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Our Advocacy Efforts

We’re the only museum initiative with a presence on the national stage in Washington, D.C. The NCTL is one of the nation’s leaders in STEM advocacy, working to change the STEM education landscape through national and international education and policy.

The NCTL efforts are based on years of research and reports that point to the importance of including engineering design skills and practices in and out of classrooms. The teaching of STEM subjects in U.S. schools must be improved in order to build a domestic workforce to retain U.S. competitiveness in the global economy and develop new technologies to keep our nation safe and healthy.

Find out more about what we’ve accomplished and what we’re working on in the fields of educational standards, assessment, and policy below.


The NCTL worked closely with several members of Congress including Rep. Paul Tonko (D-NY) and Senator Kristen Gillibrand (D-NY) to introduce several K-12 engineering education bills. Many of these were incorporated into the new Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which replaced No Child Left Behind in 2016. ESSA contains a number of provisions that support STEM and computer science teaching and learning. ESSA enables states to direct federal funds to improve accessibility, access, and assessments in schools and afterschool programs. We partnered up with organizations like 100Kin10 to form the advocacy hub Success With STEM, and through our efforts, many states are directing their funds to engineering and technology programs.


Massachusetts is the first state in the nation to develop curricular frameworks and assessments for engineering Pre K-12. Ioannis Miaoulis, now president and director of the Museum of Science, recognized early the importance of technological literacy and trained engineers and scientists. The first step was helping us to develop the standards. The Museum has also done a great job making these standards come alive in our classrooms.

– Dr. David P. Driscoll, former Massachusetts education commissioner

The National Academies Board on Science Education brought a diverse array of science education stakeholders together and, in 2011, published a new Framework for K–12 Science Education Standards. This was a cutting-edge development in science education because it included engineering as a core discipline, as well as a cross-cutting concept and key practice. Expert Museum of Science educators Yvonne Spicer and Cary Sneider served on the technology and engineering development team.

The final Framework was the foundation for the development of a new set of model science standards called the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), giving unprecedented emphasis to engineering as a component of K–12 instruction. Although the second draft of the NGSS pulled back on engineering skills and practices, the NCTL generated a successful grassroots campaign to reinstate engineering into the final version, which was released in 2013.


Ioannis Miaoulis was invited to participate in the revision of the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), also known as the Nation’s Report Card, for Science in 2005. Miaoulis pressed for the inclusion of technological literacy. The revised NAEP Science assessment, first implemented in 2009, included measures of technological literacy and systems thinking.

The NCTL was later invited to help develop a brand new NAEP Technology and Engineering Literacy (TEL) Assessment and offer three categories of questions: information and computer technology, society and technology, and systems (and engineering) design to appease all interests. The NAEP TEL was first administered to 8th graders in 2014.