The Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences outlined its vision for four new national research centers last week. The centers are the first to take shape under the institute, which was formed in 2002 and is directed by Grover J. “Russ” Whitehurst. They are scheduled to be up and running in the fall, replacing the federal education research centers whose contracts with the department have either ended or will end in the next two years. Below are summaries of the subject areas of the new centers.
National Research and Development Center on Innovation in Education Reform, which will focus on school choice programs, alternative certification for teachers, and other nontraditional strategies for improving education.
National Research and Development Center on Rural Education, which is to focus on problems that rural schools face, such as providing high-quality teachers and access to advanced coursework for high school students in remote areas.
National Research and Development Center on Improving Low-Achieving Schools, which will propose and test solutions for schools plagued by student-achievement problems. The strategies tested might include comprehensive reform models or different approaches for aligning learning standards, curricula, instruction, and assessment.
National Research and Development Center on Postsecondary Education and Training, which will look at the challenges faced by higher education institutions, such as meeting the needs of students unprepared for college-level study.