By Sarah D. Sparks and Alyson Klein
The Trump administration’s budget, due out next month, is likely to combine three significant research programs--the State Longitudinal Data System program, the Regional Educational Laboratory Program, and the Comprehensive Centers--advocates with knowledge of the proposal said.
The money for all three programs--nearly $140 million all told--would instead be doled out to states through formula grants, said Michele McLaughlin, a senior advisor at Penn Hill Group, a government relations organization. McLaughlin is also the president of the Knowledge Alliance, a lobbying coalition for the education research community, who learned of the proposal ahead of the budget’s release. Other advocates in the research community with knowledge of the details also confirmed the proposed changes.
“This proposal is nonsensical and does not reflect congressional intent,” said McLaughlin. She noted that the Education Sciences Reform Act, or ESRA, which was last renewed in 2002, keeps all three programs separate. So does a bipartisan bill to reauthorize ESRA--the Strengthening Education Through Research Act--which passed the House in 2014 and the Senate in 2015, but still hasn’t made it over the finish line.
The budget change the Trump administration intends to propose would require a legislative change, she said.
“We are puzzled that the administration continues to pursue this wrong-headed proposal,” she noted. The Education Department declined to comment.
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