This is my second presentation at AERA in my role as the principal research officer in the U.S. Department of Education. When I spoke here last year, I was assistant secretary for the Office of Educational Research and Improvement, otherwise known as OERI. I had been on the job for less than a year, and was busy trying to pour new wine into the old OERI bottle. OERI was on its way out as Congress actively deliberated the reform of Federally funded education research. Those deliberations led to the passage of the Education Sciences Reform Act of 2002. Pay attention to the title of the act. I worked with Congress for a year and a half on the bill. Believe me when I tell you that there was strong bipartisan agreement that education research needed reformation. The bill was signed into law by the President on November 5th of last year. Shortly thereafter, the President appointed me as the first director of the entity created by that legislation, the Institute of Education Sciences. So, I'm back. This time I'm busy trying to create the new Institute bottle and fill it with new wine. Since my appointment is for 6 years this will not be the last time you hear from me, as long as I'm invited to return.
I want to accomplish three things with my remarks today. The first is to have you understand the mission of the Institute. The second is to convey in very broad stokes the activities that are underway that serve the Institute's mission. The third is to share my reflections on the fit, and sometimes misfit, between the education research community's current activities and the needs of practitioners and policy makers as related to the mission of the Institute.