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News from Capitol Hill

July 19, 2016

STEM education was addressed in the FY17 appropriations bill by both the House and Senate, the Senate's American Innovation and Competitiveness Act, and a hands-on activity at the Capitol Hill Maker Faire. The Museum of Science, Boston supports all three via its National Center for Technological Literacy® (NCTL®).

Appropriations Update

The House Labor, Health, and Human Services, Education Appropriation Subcommittee approved their version of the FY17 appropriations bill. It includes $1 billion to support the Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants Program (SSAEG) under Title IV of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). These grants will provide flexible funds to states and school districts to expand access to a well-rounded education (including STEM and computer science), improve school conditions and the use of technology.

The Administration's budget request included just $500 million for this new block grant, while the Senate Education Appropriations Committee provided just $300 million in their version last month. The two chambers will need to compromise for the fiscal year 2017 on this and other programs. The Museum is working via its NCTL with the Title IV Coalition to secure the highest possible funding for STEM programs.

Innovation Legislation

The Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation recently passed the American Innovation and Competitiveness Act (S.3084).The bill includes the importance of broadening participation of women and underrepresented minorities in STEM. Thanks to Senator Edward Markey, it gives the National Science Foundation (NSF) authority to award competitive, merit-based grants to support a national partnership of institutions engaged in informal STEM learning, similar to efforts of the National Informal STEM Education Network, of which the Museum is a core partner. While the bill authorizes a four percent increase in NSF funding for fiscal years 2017 and 2018, the NCTL advocates for a longer term authorization.

Capitol Hill Maker Faire

The Congressional Maker Caucus and Institute of Museum and Library Services again invited the Museum of Science to bring an Engineering Design Challenge to the exclusive Capitol Hill Maker Faire June 21. Nearly 700 Hill and agency staff, members of Congress (Mark Takano, Paul Tonko, Lois Capps, Frank Wolf), and families interacted with 42 Maker exhibits from robots and 3-D sculptures to the Museum's Create-a-Claw Challenge. For info:;

The Museum of Science, Boston

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