My post on the Brookings Chalkboard about adding more research to the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.

It’s been years since No Child Left Behind pushed for more ‘scientifically based research.’ The world has moved on, of course. Now, lots of people are thinking about how to use big data, the web is everywhere, and I expected that research would be more embraced in the reauthorization effort. Whatever one’s political leanings, research is a uniquely federal responsibility, and even more so for education, which is so decentralized by state and district. For reasons I explain in the post, research seems to be less embraced by the current drafts making their way through Congress.

An update: Senator Bennet of Colorado added an amendment to the Senate draft to encourage research and innovation. Its structure is a lot like the current administration’s “Investing in Innovation” program (commonly known as ‘eye three’). The Bennet amendment sets no funding, which means funding would be set in the appropriations process. The amendment does acknowledge the role of research. But increasing the set-aside is a stronger signal. The appropriations process could yield a funding level of zero–the committee simply could decide not to appropriate money for the Bennet program–whereas the set-aside has to yield more than that unless titles II through IX of ESEA are de-funded, which is highly unlikely to happen.


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