Coalition Statement on FIRST Act

Washington, DC:  The STEM Education Coalition issued the following statement on the FIRST Act, a bill introduced by the House Science, Space, and Technology Majority.  The bill would reauthorize major portions of the America COMPETES Act.  The Coalition testified before the Committee in November of 2013 on this bill and proposals to better coordinate STEM education programs across the federal government.

The Coalition’s statement:

“Our Coalition is very pleased with the prominent focus on STEM education in the FIRST Act, introduced by the Majority, which would put in place a more robust system to coordinate and improve the extensive portfolio of STEM education programs operated by many different federal agencies.   Ensuring our students have the critical STEM skills they need to succeed in the global economy is essential to U.S. competitiveness – and the federal government plays a vital role in this endeavor.    We also appreciate that the Minority’s alternative proposal includes a substantial set of provisions to address the coordination of federal STEM education efforts.  We urge the Committee members to work together to reauthorize the America COMPETE Act in a bipartisan fashion.       

Specifically, the FIRST Act would create a new function, housed within the National Science Foundation, to coordinate STEM education activities conducted across the government.  The bill would also create a new federal STEM Education Advisory Panel that will provide a much-need outlet for outside stakeholder input – especially from “on the ground” educators – that will help inform federal plans and budget priorities.  Both of these provisions will help improve the effectiveness of federal investments in STEM education over time and address specific issues that were raised in our Coalition’s testimony before the Committee last year.” 

More background:

The Coalition’s written testimony on the FIRST Act discussion draft

The Coalition’s Core Policy Principles

The Case for STEM Education as a National Priority

About the Coalition

The STEM Education Coalition is an alliance of more than 500 education, business, and professional organizations from across the country that are united in the goal of promoting policies to improve science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education at every level.  Our Coalition closely follows the development and evolution of policies across the federal government that seek to address the challenges our nation faces in educating the future STEM workforce.  The Coalition is based in Washington, DC.