Today, the research arm of the U.S. Department of Education announced that it will not have sufficient funding to initiate a special education research grant competition for fiscal year 2014, a result of sequestration and the 30% -- or $20 million -- funding cut incurred by the National Center for Special Education Research (NCSER) over the last few years that CEC and special education advocates have been fighting to reverse.
Instead, NCSER within the Institute for Education Sciences, will fund an expected 13 grant proposals in FY 2013 -- down from over 40 grants funded last year -- and in FY 2014 will fund new awards from the pool of proposals received in 2013, rather than hold a new competition
This is the first time since its creation in 2004 that NCSER has been unable to hold a new grant competition. Annual grant competitions allow researchers to propose projects that address timely and relevant special education issues that concern children and youth with disabilities, their families and special educators. The absence of a FY 2014 grant competition does little to grow, enhance, or foster the federal government’s special education research agenda. CEC is gravely concerned that the future of NCSER will be severely inhibited if this funding trajectory continues.
Over the last year, at the urging of special education researchers and CEC, legislation and policies have been put forth in the U.S. Senate and by the Obama Administration to boost NCSER’s funding by $10 million. However, to date, Congress has been unable to compromise on funding levels for government programs and instead has simply kept the federal government running at last year’s funding levels. For NCSER, this means attempts to reverse the $20 million cut – or to restore some of this funding – has stalled.
Join CEC in urging Congress to restore funding for special education research! A healthy federal investment in special education research arms educators with the tools needed to be effective. Email firstname.lastname@example.org with ‘special education research advocacy’ in the subject line to become involved – particularly if you are an educator, parent, or researcher!