Over 75 organizations and more than 1,700 individuals signed onto a September 10 letter to US House appropriators expressing strong opposition to proposed funding decreases to the US Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences (IES) included in the FY2016 appropriations measure that passed out of the House Appropriations Committee. The letter—which expressed particular concern about cuts to Research, Development and Dissemination, the National Center for Special Education Research (NCSER), and the Regional Education Laboratory (REL) program—was signed by over 50 researchers from the University of Oregon, Oregon State University, Portland State University, Western Oregon University, and the Oregon Research Institute. The UO College of Education and the UO Center on Teaching and Learning also signed onto the letter.
The bill passed by the committee would cut the Research, Development and Dissemination program’s funding, the largest program under IES, by more than $86 million in FY2016, nearly half of its total budget. At the same time, the bill would reduce funding for NCSER by $18 million, which cuts nearly 35 percent from the current funding level and on top of other cuts to the program in previous budget cycles. These cuts would have a profound impact on University of Oregon researchers as the UO College of Education is one of the top performers in receiving IES grants. The result of these cuts, if enacted, would be no new grant awards under NCSER.
The letter was co-authored by education deans from the Association of American University member institutions through the Learning and Education Academic Research Network (LEARN) Coalition and the American Educational Research Association (AERA). The UO is an active member of the LEARN Coalition, a coalition of leading research colleges of education which advocates investment in multi-disciplinary research to advance the scientific understanding of learning and development.