IES Reauthorization Underway as 114th Congress Tackles Full Education Agenda

January 2015

As the 114th Congress settles in, the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee and the House Education and Workforce Committee have already started their work on legislation that is up for reauthorization. AERA has and will continue to monitor carefully all legislation impacting the field of education research and engage with congressional staff and federal agencies to advance the best interests of the field.

The Senate HELP Committee wasted no time undertaking the Strengthening Education Through Research Act (SETRA), which would reauthorize the Institute of Education Sciences (IES). On January 28, the committee passed the bill by voice vote without objection.  

The bill is identical to the legislation that the House passed and the Senate HELP Committee advanced in 2014, maintaining the language that would shift the appointment of the commissioner of the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) from the president to the IES director. As detailed in a September AERA Highlights article, AERA has significant concerns about this provision and continues to support a structure that promotes the autonomy and integrity of NCES.

As detailed in a related AERA Highlights article, the Senate HELP Committee also has begun holding hearings on the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). House Education and Workforce Committee Chairman John Kline (R-MN) has indicated he would like the House to vote on an ESEA reauthorization bill by the end of March.

Both Senate HELP Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Chairman Kline have signaled their plans to reauthorize the Higher Education Act (HEA). The Senate HELP Committee intends to schedule a hearing for February 24 to discuss deregulation in the context of the law. The House Education and Workforce Committee also plans to take up HEA, likely after the ESEA reauthorization, according to Kline.

In addition, the House Education and Workforce Committee plans to consider the reauthorization of the Head Start Act. The committee released a white paper detailing the issues on which members will focus and solicited feedback on specific items involving the federal government’s role in Head Start and early childhood education. Comments may be submitted to by June 1.