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encourage equitable representation of

women and minorities on the staff and

governing and advisory bodies of c and laboratories.



Appendix A: The Nature of the Panel....

The Legislation Authorizing NIE and the Panel.
The Panel's Charter . . .

Selection, Composition, and Operation of the Panel.

Appendix B: The Panel's Interim Report

Appendix C: The Panel's Site Visit Reports

The Centers...

The Laboratories..

I: Introduction

To review "laboratory and center operations" is to review the rise of educational research and development (R&D) in America and the Federal role in that process. We came to the conclusions that frame our recommendations through exploration of this historical and political setting. Here we share our sense of that context.


Although educational research dates from the 19th century, it has only recently become an enterprise of any consequence. Significant Federal support for research in education began in 1954, but it took until the mid-1960's for it to gain momentum. Current sponsorship is large by international standards and has grown impressively since World War II. But the $1 billion spent by the Federal Government on educational research between 1950 and 1970 must be contrasted with $7 billion for agricultural research and $14 bilion for research on health. Moreover, it comprises less than .3 percent of the total outlay for education.2

America expects a lot from its schools. But high expectations in the face of rising costs and increasing problems have led to substantial disenchantment with our educational system. And as no easy solutions to immediate problems emerged from research, faith in it began to wane as well. Despite the creation of a separate agency-the National Institute of Education (NIE) for educational R&D in 1972, Federal support in real dollars has actually declined since 1968.3

Our experience as a Panel convinces us not only of the need for educational R&D, but also

that the original faith in it was well founded. We believe that a well-balanced and well-executed educational R&D program is vital to the national interest. We will argue this case for the particular domain of laboratories and centers. But we wish to point to some considerations-and some evidence that bear on the need for and impact. of educational R&D more generally.

Of the many problems that beset our schools, few can be solved except through improving our knowledge. To be sure, dramatic changes can result from court decisions, such as the one banning segregation. But even that decision was based in part on research findings. To improve the literacy of our high school graduates, to devise equitable formulas for school finance and student aid, to reduce violence and vandalism in urban schools, to improve the educational opportunities of lowincome and minority students, and to forge better paths from school to work-all these problems require creation of new knowledge for their solution.

Has educational R&D contributed to the resolution of these and other problems? In the absence of breakthroughs comparable with moon shots, many think not. That view seems to have influenced funding decisions in the 1970's for Federal support. But we perceive a considerable lack of awareness of the extent to which research has already had an effect. And we find little appreciation for the complex and gradual ways in which these effects take place.

Fortunately, the impact of educational R&D has itself become a topic of increased study. Two recent works support our faith in the

usefulness of that R&D. In a 1977 report to NIE, a committee of the National Academy of Sciences traced the subtle patterns of influence of basic research on educational practice and found basis for recommending increased Federal funding for this work. More recently, a series of case studies conducted by the National Academy of Education demonstrated the links between basic theoretical inquiry in a number of areas and improvements in schooling practices."

As evidence mounts for the impact of basic research in education, Congress itself shows increasing faith in another form of R&D. Based on the success of program evaluations such as the Compensatory Education Study, the Education Amendments of 1978 direct NIE to undertake a variety of policy studies. As for the impact of development, we can speak more directly from our own experience. Our site visit reports on the R&D centers and regional educational laboratories describe a truly impressive array of activities and products that direct the flow of more basic knowledge into our Nation's classrooms. More than one member of our Panel was skeptical of the usefulness of such products at the outset of our inquiry. But we came away from our site visits with enthusiasm for benefits of many of the activities that have come to be known as educational development.

We recognize that educational R&D is still at an early stage of growth. But we are firmly convinced that the results thus far justify the added resources necessary to bring this area of inquiry into full maturity. Increased funding is all the more necessary because the lack of adequate resources tends to foreclose experimentation. on the most effective styles and strategies of educational R&D. We have seen, for example, the need for fundamental work of potential long-range payoff pitted against work of more

immediate relevance, to the detriment of both.8 This struggle has resulted in the imposition of unrealistic timeframes for the more basic work while casting doubt on the quality of the applied work. Such competition can be healthy only in the context of a substantially higher level of support for educational R&D.

That degree of support can come only from the Federal Government. The reasons are simple. The States are the primary political units for elementary and secondary education. Typically, States delegate authority to and share finances with local districts. In the face of persistent demands for direct educational services and competing claims against the resources for education, funding for activities with a longrange payoff and not of purely local interest tends to be meager. As a result, less than onefourth of the expenditures for educational R&D comes from State and local sources. That degree of support is unlikely to increase.

But no level of funding or degree of maturity will reduce the controversy and conflict about and within educational R&D. Nor should it. During our conversations with teachers, administrators, researchers, developers, and policymakers at many different levels in the system, we observed widely divergent views of what research is and what should be done to improve its effectiveness. That debate is inevitable and desirable. There is ample room for value differences and divergent views on research within the broadly decentralized educational system of this country. However, the Federal responsibility for financing educational research creates a dilemma to which we became especially sensitive in reviewing laboratories and centers. How can one ensure that Federal priorities in research reflect State and local interests? We will

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