School & District Management

Connect Agenda for Federal Research To Practice, Advisory Board Advocates

By Joetta L. Sack — January 15, 1997 2 min read

Washington

Moving research closer to students, teachers, and schools should be a top priority for federal officials, according to the first long-term agenda for federally sponsored school research.

An advisory board and Department of Education officials proposed that proven school practices, instead of new trends, should be the subject of federal researchers. That stance addressed critics who argue that the department too often funds research that follows political whims.

“We cannot afford hit-or-miss approaches driven by fad and fallacies,” Secretary of Education Richard W. Riley said last month. “We need solid scientific evidence about what works, for whom, and under what conditions.”

He pointed to vouchers as a strategy that may get more attention than it deserves.

The research agenda was mandated by Congress in 1994. Lawmakers asked the department’s office of educational research and improvement to work with a new 15-member advisory board to set a biennial plan of national research priorities.

The board, composed of researchers and educators, was added to the process in the wake of charges that the OERI was too far removed from the schools it serves. (“Policy Board Discusses Labs and Centers, Research Agenda,” April 12, 1995.)

Gerald Sroufe, the director of government and professional liaison for the American Educational Research Association, noted that the department often completely changes its focus each time a new secretary is appointed. He said he would like to see the priorities bring stability to the department.

“What’s most important about [the priorities] is they exist,” he said. “There are no exotic ideas buried within” the report.

Touching All Bases

The document, “Building Knowledge for a Nation of Learners,” recommends that future federally funded education research focus on issues under seven broad categories.

Those categories are research that will help educators; improve early-childhood development; align curriculum, teaching, and assessments toward more analytical thinking; improve teacher training and boost recruitment and retention; motivate students to learn and take responsibility; prepare increasingly diverse student populations for all aspects of American life; promote tying out-of-school experiences to classes and academic achievement; and understand the nation’s changing demographics and what students need to learn to succeed.

The research priorities report says that schools that can master all those categories will succeed in producing well-educated students.

Mr. Riley said that research guided by the new priorities should lead to better federal education policy.

“The very foundation for this effort surely has to be good research,” the secretary said. “If we want smart kids we better have smart research.”

Copies of “Building Knowledge for a Nation of Learners” are free from the National Library of Education, (800) 424-1616, or at the department’s World Wide Web site at http://www.ed.gov/offices/OERI/RschPriority/plan.

Related Tags:

Events

School & District Management Live Event Education Week Leadership Symposium
Education Week's Premier Leadership Event for K12 School & District Leaders.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Law & Courts Webinar
The Future of Criminal Justice Reform: A Sphere Education Initiative Conversation
America’s criminal justice system is in crisis and calls for reform are dominating the national debate. Join Cato’s Sphere Education Initiative and Education Week for a webinar on criminal justice and policing featuring the nation’s
Content provided by Cato Institute
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Student Well-Being Webinar
Equity, Care and Connection: New SEL Tools and Practices to Support Students and Adults
As school districts plan to welcome students back into buildings for the upcoming school year, this is the perfect time to take a hard look at both our practices and our systems to build a
Content provided by Panorama Education

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

School & District Management Has COVID-19 Led to a Mass Exodus of Superintendents?
This year has been exhausting for superintendents. Some experts say they're seeing an unusually high number of resignations this spring.
5 min read
Chicago Public Schools Superintendent Janice K. Jackson, right, speaks on Feb. 11, 2021, during a news conference at the William H. Brown Elementary School in Chicago. In-person learning for students in pre-k and cluster programs began Thursday, since the district's agreement with the Chicago Teachers Union was reached.
Chicago Public Schools Superintendent Janice K. Jackson, right, announced earlier this week that she would depart the school system. Jackson, who assumed the superintendency in 2018, has worked for more than 20 years in CPS.
Shafkat Anowar
School & District Management Most Schools Offer at Least Some In-Person Classes, According to Feds' Latest Count
A majority of 4th and 8th graders had at least some in-person schooling by March, but inequities persisted.
3 min read
Image shows empty desks in a classroom.
Chris Ryan/OJO Images
School & District Management Opinion Education Researchers Should Think More About Educators: Notes From AERA
Steve Rees, founder of School Wise Press, posits AERA reflects a community of researchers too focused on what they find interesting.
4 min read
Image shows a multi-tailed arrow hitting the bullseye of a target.
DigitalVision Vectors/Getty
School & District Management What the Research Says High Costs, Outdated Infrastructure Hinder Districts' Air-Quality Efforts
A national survey finds the pandemic has led districts to update schools' ventilation systems, but their options are limited.
3 min read
Mayor Bill de Blasio, center, checks the movement of a window inside a classroom at Bronx Collaborative High School, during a visit to review health safeguards in advance of schools reopening on Aug. 26, 2020, in New York.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, center, checks the movement of a window inside a classroom at Bronx Collaborative High School, during a visit to review health safeguards in advance of schools reopening earlier this school year.
Bebeto Matthews/AP