Strengthening Education through Research Act (H.R. 4366)

The federal role in education research is vital. Research is the only way to know what strategies work, and therefore what should be funded, expanded, or improved. The federal government is the only entity with a national perspective and sufficient resources to support such research across the country.

Unfortunately, less than 1% of the federal education budget goes to research, far less than in other fields. Investment of resources should be tied to evidence, but we cannot know what works in education without solid investment in research.

The best education research is not only scientifically rigorous but also timely, relevant, and useful to teachers and school leaders. That way they have the tools they need to improve learning and other student outcomes.

The Strengthening Education through Research Act (SETRA) of 2014 would support education research and technical assistance for improving student achievement. The bill reauthorizes and updates pivotal entities such as the Institute of Education Sciences and key programs such as the National Assessment of Educational Progress and the statewide longitudinal data systems program.

Under SETRA education research would improve in several ways, including:

  • increasing federal investment in research and technical assistance, including a significant increase in funding for special education research;
  • enhancing the focus of research on improving educational equity;
  • improving the relevance, timeliness, and utilization of research;
  • improving the effectiveness of major grants and programs;
  • preserving the independence and rigor of federal research; and
  • strengthening the evaluation of federal programs

More Information:

Read the full text of the bill

Press release announcing the introduction of the bill

Statements from education organizations on SETRA:

Council of Chief State School Officers

“Your bill would maintain high standards for the rigor of federal education research and require that it be relevant to education practitioners. It includes key measures to make federally-supported research more timely and responsive to state education leaders.”

Knowledge Alliance

“Knowledge Alliance is pleased that the bill seeks to improve research, technical assistance and evaluation so that states, districts and schools have timely and continuous access to the latest findings on what works to improve student achievement. The provisions in the bill will ensure that there is a greater chance that education research will be accessible and used by educators.

The bill also increases the focus on equity so that research, evaluation and technical assistance activities are focused on education issues that have an impact on our most disadvantaged students, and so that the districts and schools serving those students have the tools they need to succeed.”

Council for Exceptional Children, National Center for Learning Disabilities, and Higher Education Consortium for Special Education

“The Council for Exceptional Children (CEC), National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD), and the Higher Education Consortium for Special Education (HECSE) commend U.S. Rep. John Kline (R-Minn.), U.S. Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.), U.S. Rep. Todd Rokita (R-Ind.), and U.S. Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-N.Y.) for their leadership in developing the Strengthening Education Through Research Act (SETRA), legislation that values the critical role of research in developing effective practices to support positive outcomes for children and youth with disabilities.

  • Prioritizing special education research funding within the Institute of Education Sciences.
  • Emphasizing the elimination of the achievement gap between students with and without disabilities.
  • Increasing dissemination and collaboration with the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS).
  • Increasing the pipeline of early career special education researchers.
  • Ensuring peer reviewers have expertise in areas relevant to grant applications.” 

Data Quality Campaign

“DQC sees immense value in the ability to link data across early childhood education, K‐12, postsecondary, and workforce systems. By linking data systems across the P–20/workforce spectrum, states will gain the ability to evaluate whether students, schools, and districts are meeting their college‐ and career‐readiness expectations.”

National Assessment Governing Board

"The Governing Board views protecting the credibility and integrity of NAEP [National Assessment of Educational Progress] as a solemn duty. The NAEP-related provisions of H.R. 4366 maintain and strengthen the Board’s authority to carry out this duty. The bill includes amendments to current law that more accurately and clearly describe the respective roles and responsibilities of the Governing Board and the Commissioner of Education Statistics. These amendments should have the effect of strengthening the checks and balances that were a part of the original conception of the current governance structure for NAEP."

Center for Research and Reform in Education, Johns Hopkins University and Success for All Foundation

“We are pleased with the Committee’s efforts to improve relevance, dissemination and utilization of IES’ activities in a manner that is understandable, accessible and useful not just for researchers and policymakers, but also practitioners in the field and the general public. In this way, education research will have a broader usefulness for and greater impact on our teacher leaders, teachers, schools and students.”