 2010 would create a National Center for Knowledge Use within the Education Department's research agency, the Institute of Education Sciences, as well as a program to train a corps of state-level "chief knowledge officers" to help schools collect, understand and apply the best available research to solve problems. The bill also would add a National Leadership Office for Research to Innovation, intended to coordinate education research and development efforts among the Education Department, the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health and other agencies.

Finally, the bill would create a new Developing What Works Venture Fund to support "fast development of scientifically valid research innovations to solve persistent problems of instructional practice in schools." These seem to be competitive grants to help researchers develop and scale up instructional tools and curricula, perhaps similar but a little more commercially oriented than some of the projects funded through the Investing in Innovation grants now.

Holt attempted to push a similar bill in 2004 but did not get enough traction. With renewed focus from the Education Department on involving districts in education research and making results more relevant to classroom practitioners, it will be interesting to see it the bill is reintroduced with greater momentum in the spring.

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