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As President Obama said, “We need more bills like this!” The STEM Education Coalition, along with several of its members, was invited to attend the presidential signing of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). This bill provides substantial support for STEM education for K-12 in the states, and is a big victory for the bipartisan efforts of congressional members, their staff, and community stakeholders.
We would like to thank our members and community partners for their continuous efforts to attain STEM-focused language into the final ESSA bill. As we have previously announced, our Coalition actively supported the inclusion of a range of STEM provisions from the Senate bill in the conferenced agreement and we are pleased that many of those provision were included in the final legislation, which was the product of an extensive and thoroughly bipartisan process (read full public statement of support here). The Coalition’s efforts would not be possible without the strong membership commitment that makes the Coalition so effective.
After over a decade, the No Child Left Behind legislation has been replaced with a state-focused education agenda. Instead of the federally-focused NCLB, ESSA directs funding directly to the states with allocated initiatives. State education departments will now have to learn how to navigate more locally-focused funding streams and build educational infrastructure tailored towards their needs. As we discussed in our analysis of the bill (see full analysis here), the bill includes important pro-STEM education language including required math and science standards, expanded state certification and professional development for STEM teachers, and allocated funding percentages for STEM learning.
Moving into 2016, the Coalition is excited to work with our members and the states in shifting into the state-focused education agenda. As the President put it in his closing remarks, “Now the hard work begins.”
Gallery from Ceremony