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President Obama Releases Streamlined STEM Budget

July 19, 2013

In April, President Barack Obama announced a STEM budget proposal, which increases government-wide funding by 6.7%, while cutting the number of STEM programs by 50% from 226 to 112. This effort to reorganize and consolidate would save about $180 million that would be strategically reinvested in other STEM activities. STEM programs would be mainly reconsolidated under the Department of Education, National Science Foundation, and the Smithsonian Institution.

At the K-12 level, the President's proposal seeks to invest in "STEM Innovation Networks," or strategic partnerships among school districts, universities, Federal science agencies, businesses, museums, skilled volunteers, and other educational entities. The budget also provides funding for new STEM teachers over the next decade via advanced teacher recruitment preparation. A pilot "STEM Master Teacher Corps" would also enlist current math and science teachers to improve instruction in their schools.

President Obama said that his goal is to "create an all-hands-on-deck approach to science, technology, engineering, and math. We need to make this a priority to train an army of new teachers in these subject areas, and to make sure that all of us as a country are lifting up these subjects for the respect that they deserve."

While some groups, including the Association of Science-Technology Centers Incorporated (ASTC), of which the Museum of Science is a member, appreciate the importance of streamlining Federal programs and increasing the overall STEM budget, they are concerned that some valuable competitive out-of-school STEM grants will be eliminated or severely cut, particularly within the National Science Foundation (NSF), the National Space and Aeronautics Administration (NASA), the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Although Congress must review and approve the President's STEM budget before implementation measures can be taken, some agencies are moving rapidly in this direction.

The Museum of Science, Boston

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