The U.S. Department of Education's research czar is expected to announce later today that he will step down to become a Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Chicago-based Spencer Foundation.
John Q. Easton officially served as director of the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) since May 21, 2009, when the Senate confirmed him for a term of six years.
"Although I will not serve all six years of my term at IES, by the time I leave I will have been here for more than five years," Easton wrote in an email to his staff obtained Wednesday morning by Education Week. "I have greatly enjoyed getting to know you and working with you. Since my departure is still several months away, there is plenty of time for us to have personal conversations to reflect on our work together. I look forward to these conversations."
As director of IES, Easton oversaw the National Center for Education Statistics, the National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance, the National Center for Education Research, and the National Center for Special Education Research.
Easton steered IES through some choppy waters, including last fall's sequestration, ongoing funding problems, a less-than-glowing report by the Government Accountability Office, and efforts to reauthorize the Education Sciences Reform Act, which governs federal education research. (The U.S. House of Representatives finally approved the Act May 8th after bipartisan neogitations over the bill broke down in December.)
In leaving for Spencer, Easton would be returning to the city from which he came. Prior to coming to IES, he was the executive director of the Consortium on Chicago School Research at the University of Chicago. He had been affiliated with that organization since 1990. Easton also served from 2003 to 20007 on the National Assessment Governing Board, which sets policies for the National Assessment of Educational Progress.
According to his official bio on the IES website, Easton "holds a Ph.D. in measurement, evaluation, and statistical analysis from the University of Chicago; a master's degree from Western Washington University; and a bachelor's degree from Hobart College." He has also authored and co-authored numerous reports, articless, and worked on two books, including "Organizing Schools for Improvement: Lessons from Chicago," which was published during his term as IES director.