OERI Fares Well in 1996

Instead of passing the biggest education cuts in history, the 104th Congress reversed its position and joined the President to enact the largest 1-year increase on record--$3.5 billion. The programs in the Office of Educational Research and Improvement (OERI) and other federal education programs will reap huge benefits from this landmark decision. APA, as a member of the Committee on Education Funding, played a key role in protecting these programs.

The final 1997 OERI research program budget, $124 million, is 16% above the 1996 budget numbers. This is especially significant considering that the 1996 research program received a 24% increase over the 1995 budget. In addition, the OERI technology program received an amazing 460% increase, from $48 million to $267 million.

OERI Launches Expanded Field-Initiated Studies Program

In 1996, 47 field-initiated studies grants, totaling $8 million, were made to a wide range of organizations, including universities, state departments of education, and research institutions. Some of the research topics that award recipients will investigate include 'Effects of School Calendar Variations on Students, Families, and Communities'; 'Long-Term Benefits of Intensive Early Education for Impoverished Children'; and 'Supporting Young Children's Readiness for School Mathematics Through a Prekindergarten Classroom and Family Math Curriculum.'

In prior years, the funding for Field-Initiated Studies hovered around the $1 million level. The significant increase for FY 1996 funding is due to the hard work of APA and other educational organizations during the reauthorization of OERI in 1993. It is expected that there will be approximately $25 million available for field-initiated studies in FY 1997. The Request for Proposals will be published in the Federal Register in late winter. It is important to note that fewer grants will be available for FY 1997, despite the increase, because some of the funding is needed to continue support of FY 1996 grantees.

OERI'S Research Agenda Nears Completion

The Science and Education Directorates worked with OERI to develop its 5- to 15-year research plan. A number of APA members were brought in last year for a 1-day conference to generate a list of research recommendations to be included in the plan. The plan will be published soon. The Public Policy Office will announce when it is available.

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