House Members Move Closer to Passing a Bill for OERI Reauthorization
In recent weeks, legislation to reauthorize the Office of Educational Research and Improvement (OERI) was the subject of both a hearing and a markup on the Hill and is expected to pass the House soon. Rep. Mike Castle (R-DE), Chairman of the House Education and Workforce Subcommittee on Education Reform held a hearing on his bill, the Education Sciences Reform Act of 2002 (H.R.3801) and the full committee has also reviewed the legislation, which may pass the House soon.
Russ Whitehurst, Assistant Secretary of Education Research and Improvement, testified before the subcommittee that he supported the principle of the bill, though he did have some concerns.
HR 3801 seeks to restructure and rename OERI, strengthen the scientific rigor of the research it funds, increase its authorized appropriations levels, improve the information dissemination function of the office, and improve the independence of the office from the Department of Education. Members of the full committee also met in March to review the bill, legislatively known as the markup, and some members questioned legislative language that calls for more competition for funding for the research centers and labs. Committee staff is still in the process of revising and finalizing the bill, which the House is expected to pass this month. The APA's Science and Education Directorate submitted the following comments to Rep. Castle while the committee was making recommended changes to the bill.
In the other chamber, Senator Ted Kennedy (D-MA), Chairman of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, has scheduled a hearing on OERI reauthorization on April 30th. Russ Whitehurst will likely testify again, though there is currently no Senate bill on the issue. Senate Committee Staff are rumored to be crafting their own bill, which has yet to be introduced. APA's Science and Education PPO staff will continue to follow this issue.