Mark Schneider

Research shows that good teachers are the most important ingredient that schools can provide to help students succeed. This is especially true for struggling schools.

Now here’s something we’re realizing about our current education research: Too few educators feel that the research that the US government supports has a tangible impact on their work in the classroom. That’s something that has to change.

Last March, I was appointed as Director of the Institute of Education Sciences. In fiscal 2019, our agency is slated to spend more than $400 million on research in education. For years, I have been concerned with the “last mile” problem—how to get information into the hands of the people who need it the most. My goal is to make information useful, usable andused. Over the past few weeks, in partnership with the Jefferson Education Exchange, IES staff has traveled to both Nebraska and North Carolina to meet with teachers and explore ways we can make IES’s research more relevant and useful.

We’ve found many potholes as we work to shorten the last mile between IES and teachers.

For starters, many teachers view research as a search for bright shiny objects pushed by administrators without adequate attention to the needs and skills of teachers. Many told us they felt that their professional knowledge is all too often neglected in education research and, to use a common phrasing, that research was “done to them not with them.”

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