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APA Advocacy is seeking your input for an APA response to a recent request for information from the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee regarding policies the Committee should consider during “reauthorization of the Education Sciences Reform Act (ESRA), including the Educational Technical Assistance Act (ETTA), and the National Assessment of Education Progress Authorization Act (NAEPAA), from early learning through postsecondary.” ESRA (Title I of P.L. 107-279) established the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) as an independent research arm of the Department of Education. ETAA authorizes the Secretary of Education to make grants to local entities for the purpose of supporting varied technical assistance activities and to states for statewide, longitudinal data systems. NAEPAA authorizes the Commissioner of Education Statistics to carry out a national assessment, state assessments, and a long-term trend assessment in reading and mathematics.

Specifically, APA is seeking your input on any or all the following Committee questions by COB Friday, April 14th. We regret the tight timeline but are responding to the Committee’s deadline.

  1. What specific changes could Congress make to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of Federal education research and statistics programs carried out by the Institute of Education Sciences (JES)- including the four National Education Centers, the National R&D Centers, the Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems program, and the Regional Educational Laboratories-to ensure JES provides research and evidence back to schools and institutions of higher education in a timelier manner to help improve teaching and learning, and postsecondary access and success?
  2. What specific changes could Congress make to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the Federal technical assistance centers, including the Comprehensive Centers, operated by the U.S. Department of Education (ED) to improve their utility to State and local education leaders and policymakers?
  3. How could Congress strengthen the functionality, relevance, and role of the National Board for Education Sciences in leading JES research activities as well as education research performed across the Federal government?
  4. What policies or practices implemented by other Federal research agencies could inform improvements to IES’ core functions, including policies and practices related to strengthening the researcher pipeline and differentiating the types of institutions that receive IES grants?
  5. How could Congress ensure better coordination among all Federal agencies conducting education research outside of IES?
  6. How could IES better support field-initiated research that promotes continuous improvement and timelier and more actionable research?
  7. How could IES support innovative research methods, including more implementation research, to identify how and why interventions are effective or not across varying contexts? How could IES more nimbly allow contracts and programs to change course when strategies and interventions are not working? How could the Federal government better communicate and disseminate the findings of education research to build the capacity of teachers, school leaders, institutions of higher education, and education systems to identify and implement evidence-based practices in ways that support continuous improvement?
  8. How could IES bolster partnerships with the full range of partners- including but not limited to educators, school systems, institutions of higher education, including minority­ serving institutions, public and private entities, localities and States, researchers, and the Federal government-to more effectively utilize, scale, and commercialize education research to improve teaching and learning?
  9. How could education research better inform and evaluate the relationship between artificial intelligence (AI), instruction, and student learning? What should IES’ role be in both developing AI products and evaluating their effectiveness?
  10. How could the Federal government and IES provide more flexibility to the field of education research to pursue innovative solutions to the challenges we face in education?
  11. How could research projects at IES and grantees better engage students, parents, and educators in the research process, including through recruitment and informed consent?
  12. How could IES improve postsecondary data alignment, review of evidence-based practices and reforms, and utility of research reports and products to provide more transparency around student outcomes related to postsecondary access and completion and interventions that support addressing disparities of such outcomes?
  13. How could Congress strengthen IES research on early childhood education that could improve and evaluate program quality and effectiveness, provide more comprehensive data on access to early childhood education programs, and inform issues of program affordability for families?

If you have comments to share on any or all of the Committee’s questions, please send them to me at [email protected] no later than COB Friday, April 10. I look forward to hearing from you.