AERA Provides Comments to Senate HELP Committee on ESRA Reauthorization
AERA Provides Comments to Senate HELP Committee on ESRA Reauthorization

April 2023

On April 19, AERA submitted comments to the leadership of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee in response to a request for information on reauthorization of the Education Sciences Reform Act (ESRA). The request from HELP Committee chair Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and ranking member Bill Cassidy (R-LA) included 13 questions to inform policies that the committee should consider during ESRA reauthorization. ESRA was enacted in 2002 and established the Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences (IES).

“We commend the HELP Committee for turning to reauthorization,” wrote AERA Executive Director Felice J. Levine. “We also applaud your leadership and thoughtful consideration in examining broad issues around the research, training, statistics, assessment, and evidence-building activities that the IES undertakes.”

The AERA response provided input on the 13 questions proposed by the Committee, along with two cross-cutting recommendations. The first of the cross-cutting recommendations noted the need to provide robust authorization levels for IES programs in FY 2024, with the ultimate goal of doubling the IES top line in five years. Several of the responses included reference to this recommendation in questions on priority topics raised by the committee. The second cross-cutting recommendation focused on ensuring that IES—and particularly the National Center for Education Statistics—has the necessary staffing capacity to effectively carry out its activities.

Many of the responses to the specific questions referred to recommendations provided to Congress in 2011 in the AERA Report and Recommendations for the Reauthorization of the Institute of Education Sciences and two reports released by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, The Future of Education Research at IES and A Vision and Roadmap for Education Statistics.

The HELP Committee RFI is a first step in a potential reauthorization of ESRA. Additional information on prior AERA activities on ESRA reauthorization is available on the AERA website.