National Board for Education Sciences and National Science Board Convene
National Board for Education Sciences and National Science Board Convene

November 2016

The National Board for Education Sciences (NBES), the governing board for the Institute of Education Sciences (IES), held a conference call on November 9.This marked NBES’s first meeting since President Barack Obama appointed AERA Past-President Jeannie Oakes, along with reappointing David Chard, president of Wheelock College, and Larry Hedges, Board of Trustees Professor of Statistics and Social Policy at Northwestern University, to serve on the board in July. Prior to this call, NBES last met in June 2015.

The meeting began with the selection of Larry Hedges to serve as chair. NBES members received an update from IES acting director Ruth Neild, who described several of the initiatives that IES undertook over the past year, including expanding its communications efforts and positioning IES-funded research and programs as part of the decision making for states and districts under the Every Student Succeeds Act. Peggy Carr, acting commissioner of the National Center for Education Statistics, provided an update on the center’s 2017 fiscal year (FY) budget request and recent reports. Tom Brock, commissioner of the National Center for Education Research, and Joan McLaughlin, commissioner of the National Center for Special Education Research, gave an overview of the projects funded in FY 2016, and the work that both centers plan to fund in FY 2017. Joy Lesnick, commissioner of the National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance (NCEE), informed the board of the various reports that the NCEE has released, and noted the recent redesign of the What Works Clearinghouse.

In his closing remarks, Hedges stated that the transition is an important time for agencies as priorities can change, so it is important to establish relationships. Hedges added that the NBES can play a role in communicating the strengths in IES, while also acknowledging the need for the NBES to stay ahead of issues such as replication. The board also thanked Kris Gutiérrez and Bridget Terry Long for their service, as their terms as NBES members expire this month.

The National Science Board (NSB) convened for its fall quarterly meeting on November 8-9. This meeting served as the first for four recently-appointed board members: W. Kent Fuchs, President of the University of Florida; Victor R. McCrary, Vice President for Research and Economic Development at Morgan State University; Emilio F. Moran, John A. Hannah Distinguished Professor at the Center for Global Change and Earth Observations at Michigan State University; and Julia M. Phillips, Director Emeritus at Sandia National Laboratories.

National Science Foundation (NSF) Director Dr. France Córdova provided details on recent NSF activities, while Michael Siverts, Division Director of NSF’s Budget Division provided an update on the FY 2017 budget. The NSB also discussed NSF’s strategic plan for 2018-22. In soliciting feedback on the strategic plan, Deborah Ball, AERA President-Elect, stated that with rapidly changing demographics in the nation, it is imperative to think about how people at earliest ages are acquainted with science and develop contributions to knowledge. Ball also emphasized the role of the social, behavioral, and economic sciences in education.

James Jackson, chair of the NSB’s Congressional Engagement Working Group, updated the full board on the group’s ongoing work to connect with congressional offices. Jackson also indicated that working group members are aiming to meet with President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team later this month with the final memo from the Board that would offer their service to the new administration. The memo would also articulate the value of NSF in the nation’s science and technology enterprise, as well as encourage the administration to make an expeditious appointment of a science advisor. Working group members are planning to meet with the new science advisor shortly after that person’s appointment and with congressional offices in February.

The NSB Committee on Education and Human Resources (CEH) did not provide an update at this meeting. The next meeting of the full board will take place February 21-22, 2017.

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