RELEASE: The Coronavirus Pandemic Underscores the Need for Greater Investments in Research and Development for K-12 Education

Washington, D.C. — From pharmaceutical development to green technology, federal research and development (R&D) efforts have reaped tremendous gains for taxpayers across a wide variety of spaces. Unfortunately, despite the stark need, the U.S. Department of Education’s investments in R&D continue to pale in comparison to those made by other government agencies.

Today, in the culmination of the organizations’ joint “Moonshot for Kids” venture, the Center for American Progress and the Thomas B. Fordham Institute released a proposal to scale federal R&D investments in K-12 education, as well as a corresponding blog post contextualizing the plan’s release. The goal of the proposal and new R&D investments is to boost academic outcomes, such as reading or writing proficiency, and to advance equity in educational attainment. The proposal also outlines how the program should be organized, administered, and funded.

“Our education system was wholly inequitable prior to the coronavirus pandemic, but new investments in research and big ideas to bridge these gaps can help hold the line on exacerbating these inequities,” said Scott Sargrad, vice president of K-12 Education Policy at CAP. “As it has with public health, Congress should dedicate substantial new resources for R&D benefiting our nation’s students.”

“This spring, at great cost to America’s young people, we’ve again seen how ill-prepared our horse-and-buggy education system is to meet 21st Century challenges, and how compelling is the need for pathbreaking R&D that will enable us to transform and modernize that system,” said Michael Petrilli, President of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute.

Please click here to read the “Moonshot for Education” proposal and here to read the blog post contextualizing the plan’s release.

For more information or to speak with an expert, please contact Colin Seeberger at or 202-741-6292.