Proposed Education Budget Includes Boost for IES

By Jaclyn Zubrzycki — February 13, 2012 2 min read
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The U.S. Department of Education’s Institute for Education Sciences, or IES, will receive a $27.5 million boost in funding in 2013 if President Barack Obama’s budget proposal, announced today at Northern Virginia Community College in Annandale, Va., is passed. That’s an increase of more than 4 percent from the IES’s 2012 appropriation. As my colleagues over at the Politics K-12 blog report, the president is requesting $69.8 billion for the entire Education Department— a 2.5 percent increase over the agency’s 2012 funding.

In all, the administration is seeking $621.2 million for the IES. The budget says this would allow the IES to fund more than $30 million in new research into all levels of education. The budget for IES includes requests for more money for programs in research, development and dissemination; statistics (through the National Center for Education Statistics); and development of statewide data systems. Slightly less funding has been requested for assessment; and the President has proposed close-to-level funding for the regional education laboratories (RELs), research in special education, and special education evaluations.

John Waters, the director of operations at the Knowledge Alliance, a nonprofit coalition of research organizations in Washington, said his organization was “thrilled that there’s a commitment to the work that IES has been doing.”

The Knowledge Alliance released a statement on February 14, restating its support for the president’s budget.

In an interview, Mr. Waters added the organization is both “happy” and “intrigued” that a portion of the $150 million proposed for the Investing in Innovation Fund (i3) will be set aside to create an Advanced Research Projects Agency - Education, widely referred to as ARPA-Ed. The president also included ARPA-Ed in his 2012 budget, but Congress did not fund the agency, which would “fund projects run by industry, universities, or other innovative organizations...selected based on their potential to transform teaching and learning in ways similar to how the Internet, GPS, and robotics have transformed commerce, travel, warfare, and the way we live our daily lives.”

Considered to be the Education Department’s main research arm, the Institute of Education Sciences was created in 2002 with a mission of providing “rigorous and relevant evidence on which to ground education practice and policy and shar[ing] this information broadly.” The proposed budget requests nearly double the amount the IES received in 2004.

A version of this news article first appeared in the Inside School Research blog.