WASHINGTON, D.C. | May 8, 2014 -
More than a decade ago, Congress approved the Education Sciences Reform Act, legislation that established the Institute of Education Sciences to gather information on education progress, conduct research on education practices in schools, and evaluate the effectiveness of federal education programs and initiatives.
Like many of my colleagues, I believe the federal government’s role in education needs to be significantly reduced. That is why we passed the Student Success Act last summer, comprehensive education reform legislation that will shrink the federal footprint in the classroom and return control to the parents, teachers, and community leaders who know our children best.
While we continue to await Senate action on the Student Success Act, we have additional opportunities to act on commonsense proposals that will make the federal role in education more effective and efficient. The research produced by the Institute sheds critical light on how taxpayer dollars are being used in our education system, and can provide important information on what is and is not working in our schools.
The Strengthening Education through Research Act will improve education research, protect taxpayers by enhancing program accountability, and help ensure more schools and students can benefit from effective education practices.
This law provides information that helps states and school districts identify successful education practices, and allows taxpayers and congressional leaders to monitor the federal investment in education. However, the Education Sciences Reform Act is overdue for reform, with several weaknesses in the law that must be addressed.
For example, according to a report by the Government Accountability Office, the Institute does not always properly evaluate the effectiveness of its programs and research arms. This could lead to unnecessary costs and redundancies, something we must be particularly wary of in these times of fiscal restraint. Additionally, although the Institute has dramatically improved the quality of education research in recent years, there is often a significant delay in disseminating key data and findings to education leaders nationwide.
The Supporting Education through Research Act will address these weaknesses and help school leaders access more timely, relevant, and useful information on the most effective educational practices.
First, H.R. 4366 will enhance the relevancy of education research, ensuring teachers, students, parents, and policymakers can access more useful information about successful education practices.
Second, the legislation will take steps to streamline the education research system and reduce overlap and duplicative research efforts. The bill will also require the Institute to regularly evaluate its research and review the efficacy of federal education programs, ensuring taxpayer resources are being put to good use.
Finally, H.R. 4366 will ensure the Institute and the National Assessment Governing Board, which administers the Nation’s Report Card, remain autonomous entities that are free from political influence and bias.
Not only does this legislation help teachers, school leaders, and state and local governments, it also helps families. Families, particularly military families, can change school districts several times during their child’s education. Our experience with the free market tells us informed consumers are better consumers. As consumers of education, families deserve the best information possible in making decisions regarding their child’s education.
The Strengthening Education through Research Act will improve education research, protect taxpayers by enhancing program accountability, and help ensure more schools and students can benefit from effective education practices. I urge my colleagues to support the Strengthening Education through Research Act.
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