On September 17, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee marked up and reported out the Strengthening Education through Research Act, or SETRA (H.R. 4366). The bill, which was passed by the full House of Representatives in May, would amend and reauthorize the Education Sciences Reform Act of 2002 (ESRA) through 2020. ESRA serves as authorizing legislation for the Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Research, National Center for Education Statistics, and other components within the U.S. Department of Education.
COSSA joined the American Educational Research Association (AERA), a COSSA Governing Member, and other groups on a letter earlier this summer outlining a number of concerns with SETRA, particularly relating to the independence and stature of NCES as a federal statistical agency. The bill as approved by the HELP Committee last week does not address the concerns expressed by the community. The bill now heads to the full House and Senate for final consideration before heading to the President for signature, which could occur when Congress returns for the lame duck session this fall.