Education Policy & Research

U.S. Department of Education Forms Partnership to Establish Comprehensive Research Agenda

The Department of Education's Institute of Education Sciences is partnering with the Jefferson Education Exchange to hear directly from educators through a series of events designed to gain insights on how academic research can inform everyday classroom teaching activities.

When it comes to work of academic researchers, there's not a clear consensus on how different teaching methods are helping educators to do their jobs better. The Jefferson Education Exchange is seeking to change the conversation in a series of meetings to be held this fall in partnership with the United States Department of Education's Institute of Education Sciences.

The meetings will convene over 200 K-12 educators to inform a research study on the types of research most likely to support the improvement of educational outcomes.  The first meeting will happen Oct. 27 in Omaha, NE, and the second meeting will occur in Raleigh, NC Nov. 3.  These field meetings will be followed by a day-long event Nov. 27 in Washington, DC that brings together more than 40 professional education associations to provide their perspectives.

The decision to convene these meetings come out a desire to guide research conducted by IES and the educational associations, said JEX CEO Bart Epstein.

"When we talked with leaders of various associations, we were surprised to learn that many of them felt as though their voices were not included in what IES should research," Epstein said. "In conversations with leadership at IES, we learned that they share this frustration and want the nation's educators to be move involved with the national research agenda and they don't have good mechanisms for it right now."

Epstein said part of the problem comes from the associations, which have not done the work to determine research priorities.

"If IES will ask associations to do the work, then I think the associations will spend the time with their chapters and national affiliates to discuss issues, come up with agendas that represent the research needs of their members," Epstein said.  "We need signals coming out of the Department of Education that they will value the work. Ultimately, I want IES's policies to evolve to more formally take into account the needs of our nation's educators."

IES director Mark Schneider shares Epstein's view of the need to support and promote research informed by actual educators.

"Direct and frequent engagement is critical to ensure that our work reflects the challenges and priorities of students, teachers, and administrators across the country, as well as policymakers and others who rely on robust education research," said Schneider.

About the Author

Sara Friedman is a reporter/producer for Campus Technology, THE Journal and STEAM Universe covering education policy and a wide range of other public-sector IT topics.

Friedman is a graduate of Ithaca College, where she studied journalism, politics and international communications.

Friedman can be contacted at [email protected] or follow her on Twitter @SaraEFriedman.

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