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Support Educating Tomorrow's Engineers Act

July 22, 2013

On June 18, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Representatives Paul Tonko (D-NY) and Joe Kennedy (D-MA) introduced the Educating Tomorrow's Engineers Act (ETEA), S.1178 and H.R.2426, respectively. The legislation aims to strengthen science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education in K-12 schools by increasing student involvement in engineering. The bill gives instructors tools and support to teach this subject, enables schools to direct more resources toward such a curriculum, and supports federal research in K-12 engineering.

Sen. Gillibrand said, "America is home to the world's strongest economy, the greatest colleges, and universities, and the world's brightest minds. But if we are going to continue to lead, we need to prepare our children for the jobs of the future. Our bold legislation can spark greater interest in science, technology, and engineering, equipping students today with the skills they need to lead the new economy."

"Engineering education helps all students understand the world around us and how things work," said Rep. Tonko. "Exposing more students to engineering will prove to be a tremendous asset as we work to enhance the quality of education they receive. I am thankful for the opportunities I had in engineering education, and I thank Senator Gillibrand for her leadership on this issue in the Senate." Most recently, Reps. Walter Jones (R-NC) and Leonard Lance (R-NJ) agreed to cosponsor the bill. Bipartisanship is essential to moving legislation forward.

Rep. Kennedy added, "STEM education is the critical link between a new generation and the jobs of tomorrow. From precision manufacturing to clean energy to life sciences, the industries that will power this country's future depend on a highly-skilled and innovative workforce."

The National Center for Technological Literacy® is working closely with these legislators. Museum of Science president and director Ioannis Miaoulis expressed his strong support, saying, "The ETEA takes a commonsense approach toward promoting the importance of and need for K-12 engineering and other STEM subjects, including computer science. An increased focus on these subjects broadens students' knowledge of our rapidly changing technological world and exposes them to disciplines and skill sets that are critical to our nation's workforce and competitiveness."

The U.S. House voted to pass H.R.5, the Student Success Act, on July 19 along party lines. Despite efforts by Reps. Tonko and Kennedy to amend this Republican version of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), the amendment, which would have dedicated funding for STEM teacher professional development, had to be withdrawn. A separate computer science amendment by Reps. Susan Brooks (R-IN) and Jared Polis (D-CO), however, was approved to expand the definition of STEM. Action now moves to the Senate.

The Museum of Science, Boston

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