House panel votes to reauthorize Institute of Education Sciences

On April 8, the US House Committee on Education and the Workforce voted to send legislation to reauthorize the Education Science Reform Act (ESRA), H.R. 4366, to the full House. The House is scheduled to consider the legislation on May 7. ESRA governs the Institute of Education Sciences (IES), the US Department of Education’s main research funding arm and an important funder of research at the University of Oregon. 

If passed through both chambers of Congress, the bill would gradually increase IES authorized funding levels, raising the level 10.4 percent over five years. The bill envisions eventually increasing funding for the National Center for Special Education Research (NCSER),which funds special education research, to a level of $65.5 million. That authorization level is well below the historic funding levels for special education research that ranged from $70.5 million to $83.1 million between FY01 and FY2010. 

The bill also calls for new or improved collection of data in areas such as high school graduation rates, school safety, discipline, and teacher preparation and evaluation. It would add a new focus on examining the implementation of a particular policy or strategy, not just its impact, and it would give educators a stronger voice in setting research policy.

The bipartisan measure is likely to win support in the House, which will increase pressure on the Senate to consider what may be the only education reauthorization bill to advance this year