The U.S. Department of Education has established a network of centers to provide resources and other support to state and local decision makers. The network includes the comprehensive center system made up of seven national content centers and fifteen regional comprehensive centers, the regional educational laboratories (RELs), and other specialized centers. The centers work together to help policymakers and practitioners make evidence-based decisions at all levels of the system with the goal of improving student outcomes.
Regional Comprehensive Centers
Regional Comprehensive Centers provide frontline assistance to states to help them implement the ESEA and other related Federal school improvement programs and help increase the capacity of states to assist their districts and schools. Regional Centers are embedded in their regions and responsible for developing strong relationships and partnerships within their regional communities (ED, 2012).
Together, the seven Content Centers cover a spectrum of school improvement and technical assistance areas. Each of them is responsible for providing in-depth knowledge, expertise, and analyses in its focal area to Regional Centers and the states they serve. Content Centers disseminate information about scientifically based research on effective practice and research-based products in their area of specialty and provide expertise that Regional Centers can use in delivering technical assistance to states (ED, 2012).
Regional Educational Laboratories
The Regional Educational Laboratories (RELs) work in partnership with school districts, state departments of education, and others to use data and research to improve academic outcomes for students. Fundamentally, the mission of the RELs is to provide support for a more evidence-reliant education system.