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Rokita Statement: Amendment in the Nature of a Substitute for H.R. 4366

We talk a lot in this committee about helping people build better lives. Whether through more flexible work schedules, stronger job training programs, or smarter student loan terms, advancing commonsense policies that will make life work for more Americans is a top priority.

The Strengthening Education through Research Act is part of this effort. The committee has spent countless hours exploring the challenges and opportunities facing the nation’s K-12 education system. In classrooms nationwide, teachers and school leaders need quality research to identify the best ways to raise student achievement and encourage progress.

As the chairman explained in his opening remarks, H.R. 4366 will help ensure school leaders have access to more timely, relevant, and useful information on the most effective educational practices that will raise student achievement levels.

The amendment in the nature of a substitute makes a number of technical changes to strengthen the underlying legislation. First, the amendment clarifies the roles and responsibilities of the Director of the Institute of Education Sciences and the Evaluation and Regional Assistance Commissioner with respect to the operation of regional education laboratories.

The amendment also defines an “eligible applicant” within each of the four research centers. The “eligible applicant” can then compete for funds to carry out each center’s research priorities. Both of these provisions will advance our central goal of streamlining and enhancing the Institute’s operations, while preventing duplication and overlap of research efforts.

Additionally, the amendment incorporates a proposal put forth by my colleague Representative Susan Brooks to encourage schools to support computer science and engineering instruction. The amendment will allow the Department of Education’s Comprehensive Centers to include these subjects when offering professional development and other technical assistance to states and school leaders on research-based teaching methods.

Finally, the amendment will clarify the responsibilities of the Institute and the secretary of education in evaluating the efficacy of programs operated under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, and take steps to strengthen those evaluations.

The Supporting 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 am pleased to offer this amendment in the nature of a substitute, and encourage my colleagues to support the underlying legislation.


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