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President's Message

Winter 2016
Your Voices Make a Difference in
Funding Special Education Research

Elizabeth (Betsy) Talbott         
University of Illinois at Chicago


This past fall, special education researchers from around the country rallied to raise the caps on federal spending and make the case that funding for the National Center for Special Education Research (NCSER) should not be cut. Although our long-term strategy is to fight for increased funding for NSCER—for now, we seek to avoid cuts of $18 million that have been proposed by the House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations. 
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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.  2016 DR Research Awards Announced

The DR Board of Directors is pleased to announce the following recipients of DR's 2016 Research Awards:

Kauffman-Hallahan Distinguished Researcher Award: Dr. Rob Horner
Distinguished Early Career Research Award: Dr. Brian Boyd
Early Career Publication Award: Dr. Alexandra Hollo
Student Research Award: Dr. Debra McKeown, Dr. Elizabeth Bettini, Dr. Alicia F. Saunders and Dr. Melissa K. Driver
Full Awards Announcement

2.  DR to Offer Beginning Career Researchers Workshop at 2016 CEC Convention

The deadline is February 15, 2016 for applications from beginning career faculty in special education to participate in DR's Beginning Career Researchers Workshop (April 14, 2016) in St. Louis, MO during the annual CEC Convention and Expo. This all-day workshop is intended for tenure accruing faculty in the first three years of their career and will address a wide range of topics and strategies that deal with issues associated with this critical phase of individuals' careers.  More information and application instructions . . .

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