Friends of IES Urge House and Senate Leaders to Include $200 Million in Emergency Funding for IES Research Recovery
Friends of IES Urge House and Senate Leaders to Include $200 Million in Emergency Funding for IES Research Recovery

July  2020

10. friends of ies

On July 21, twenty-one members of the Friends of IES coalition, which AERA chairs, sent a letter to Senate and House leadership to urge the inclusion of $200 million for the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) in the next Covid-19 emergency spending package. This amount is included in the Research Investment to Spark the Economy (RISE) Act (HR 7308/S 4286) as part of a package to provide relief for federally funded research affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The RISE Act builds on a request from the Association of American Universities, the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, the Association of American Medical Colleges, and the American Council on Education for $26 billion in emergency funding for research relief to compensate for impacts on research work and data collection, as well as costs necessary for reviving suspended research projects. AERA endorsed this legislation when it was introduced in the House in June. Along with the $200 million for IES, the bill includes $3 billion for the National Science Foundation and $10 billion for the National Institutes of Health. On July 23, a bipartisan group of four senators, Edward Markey (D-MA), Thom Tillis (R-NC), Cory Gardner (R-CO), and Gary Peters (D-MI), introduced a Senate companion.

The Friends of IES letter notes the fact that nearly 500 IES-funded studies were in the field before schools closed in March. While appropriate to mitigate the spread of Covid-19, these school closures have also resulted in disruptions to data collection, have limited access to data, and have reconfigured research to accommodate remote learning. The letter also notes that IES has been supporting the transition to remote learning, such as the call by the What Works Clearinghouse for a rapid analysis of remote learning interventions and the Mid-Atlantic REL partnership with the Pennsylvania Department of Education to provide evidence-based guidance for reopening schools.

The letter highlights how the $200 million included in the RISE Act could support the extension of research grants to respond to data collection needs; enable graduate students and early career scholars to continue work on IES grants; meet potential needs for the administration of the 2021 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) fourth- and eighth-grade math and reading tests, dependent on future planning; and offer rapid grants for quick studies to address learning loss, bridge the digital divide, and provide best practices for online instruction.

The House passed the HEROES Act, which would provide more than $3 trillion in pandemic emergency funding, in May; the $26 billion in research relief was not included as part of that bill. Meanwhile, the Senate included in the HEALS Act $65 million for additional funding for the National Center for Education Statistics to administer the 2021 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). The National Assessment Governing Board has discussed the 2021 NAEP over the past few months in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic, and included further discussion of it as part of its quarterly board meeting July 30-31.