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Big Education Research Cuts Included in Trump's Proposed 2020 Budget

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President Trump's proposed budget for 2020 would boost the Education Innovation and Research fund, but would cut back on education research sharply in other areas across the federal government.

Under the proposal released Monday, the Education Department as a whole would take a 10 percent, or $7.1 billion, cut down to $64 billion beginning in October. 

The Institute of Education Sciences, the Education Department's research agency, would receive $521.6 million in fiscal 2020, a cut of more than 15 percent, or $93.9 million, from fiscal 2019. The regional education laboratories and the Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems grants,—both perennially on the chopping block, were again eliminated in the current proposal, and research and development was cut by $5 million.

In a speech in Washington last week at a meeting of the Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness, IES Director Mark Schneider said the agency would prioritize cost-effectiveness in future research grants, and will also call for more research to identify the most critical pieces of interventions. "We want to identify core components. Many interventions have many moving parts; can we identify the 20 percent of the intervention that gets us 80 percent of the way and may save us time and money?" he said.

In its budget announcement, the department did tout a $170 million expansion of the Education Department's Education Innovation and Research fund, to $300 million. That would include a new $200 million program to evaluate the effectiveness of giving teachers vouchers for ongoing professional development; $100 million to develop and evaluate science, technology, engineering and mathematics-related interventions; and $50 million to help districts experiment with weighted student-funding formulas.

Research in Other Agencies

The National Institutes of Health would receive $33.7 billion, putting it more than 4.6 billion below fiscal 2019, and well below fiscal 2018 spending. There were few details about social science and education research in particular, but research and development in general under the National Science Foundation would be cut by 11 percent from fiscal 2019 levels, to $134 billion.

Likewise, the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development would receive just under $1.3 billion, down more than $210 million from fiscal 2019. And while details about the National Science Foundation were scarce in the initial budget proposal, budget tables noted that the agency would be up for a 9 percent cut from fiscal 2019, moving from $7.8 billion to $7.1 billion in funding.

The administration's two prior budget proposals met a frosty reception on Capitol Hill, and it remains to be seen whether Congress will favor the current proposals. 

See Education Week's full fiscal 2020 budget coverage here

Image Source: Getty

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