Sign on Letter ESEA Reauthorization; Final PCAST letter

Greetings STEM Ed Coalition Members!

Several items for your attention today:

Coalition Letter on ESEA to House Education Committee

A little more than a week ago, the House Education and Labor Committee issued a broad call for input on the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (No Child Left Behind).  They were specifically asking for suggested changes to the existing law with a deadline of March 26th.  Attached please find a letter to House education leaders addressing suggested changes to ESEA/NCLB from the Coalition that responds to this request.  This letter was developed by the Legislative Task Force and is very similar to the positions the Coalition took in 2007 during the most recent push for reauthorization.  It is important to note that this letter specifically addresses changes to the existing ESEA legislation and not the broad proposals for ESEA made by the Administration in their FY2011 budget request.   The Coalition will be addressing the Administration’s budget requests in a separate budget letter to appropriators which you will be seeing in the next few weeks.  If your organization would like to sign on to the attached ESEA letter, please let us now not later than March 24, 2010.

Second, attached please find the FINAL letter sent to the Presidents Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, or PCAST, as they work to develop their report on STEM education. Thanks to the organizations that were able to sign on to this letter.

Third, attached please find an invitation to the Business and Industry STEM Education Coalition Launch Event on March 12, 2010; 8:30 AM – 9:30 AM at The National Academy of Sciences Building, Washington, DC  2101 Constitution Avenue NW (21st and C Streets).

Fourth, ASEE is pleased to hold its 7th Annual K-12 Workshop on Engineering Education, “Discovering Engineering in the Classroom”, presented by Dassault Systemes, this June 19, 2010 at the Kentucky International Convention Center, in Louisville, KY. Those interested in submitting a proposal are invited to go to: additional information, please contact Libby Martin

Finally, below you will find an op-ed that recently appeared in the Hill newspaper, authored by Ed Sec Arne Duncan and OSTP Director John Holdren.


James and Jodi

James Brown

Co-Chair, STEM Education Coalition
Assistant Director for Advocacy |Office of Public Affairs
1155 16th St., NW | Washington | DC 20036
T 202-872-6229| F 202-872-6206 |
Jodi Peterson Assistant Executive Director Legislative and Public Affairs National Science Teachers Association Co-Chair, STEM Education Coalition 1840 Wilson Blvd, Arlington, VA 22201 703-312-9214   Cell:  571-308-4949

How the U.S. can stay on top

By John P. Holdren and Secretary Arne Duncan – 03/01/10 06:43 PM ET

Americans feeling beleaguered by today’s many challenges —economic uncertainty at home, the heartbreaking struggles of our neighbors in Haiti, the need to boost global development while tempering habitat loss and climate change — need look no further for inspiration than two of the youngest guests in the presidential box seats at the recent State of the Union address. Those two women — a high school student from Bellaire, Texas, and a Stanford University freshman geology major — represent the catalytic convergence of science and education that promises to fuel America’s economic recovery while generating new approaches to improving our world.

Consider Li Boynton, an 18-year-old high school senior with a love of science and concern for global health. Having learned that almost 1 billion people lack access to safe drinking water and that conventional methods of testing for dangerous contaminants are complicated and expensive, she worked with her science teacher to invent a novel test that harnesses helpful bacteria to tell whether water is tainted by chemicals. Her achievement earned her top honors last year in the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair and leaves us convinced that, whether or not this innovation makes it to market, Boynton is on track to change the world.

Sitting with Boynton was Gabriela Aylin Farfan, a collector of rocks and minerals since age seven who, as an Intel Science Talent Search finalist last year, won a scholarship for her independent research describing why certain gemstones appear to change color when viewed from different angles — a peculiar property of some crystals that may prove useful in an array of nano-engineering applications.

We were thrilled to see Boynton and Farfan honored because they personify our shared commitment, and that of the president, to raise American students from the middle to the top of the pack in science, engineering and mathematics — not simply to proclaim “We’re No. 1,” but rather, for the profoundly important reason that science and technology are America’s best chance to meet some of the biggest challenges this country faces in the 21st century:  creating the new products and jobs that will drive economic recovery and growth, delivering better healthcare for Americans at lower cost, providing the new domestic energy sources that will reduce dependence on foreign oil and protect the climate, and keeping America secure while protecting our freedoms.

Science and technology have long been the primary driving force behind America’s economic and political strength. But a number of indicators — including figures released this month by the National Science Board — show that America’s lead in science and engineering is at risk. To keep the pipeline of excellence flowing, we must boost our science, technology and mathematics programs and better support the educators who introduce these subjects to our children. Specifically, the nation needs to:

• Make robust, highly targeted federal investments in science, engineering, and mathematics education. The Education Department’s Race to the Top program, for example, is offering $4.35 billion in competitive grants to states with smart plans to improve teaching and learning, with science, math, and engineering education — including investments in teachers and school leaders — highlighted as major criteria in the awards process.

• Tap the diversity of America to bring new approaches to discovery, design, and innovation. Women and girls, students of color, and individuals with disabilities often face barriers that discourage participation in science and engineering. By engaging their diversity of experiences and approaches, we can accelerate discovery and the development of new technologies and jobs.

• Get the private sector involved. Through the administration’s Educate to Innovate initiative, corporations, philanthropies, science and engineering societies, and non-profits have responded to the president’s call for partnership, donating more than $500 million in funds and in-kind services to improve science, engineering, and mathematics education.

• Make science and engineering a hands-on subject again. Programs such as National Lab Day are linking the expertise and enthusiasm of the nation’s talented scientists, engineers and community volunteers with students and teachers to bring more real-world-relevant, hands-on activities into the classroom.

• Raise the public profile of science, engineering, and mathematics. The president has been doing his part, hosting Astronomy Night on the White House Lawn, for example, which got 150 middle school students looking through telescopes with the first family; honoring science and mathematics teachers and mentors at the White House earlier this month; and just last week visiting Loraine County, Ohio’s “Fab Lab,” a community college-based facility where students operate high-tech fabrication tools. It’s also why he committed to join both of us in a campaign to recruit the next generation of teachers — especially in subjects suffering from shortages, such as science and math.

When we were elementary and high school students, neither of us had any idea that we would someday be secretary of education or serve in the White House as the president’s science adviser. But like Li Boynton and Gabriela Farfan, we were fortunate to have excellent teachers and well-equipped schools that nourished our curiosity and cultivated in us a passion for learning. Today we owe it to students like Li and Gabriela — and to the nation and the world — to keep that chain of opportunity alive by boldly supporting the innovative teachers and schools that will help make America, as the president has urged, once again a nation of creators and not just consumers.

Holdren is assistant to the president for science and technology and director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. Duncan is the secretary of education.

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