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NCTL works with 114th Congress to help pass bipartisan STEM law

February 01, 2017

The NCTL worked with members of both the House and Senate to secure STEM education related provisions of the American Innovation and Competitiveness Act. The law was one of the last pieces of legislation enacted by the 114th Congress and one of the last to be signed by President Obama on January 6, 2017. The bicameral, bipartisan legislative compromise maximizes basic research opportunities, reduces administrative burdens, and promotes oversight of taxpayer-funded research.

The NCTL's work helped secure important STEM provisions, including tasking the National Science Foundation (NSF) with establishing a STEM Advisory Panel. The panel, composed of academic, industry and informal science representatives, will advise and assess federal STEM programs. NSF is also charged with creating a working group to study how to improve inclusion of women and underrepresented individuals in STEM fields. Additionally, NSF will offer computer science (CS) education grants to produce models for pre-service teacher preparation, scalable in-service teacher professional development, and tools to integrate CS into STEM instruction.

This legislation also amends the STEM Education Act of 2015 by requiring the NSF to foster on-going partnerships between institutions involved in informal STEM learning, institutions of higher education, and education research centers; and develop and make available informal STEM education activities and educational materials – very similar to the work conducted by the National Informal STEM Education Network ( Senators Bill Nelson (R-FL), Cory Gardner (R-CO) and Edward Markey (D-MA), key members of the Senate Commerce Committee, sent a detailed letter to the NSF Director outlining their priorities regarding this provision.

Additionally, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) will continue educational outreach activities, including sponsoring summer workshops for K-12 teachers as well as undergraduate and graduate programs.

The NCTL urges the 115th Congress and the new Administration to continue working in a bipartisan fashion to advance STEM+CS education and informal science learning.

Click here to view a summary provided by cosponsors Sens. Cory Gardner (R-CO) and Gary Peters (D-MI).

Click here for COMPETES bill text.

Click here for the letter to the NSF Director

Click here for original STEM Education Act of 2015

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