Last week, the STEM Ed Coalition issued its final letter to appropriators on the FY17 budget. The letter included the Coalition’s budget priorities and specific recommendations regarding funding priorities at the Department of Education and the National Science Foundation. These recommendations include:
- Supporting the proposal of $2.250 billion for the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) Title II Supporting Effective Instruction State grants program at the Department of Education (DoEd). This program provides support for teacher quality improvement initiatives, including professional development and teacher leadership, and provides states with flexibility in addressing STEM-specific challenges in this area.
- Supporting full funding of the ESSA Title IV Student Support and Academic Enhancement Grants at the DoEd at the authorized level of $1.65 billion. The new initiative, would support state-led efforts to promote hands on STEM learning, STEM specialty schools, integration of informal and formal STEM programs, and support improvement in computer science instruction. We are very disappointed the Administration proposed only $500 million for this program, which was a central focus of the ESSA and recommend Congress establish the program as authorized.
- Supporting the proposal of $100 million for the new Computer Science for All Development Grants at the DoEd. Too few American schools are teaching computer science and the Administration’s Computer Science for All initiative is an ambitious effort to promote equity and expanded learning opportunities in this critical area.
- Supporting the proposal of $10 million for a STEM Master Teacher Corps at the DoEd, which was authorized through Section 2245 of ESSA. This program would help cultivate teacher leaders in STEM subjects and promote the sharing of best practices across the teaching professions.
- Supporting the proposal of $952.86 million for the National Science Foundation’s Education and Human Resources (EHR) Directorate. This funding supports discovery and innovation at the frontiers of STEM learning and teaching, supports the testing, assessment, study and evaluation of highly innovative models and approaches to learning, and fosters linkages between STEM education research and practice that improve the effectiveness of programs across the federal government and at the state level.