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Members of Congress Continue to Beat the STEM Education Drum

April 10, 2013

Despite the sequestration and other consuming issues, several members of Congress continue to act in support of STEM education. The Museum of Science's National Center for Technological Literacy® (NCTL®) is working with them on legislation advancing science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education and the resources of science museums nationwide.

Representative Michael Honda (D-CA) has introduced two bills based on recommendations of President Obama's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST). His Stepping up to STEM Act will establish an Office of STEM Education at the U.S. Department of Education, support funding for State Networks on STEM Education, and create the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Education (ARPA-ED). The Elementary Educator STEM Content Coach Act will help in-house school experts showcase the integration of STEM disciplines across the curriculum and provide relevant professional development. In addition, Honda supports the President's call to recruit and train over 100K new public school STEM teachers in the next decade. The NCTL supports the movement as a member.

Senator Al Franken (D-MN) has reintroduced his STEM Master Teacher Corps Act (S.358). This bill recognizes and rewards outstanding STEM teachers, attracts and retains them, particularly in high-need schools, by offering more compensation, instructional resources, and leadership roles, and creates a network of outstanding STEM teacher-leaders.

With Franken, Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) successfully offered an amendment to the Senate Budget Resolution to "create a (deficit-neutral) reserve fund to expand, enhance, or otherwise improve science, technology, engineering, math, and career and technical education." Merkley is expected to reintroduce the "Preparing Students for Success in the Global Economy Act" that was adopted by the Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions (HELP) Committee last year.

Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Marco Rubio (R-FL), and Chris Coons (D-DE) introduced S.169, the Immigration Innovation -- or I-Squared -- Act that increases the cap on H-1B visas and increases H-1B employer fees. The fees will be deposited in the Promoting American Ingenuity Account to enhance U.S. economic competitiveness by improving STEM education via well-trained STEM teachers; strengthening the elementary and secondary curriculum, including computer science; and helping colleges and universities produce more graduates in fields needed by American employers.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Rep Paul Tonko (D-NY) also plan to reintroduce a retooled Engineering Education for Innovation Act this year.

The Museum of Science, Boston

  1 Science Park, Boston, MA 02114  phone: 617-723-2500