NEWTON, MA | March 20, 2006
The U.S. Department of Education has announced that Education Development Center, Inc. (EDC), in partnership with WestEd and American Institutes for Research (AIR), has been awarded a five-year $38 million contract to lead the Northeast and Islands Regional Education Laboratory (NEIREL).
As one of a network of 10 such labs across the country, NEIREL will conduct research on new approaches to improving teaching and learning and disseminate proven approaches to educators and policymakers. EDC, an international non-profit education and health research organization, has been awarded the contract to serve the Northeast and Islands region, one of the largest and most diverse in the country, which includes more than 5 million students, nearly 10,000 schools, and 1,994 districts in the six New England states, New York, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands.
NEIREL will focus on evidence-based education, with the goal of helping pre-K-16 educators at the state, district, and school level increase the use of scientifically-based approaches to improving student achievement and reducing performance gaps among student groups.
“EDC has a long history of education research and innovation, as well as working in close partnerships with schools, districts and state departments of education,” said EDC Vice President Glenn Kleiman, who will co-direct the Lab with EDC Vice President Margaret Honey. “We’re very proud to be involved in this new effort to apply research to improve education for children throughout the region and across the country,” Kleiman said.
In the first year of the contract, NEIREL will conduct an analysis of regional needs through site visits, surveys, and interviews with policymakers, administrators, teachers, parents, and school boards. In response to needs identified in this analysis, the Lab will carry out a series of studies in three key areas: classroom and school practices; teacher quality; and assessment to improve student achievement.
“A major focus of our work will be to identify and respond to pressing regional needs and to add to the national knowledge base about what works to improve student achievement, what doesn’t, and under what circumstances,” said Honey.
With support from the U.S. Department of Education‘s Institute of Education Sciences, the Regional Labs serve as partners with state and local educators and policymakers to use research to tackle issues of education reform and improvement.