Coalition Opposes Passage of Student Success Act, Supports Successful Workforce Amendment

February 25, 2015

The STEM Education Coalition issued the following statement on House consideration of the Student Success Act (H.R. 5):

“The STEM Education Coalition continues to oppose the Student Success Act (H.R. 5).

In today’s economy every student needs to have a strong foundation in the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) subjects in order to land and succeed in virtually any job.   Only 45 percent of U.S. high school graduates are ready for college work in math and only 30 percent are ready in science.  This is unacceptable and should be addressed in the landmark federal K-12 education law.    

 “As written, the Student Success Act places no funding priority on the STEM subjects and would eliminate the Math and Science Partnership program at the Department of Education, the sole existing program at the Department focused exclusively on teacher professional development in STEM subjects.  Further, it does not establish any significant linkage between teacher quality initiatives and critical workforce needs.  While we appreciate the goal of providing states with increased flexibility, we cannot support a bill that fails to address one of our nation’s most important priorities:  providing students, teachers, and schools with the tools they need to prepare future generations to succeed in the global economy.

We support four STEM-related amendments that would help address these concerns:

  • McKinley (R-WV) Amendment (#98): Establishes a state-led definition of “workforce critical subjects” for additional focus under the Title II Teacher Quality grants program.
  • Tonko (D-NY)/Kennedy(D-MA)/McKinley(R-WV) Amendment (#33): Helps to expand engineering education in our nation’s elementary and secondary schools by highlighting the ability of states to incorporate engineering design skills and practices into the currently required state science standards.
  • Johnson (D-TX) Amendment (#105): Establishes a broader definition of STEM subjects that would allow for states to include emerging subjects that build upon traditional STEM fields.
  • Courtney (D-CT) Amendment (#13): Creates a comprehensive program for STEM education from preschool through grade 12. The amendment also helps districts invest in technology and digital resources to improve”     

UPDATE:  The House adopted the Coalition-supported McKinley Amendment on “workforce critical subjects” by voice vote on 2/26/15.