June 7, 2013
The Honorable Al Franken
309 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington DC 20510
Dear Senator Franken:
On behalf of the Minnesota Science Teachers Association, thank you for your leadership in the Senate with Science Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education issues. We applaud your efforts to improve STEM education and retain effective classroom teachers with The STEM Master Teacher Corps. This bill will offer career advancement to identified top teachers and allow them to mentor and share best practices with other educators while remaining in the classroom.
As the Senate HELP Committee prepares to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, we would like to offer some recommendations that we believe will help to strengthen the ESEA bill and K-12 STEM teaching and learning.
- Include student performance in science alongside math and reading as a core element of the accountability system.
- Continue to provide a robust and dedicated source of funding for STEM teacher professional development and other education innovations, similar to what is currently offered under Title IIB of the bill.
- Encourage state lead efforts to adopt and implement college and career ready standards in math and science.
- Encourage states to develop their own comprehensive STEM education action plan, including a definition of STEM needs, that would include substantial input from business, professional, and education stakeholders.
- Include the integration of STEM curricula, projects, and programs as high priority allowable uses of funds for other ESEA programs that support classroom teaching.
- Include funding for programs and activities that get students excited for STEM, such as informal learning initiatives, out of school experiences, and summer and extended learning time initiatives.
- Include legislation that would target efforts to include more underrepresented minorities and women in STEM learning and STEM fields.
We look forward to working with your office as the ESEA reauthorization process begins. If you have any additional questions or need more information, please contact James Brown at 202-223-1187.
Minnesota Science Teachers Association
Minnesota Section of the Society of Women Engineers