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President's Message

Fall 2015
Back to School Lesson for Congress:
Restore Funding for Special Ed Research

Elizabeth (Betsy) Talbott         
University of Illinois at Chicago

I am grateful to serve as President of CEC-DR during challenging times for special education research funding. In July, I attended the CEC-CASE Special Education legislative summit, along with Linda Lewis, our CAN coordinator, and Maya Israel, CEC-DR member and representative from TAM. We engaged in intensive preparation about proposed changes to federal law and funding for special education research, led by Deb Ziegler of CEC along with special education advocates and lobbyists. Then we stormed Capitol Hill to meet with our Senators and Representatives in Congress.  Continue reading.

Research Policy and Funding

1.  URGENT! Stand Up for Education Research Funding!

The education research community is sending a letter to leaders of the House Appropriations Committee opposing their proposal to slash federal funding for IES-sponsored education research for FY 2016.  Special education research would be cut by more than $18 million to $36 million, the lowest funding level in more than 20 years, and 54% lower than FY 2004 when the special education research program was transferred to IES! If enacted, NCSER would be unable to fund new research grants in the coming year. Similar cuts in funding for NCER are also proposed. The DR Board of Directors strongly urges you to sign-on to the community letter, prepared by LEARN and AERA, as individual researchers, encourage your colleagues to do the same, and  ask your department, college and university to sign on as well.  Sign-ons can be completed online - it will take you only a minute - at: .  You can see the letter before you sign-on.  Join DR, CEC and many other organizations and individuals to express your concern. Deadline:  Please sign-on as soon as you read this; the absolute deadline for sign-ons is September 3, 2015!

2.  IES Issues Technical Work Group Recommendations

Two Technical Working Group Summaries Are Now Available: "Practitioner Perspectives on Emerging Research Needs" and "Improving Relevance in Education and Research and Researcher Perspectives on Strengthening IES’s Research Grant and Training Programs".
3.  DR Comments on IES Research Priorities and Programs

In response to an invitation from IES, the DR Board of Directors consulted with members and submitted a response in late 2014 outlining our perspective on areas in need of research support in special education.  The DR Board welcomes member comments.  See the DR response

4.  Congress Completes Work on FY 2015 Appropriations: ED Research Level Funded

In December, 2014 Congress passed and the President signed an omnibus appropriations bill funding federal government programs through the end of FY 2015 (September 2014 - June 2015).  For the two IES research centers, NCSER and NCER, the result was the same level of funding as in FY 2014.  NCSER is receiving $54 million and NCER $179.9 million. See the funding levels for all US Department of Education programs.



1.  Call for 2016 DR Award Nominations

DR is is accepting nominations for its 2016 research awards until October 15, 2015.  Included among these awards is a new Mixed Methods Student Research Award.  Nominations - by others or self-nominations, are invited for the following awards:

--Kauffman-Hallahan Distinguished Researcher Award
--Distinguished Early Career Research Award
--Early Career Publication Award
--Student Research Awards (for qualitative, quantitative, single-subject and mixed methods research)

Information about the nomination procedures is available here.

2.  Call for Nominations for DR Doctoral Scholar Seminars in Special Education Research

DR is accepting nominations for its 2015-16 Doctoral Scholar Seminars until November 15, 2015. This program is an online seminar and discussion series designed to foster connections among doctoral students at different universities and to contribute to raising the standard of research in the field through sustained inquiry into the question, “What makes for excellence in special education research?”  

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