Advanced Research Projects Agency-Education (ARPA-ED) Act


The technology revolution has catalyzed new capabilities and increased productivity in numerous sectors, yet it has not done the same for education. Closing the gap between the potential of learning science and technology to improve student performance and its current real-world impact can transform American education.

To address the under-investment in learning technology R&D, the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Education (ARPA-ED) would aggressively pursue technological breakthroughs that have the potential to transform teaching and learning the way the Internet, GPS, and robotics have transformed commerce, travel, and the way we live our daily lives. Each of these developments has been developed or accelerated by a similar program, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).

The Advanced Research Projects Agency-Education (ARPA-ED) Act would fund projects that create a dramatic breakthrough in learning and teaching. Specifically the legislation would:

Create a new agency (ARPA-ED) in the Department of Education that would leverage cutting edge R&D to spur education innovations

  • creating new solutions that respond to the immediate challenges faced by educators
  • identifying, promoting, and evaluating advances in learning, fundamental and applied sciences, and engineering in order to create new learning technologies
  • accelerating or scaling up the impact of existing innovations

Operate with greater efficiency and less red tape than traditional education research

  • operating as a small, flexible organization that is unencumbered by traditional bureaucratic rules and regulations
  • hiring project managers who are content-specific experts, which enables them to work more quickly and be more responsive to the needs of the field
  • conducting more targeted, less time-intensive research that responds rapidly to immediate education needs

Ensure the program is effective, useful to educators, and widely shared

  • evaluating the effectiveness of the ARPA-ED program and its related projects
  • ensuring projects and findings are relevant, accessible, and useful to teachers and other educators
  • disseminating information widely to practitioners, schools, school districts, and states
  • utilizing research centers and regional laboratories to share best practices with educators

promote transparency and efficient use of funds by

  • utilizing existing (rather than new) funds to pay for ARPA-ED research and projects
  • ensuring only qualified individuals work in the ARPA-ED program
  • creating an advisory panel composed of educators, technology experts, researchers, and specialists in student learning that would provide public oversight of the program
  • ensuring funds are spent on projects that are relevant and useful to educators as well as researchers

Read the full text of the bill by clicking here.