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Education Research Braces for Uncertain Budget Future

When it comes to education research, President Trump's budget blueprint this morning may speak loudest in what it doesn't say. In the midst of pitching massive new school choice programs and deep cuts to other programs, there's no mention of the Institute of Education Sciences. Or the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development over in the National Institutes of Health. Or, for that matter, the National Science Foundation, which is effectively the nation's largest education research funder.

The blueprint does call for $1.5 billion for the Census Bureau, a $100 million bump, to help prepare for the federally required 2020 decennial Census, but it doesn't say anything about the American Communities Survey, which provides data for many education programs and studies. Nor is there mention of the Civil Rights Data Collection under either the Education or Justice Departments.

The full, detailed tables for agency budgets haven't come out yet, but it's unusual to not have at least top line numbers for the nation's biggest research funders. And while there have been no line-item cuts for IES so far, a separate analysis by the Committee for Education Funding does highlight that the research agency would face about a 5.5 percent cut across the board for nothing else than the ongoing rollout of the government cuts known as the sequester.

Rush Holt, the chief executive officer of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, warned in a statement that the budget proposal "would cripple the science and technology enterprise through shortsighted cuts to discovery science programs and critical mission agencies alike." 

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