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E.D. Adds Science 'Mini-Center'

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Washington--The Education Department has awarded a three-year, $1.5-million grant to The Network Inc., a nonprofit research firm, to create a "mini-center" to study science instruction.

The center is the fifth facility created by the department's office of educational research and improvement to study a specific curriculum area. Last fall, it awarded grants for centers in mathematics, the arts, literature, and the elementary curriculum.

The mini-centers differ from the department's 12 research-and-development centers, which have much larger budgets and focus on broader topics, such as teacher education and student testing.

The science center will be the department's only research center not housed at a university. The An4dover, Mass., firm selected to operate it also administers the federal Regional Laboratory for Educational Improvement of the Northeast and Islands.

The unusual arrangement will make it easier for the new center to disseminate information to practitioners and policymakers, said David P. Crandall, executive director of The Network and the laboratory.

"Historically, the problem has been that the university tends to stand apart from the practice community," he said. "We will do our small part to strengthen the connection" between research and practice.

The fact that the firm has run the laboratory will also help in dissemination, he added, since the company has developed useful ties to state-level policymakers.--rr

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