AERA Provides Appropriations Testimony with Emphasis on EHR and IES
AERA Provides Appropriations Testimony with Emphasis on EHR and IES

March 2020

As Congress swiftly acted to address the coronavirus crisis, deadlines were fast approaching in the House for the submission of testimony to various appropriations subcommittees for FY 2021 funding.

AERA Executive Director Felice Levine submitted written testimony on behalf of the association on March 13 related to the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Census Bureau and on March 23 related to the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) and the National Institutes of Health.

The March 13 testimony to the Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies (CJS) Subcommittee included requests for at least $9 billion for NSF and $1.68 billion for the Census Bureau. Levine’s testimony underscored the importance of NSF’s investments in science by the Education and Human Resources and the Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences Directorates at NSF.

Among other points emphasized in the AERA testimony was the value of “the Education Core Research (ECR) program, an important resource to the field that builds fundamental knowledge and capacity to understand STEM teaching and learning and develop the STEM educator and workforce pipeline. ECR grants have supported critical work in equity, inclusion, and ethics in postsecondary academic workplaces and the academic profession, as well as research to improve STEM teaching and learning for students with disabilities.”

The March 23 testimony to the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (Labor-H) Subcommittee included requests for $670 million for the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) and increased funding for two key programs in the National Institutes of Health, the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and the Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research. The AERA testimony also made important points about the essential value of scientific support for both of these two agencies.

In addressing the administration’s request regarding the Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems (SLDS), Levine continued to urge the enormous contribution of SLDS for research and evidence-based policy making:

The most recent bipartisan, bicameral draft of the IES reauthorization includes the continuation of SLDS, and we appreciate Congress continuing to invest in this program despite proposals to eliminate funding in recent budget requests. Eliminating this program would act in direct contrast to the broad bipartisan support to increase the use of data to inform policy decisions. Furthermore, cuts to SLDS hurt states working to build data capacity at the same time that ESSA is requiring states to make evidence-based decisions. Rather than eliminating the SLDS program, AERA encourages this committee to expand upon this very successful program.

AERA also joined the following coalition requests:

While the House Appropriations Committee had tentatively scheduled the consideration of FY 2021 appropriations bills for the end of April, that timeline may shift given any additional action needed on COVID-19. In the Senate, testimony is due to the CJS Subcommittee on May 8 and to the Labor-H Subcommittee on May 22.