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Education Research Fares Well in President's Budget Request

President Obama's budget request contains some good news for education research, says Jim Kohlmoos, the president of the Knowledge Alliance.

According to a budget summary published this morning by the Office of Management and Budget, the administration favors giving the Institute of Education Sciences an additional $61 million in the 2011 fiscal year for investing in "development, evaluation, and dissemination." If Congress goes along, funding for that purpose would increase from an estimated $200 million this year to $261 million.

Presumably, a big chunk of that money would help underwrite the big $10 billion evaluation that IES is spearheading looking at what states are doing with their economic-stimulus dollars and whether those efforts are working. But, as Kohlmoos says, this particular pot of money is "really the most flexible" of IES's funding streams, so lots of other research initiatives may benefit as well.

Smaller spending boosts for statistics and assessments are also part of the administration's spending plan for IES, which is the U.S. Department of Education's main research arm and includes the National Center for Education Statistics under its umbrella. One puzzle in the budget request: The administration recommends extending funding for the regional education laboratories at current levels for one more year. Does this mean that the expected overhaul of the laboratory system is being delayed?

Outside of IES, the budget proposal calls for investing an extra $500 million for the Investing in Innovation program, some of which includes research on innovations that show promise.

"I think this is pretty good news for research and development and innovation," said Kohlmoos, whose Washington-based organization represents many of the research groups that stand to benefit from any funding increases. Stay tuned.

Also, for a broader look at the budget, see my colleague Alyson Klein's post today in Politics K-12.

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