On Thursday, May 8, 2014, the House will consider H.R. 4366, the Strengthening Education through Research Act, under a suspension of the rules. H.R. 4366 was introduced on April 2, 2014 by Representative Todd Rokita (R-IN), Chairman, House Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education. H.R. 4366 was favorably reported as amended by voice vote on April 8, 2014.
H.R. 4366 improves existing law and reflects principles for understanding the important federal role in conducting research on and evaluations of federal education programs and other research-based strategies. The bill reauthorizes and strengthens the Education Sciences Reform Act in the following ways: improving and streamlining the federal education research system; increasing the relevance of education research while maintaining rigor; promoting accountability for federal education programs; maintaining independence from politics and bias; protecting student and individual privacy; continuing the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP); and establishing responsible authorization levels consistent with the Budget Control Act.
According to the Committee, the Education Sciences Reform Act (ESRA) is the primary federal statute governing high-quality education research. Enacted in 2002, ESRA established the Institute of Education Sciences (IES), a semi-independent research arm of the Department of Education, responsible for conducting research on early childhood, elementary, and secondary education, special education, and higher education. In addition, two additional statutes were reauthorized with ESRA, the Educational Technical Assistance Act (ETAA) and the National Assessment of Educational Progress Authorization Act (NAEPA). ETAA established the Comprehensive Centers and the Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems programs, while NAEPA authorized the NAEP, commonly known as the “Nation’s Report Card, and the National Assessment Governing Board (NAGB). The IES is responsible for conducting large scale evaluations of federal education programs, including Titles I and II of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program, and aspects of the Individual with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) to ensure that tax dollars are being used effectively. In 2013, GAO released a report examining IES. While GAO found that the quality of education research has improved over the years, more could be done to ensure the relevance of IES’ research and its dissemination. ESRA expired in 2008 and H.R. 4366 represents the first reauthorization.
According to CBO, “implementing the bill would cost $2.0 billion over the 2015-2019 period, assuming the appropriation of the authorized amounts. Enacting the bill would have no impact on direct spending or revenues; therefore, pay-as-you-go procedures do not apply. H.R. 4366 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA).”
 See http://www.cbo.gov/sites/default/files/cbofiles/attachments/hr4366a.pdf
For questions or further information contact the GOP Conference at 5-5107.