President's Message

Summer 2016
Increasing Funding for NCSER
Elizabeth (Betsy) Talbott         
University of Illinois at Chicago


I have been pleased and honored to serve as your president this past year. CEC-DR continues to advocate for funding for the National Center for Special Education Research (NCSER), along with members of 22 organizations who are Friends of IES.  In March of 2016, Friends of IES, led by Deb Ziegler of CEC, hosted an educational session for lawmakers on Capitol Hill showcasing research on transition for young people with disabilities. Continue reading . . .

Research Policy and Funding

1.  Advocacy Tool:  NCSER Funding Map and Overview   (September, 2016)

DR and CEC’s Public Policy unit teamed up recently to develop materials that depict some features of federal funding over the last decade – including the sharp decline in funding - for the National Center for Special Education Research (NCSER), located in the Institute of Education Sciences (IES), the research arm of the US Department of Education. These materials were used in July 2016 by participants in CEC’s Legislative Summit during their visits to Congressional offices and will continue to be used in CEC’s efforts to secure adequate funding for NCSER research initiatives.  See Betsy Talbott’s Summer 2016 DR President’s Message for an overview of recent and upcoming advocacy plans.

The DR Board encourages DR members to review the NCSER Funding Map and Overview (2005-1015) and use this document as you engage in discussions over the critical importance of continued strong federal funding for research related to the development and education of children and youth with disabilities.  The map shows where NCSER grants have been awarded, by state, over the last decade and the overview clearly illustrates the significant decline in federal funding from $83 million in FY 2005 to $54 million in FYs 2014-2016.  

2.  DR Joins Labor-HHS-ED Community in Urging Higher Federal Spending in FY 2017

Now that President Obama has issued his budget request for FY 2017 which begins October 1, 2016, works begins in Congress to develop and pass appropriations bills, hopefully before the start of the new fiscal year.  The Division for Research joined over 600 other organizations in February 2016 in sending a letter to leaders of the US House and Senate appropriations committees urging that they allocate as high a funding level as possible to labor, health, education and related programs and services in the FY 2017 3012(b) allocations for their respective subcommittees.  Each appropriations subcommittee is allocated a certain amount of funding under the full Committee’s 302(a) allocation.  These allocations, which are referred to as 302(b) allocations, establish the cap on spending for each of the appropriations bills.  The subcommittees themselves do not determine the level of funding for each appropriations bill; they only determine how that money is spent among the agencies and programs under the subcommittee’s jurisdiction.  Noting that programs and services of the “Labor-HHS” spending bill continue to be short changed in the annual appropriations process (these programs received a 3.3% increase in 2016 over the 2015 appropriation, while nondefense discretionary programs overall saw a 6.9% increase), this joint letter asks Congressional leaders to take the first step in their appropriations process to re-invest in these programs.

3.  Friends of IES to Hold Capitol Hill Special Education Research Event March 4

If you'll be in Washington, DC on March 4, plan to attend this event.  Friends of IES, a collaboration of organizations (including AERA, CEC, APA, NCLD, SRI, Vanderbilt University and others) supporting IES funding and programs, has invited national experts in the field of special education transition to make a presentation for Hill staff and the public highlighting one area of significant IES research investments and outcomes:  Transitioning to Adult Productivity:  Supporting Secondary Students with Disabilities in Successful Movement to College and Career.  This event is designed to help familiarize policy makers with the work of IES, in particular on research supported by the Institute's National Center for Special Education Research (NCSER). Presenters will be:  Mary Wagner (SRI International), David Test (UNC Charlotte), Laurie Powers (Portland State University), and Erik Carter (Vanderbilt University).  Check out the invitation for details and RSVP.




1. 2017 DR Research Awards:  Call for Nominations

Nominations for DR's 2017 Research Awards are due October 15, 2016.  This call is for the Kauffman-Hallahan Distinguished Researcher Award, the Distinguished Early Career Research Award, the Early Career Publication Award, and Student Research Awards.

2. 2016-2017 Doctoral Student Seminars in Special Education Research

Nominations are due November 15, 2016 for outstanding doctoral scholars to participate in this year’s seminar program. Through virtual seminars and online forums led by distinguished researchers, selected doctoral scholars have the opportunity to participate in sustained inquiry into the question, “What makes for excellence in special education research?” 

 3.  DR White Paper on Diversity in SPED Research

DR has recently developed a white paper entitled "Increasing the Involvement of Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Students in Special Education Research." The primary purpose of this paper was twofold:  to determine the inclusion of CLD children and youth in empirical studies and to provide recommendations to the field to further increase their participation in the strength of the research base (2015)

4. Initiative on Scientific Publishing 

Dr. Brian Cook, former DR President and University of Hawaii researcher, describes and encourages serious consideration of an approach for changing how research is conducted and reported:  an initiative for journal editors to encourage, if not require, that researchers adhere to practices that promote transparency, openness, and replication. Read about the Center for Open Science’s Transparency and Openness Promotion (TOP) guidelines to “translate scientific norms and values into concrete actions and change the current incentive structures to drive researchers’ behavior toward more openness.” (2016)

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