Washington--The probable number and missions of the National Institute of Education’s new research laboratories and centers came into sharper focus last week as an advisory panel assembled by the agency’s director, Manuel J. Justiz, met to discuss the issues.
The new clues were included in material Mr. Justiz presented to the 21-member National Panel on the FY 1985 Laboratory and Center Competition, a group composed of educators, politicians, and representatives from business who are helping the director design a competition for the sponsorship of nie’s laboratories and centers for educational research.
The open competition, being conducted for the first time by nie under a Congressional mandate, is scheduled to begin July 2.
At the meeting last week, Mr. Justiz asked the panel to comment on two plans concerning the geographic distribution of the laboratories, which are designed to address regional educational issues.
Each plan assumes that there will be 10 laboratories to compete for, three more than there currently are.
The panel was also asked to consider a list of 16 topics from which nie officials say they will select between 9 and 11 “missions” for the agency’s research centers, which focus on national education issues. Currently, there are 10 such centers.
Among the topics being considered are teacher education and performance, school excellence/improvement, education and work, writing, adult literacy, reading, second-language acquisition, math and science, the research and development system, and the improvement of learning.
One nie official involved in the planning of the competition said the agency has “tried to get away from the political agenda reflected in the center topics a couple of years ago.”
At that time, nie’s director, Edward Curren, a conservative Republican, had encouraged the agency to focus its research on such subjects as the possible benefits of tuition-tax credits.
Based on National Consensus
“We’ve taken pains,” the nie official also said at the meeting, “to ensure that the centers’ missions are truly based on a national consensus about what educational issues we should address.”
Several of the panel members expressed support for Mr. Justiz’s effort to involve a broad spectrum of the educational community in the planning of the forthcoming competition.--tt
A version of this article appeared in the May 23, 1984 edition of Education Week as Justiz Outlines Possible Missions for N.I.E. Units