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Education & Labor Committee Republicans

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Committee Discusses Opportunities to Strengthen Education Research

The House Committee on Education and the Workforce, chaired by Rep. John Kline (R-MN), today held a hearing to examine opportunities to improve education research and the Institute of Education Sciences (IES).

Established in 2002 under the Education Sciences Reform Act, the Institute of Education Sciences gathers information on education progress, conducts research on educational practices in the nation’s schools, and examines the quality of federal education programs and initiatives.

During the hearing, National Board for Education Sciences Chair Dr. Bridget Terry Long described the value of quality education research: “As we work to raise student achievement, foster productive learning environments, and bolster the social contributions of our schools and universities, the knowledge, inventions, and partnerships created through educational research are essential – it is through research that we determine the best ways to produce the needed gains and help to make tough decisions about how to use our limited funds.” Dr. Long added, “In essence, research is the foundation for improving education.”

Kathy Christie, Vice President of Knowledge/ Information Management & Dissemination for the Education Commission of the States, explained how materials collected and distributed by IES are used to inform state and local education decisions. “Policymakers at every level in states – chief state school officers, governing board members, legislators, and governors – all have a role to play in developing and implementing education initiatives,” Ms. Christie said. “Research matters not only to those implementers in the field – the superintendents, principals, and teachers – but to those who are committed to improving the system of education."

Last year Chairman Kline and Ranking Member George Miller (D-CA) asked the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to conduct a study on the effectiveness of Institute of Education Sciences’ research. George Scott, the Director for Education, Workforce, and Income Security Issues for the GAO testified during the hearing about the study’s preliminary findings.

“Since its creation more than a decade ago, IES has made significant contributions to strengthening the rigor of the education research field and has considerably elevated the demand for conducting and has promoted the use of scientifically based research in our nation’s education system.” said Mr. Scott said. “However, IES could continue to build on these efforts by improving its ability to release relevant and timely information to policymakers and practitioners…In addition, the ability to prioritize and conduct effective evaluation is critical to helping make best use of limited resources and to support Congress in making informed decisions about which programs to continue, expand, modify, consolidate, or eliminate.”

Noting the committee’s plans to reauthorize the Education Sciences Reform Act this fall, Chairman Kline acknowledged the GAO’s findings and outlined his goals for improving the Institute’s work. “The Education Sciences Reform Act presents another opportunity to help provide teachers and parents the tools necessary to raise the bar in our schools…We should consider streamlining the federal research structure to reduce duplication, enhance accountability, and make it easier for states and school districts to access important information. We must also ensure the Institute of Education Sciences has the flexibility necessary to modernize its research methods and keep up with new developments in education delivery and practice.”

To read witness testimony, opening statements, or watch an archived webcast of today’s hearing, visit www.edworkforce.house.gov/hearings.

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