The Policy Forum is a 501(c) non-profit entity created by the STEM Education Coalition to bring a deeper focus to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education policy issues through public events, partnerships with state and local education stakeholders, policy roundtables, and other activities designed to improve our understanding of key STEM issues.
Recent Events and Updates
The STEM Education Coalition this week released its 2020 federal policy goals to shape the coalition’s advocacy efforts on Capitol Hill and among the executive branch agencies for the year. The policy goals capture five broad themes, including how Congress must prioritize STEM funding, that higher education reforms must bolster STEM talent pathways, that competitiveness legislation must include a strong focus on the STEM workforce, that the White House and administration maintain a strong focus on STEM education and STEM jobs, and that infrastructure plans must include resources to support STEM education. The goals are the centered around the coalition’s core principles: STEM education must be elevated as a national priority as reflected through education reforms, policies to drive innovation, and federal and state spending priorities. STEM education is closely linked with our nation’s economic prosperity in the modern global economy and strong STEM skills are a central element of a well-rounded education. Our nation must expand the capacity and diversity of STEM workforce pathways to prepare more Americans – especially those from populations that are underrepresented in STEM fields – for the best jobs of the future that will keep the U.S. innovative, secure and competitive. Policymakers at every level must be informed about policy issues related to STEM education and their implications for the economy, national security, and continued American leadership in science and technology. Effective policies to promote STEM education as a national priority should be bipartisan and evidence-based and must be backed up by a strong and united community of stakeholders and advocates in the business, professional, research, and education communities. The full policy goals document can be found below: STEM-Education-Coalition-Policy-Goals-2020Download
This week, Rep. Marcia L. Fudge (OH-11) and Rep. Mike Turner (OH-10) introduced the Supporting Minority STEM Student to Career Act to improve the delivery of targeted resources to underrepresented students in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) fields. The bill updates the Minority Science and Engineering Improvement Program by allowing institutions to provide scholarships to students from underrepresented populations pursuing STEM degrees. The bill also invests in institutions’ ability to provide minority students studying STEM with comprehensive wrap-around services, such as peer mentoring, community building activities, tutoring and study groups, supplemental instruction, internships, research experiences, and career and financial counseling. “We are proud to support this bill, which would expand the STEM workforce by promoting the success of underrepresented minorities, women, and other high-need populations in STEM career pathways,” said James Brown, Executive Director of the STEM Education Coalition. “In the hyper-competitive global economy, our nation must provide every student with an interest in the critical STEM fields – from every background – with a chance to succeed by providing them with the targeted supports they need. Reams of evidence have demonstrated that aligned work study, undergraduate research opportunities, mentorship and other forms of targeted academic assistance help high-need students stay in school, complete their degrees, and succeed in STEM careers. This bill would empower the existing Minority Science and Engineering Improvement Program to deliver these kinds of supports to the students that will most benefit from them. Our collective prosperity depends on their success.” Click here for the full bill text.
Earlier this week, the House of Representatives passed two notable STEM education bills via unanimous voice vote. The Building Blocks of STEM Act¸ which would create and expand upon STEM education initiatives at NSF for young children, including new research grants to increase the participation of girls in computer science, passed both the House and Senate and now heads to the President to sign into law. The bill was sponsored by Senator Jacky Rosen (D-NV) alongside Senators Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), and Deb Fischer (R-NE). The House also passed the MSI STEM Achievement Act, a bipartisan bill authored by House Science Committee Chairwoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX). The bill directs Federal science agencies and the Office of Science and Technology Policy to undertake activities to improve the quality of undergraduate STEM education and enhance the research capacity at the Nation’s HBCUs, TCUs, and MSIs. The STEM Education Coalition applauds the passage of both bills and appreciates the continued dedication of Congress to expand federal support for STEM education opportunities nationwide.
The STEM Education Coalition is delighted to welcome the Association of Science-Technology Centers (ASTC) as our newest member of the Coalition’s Leadership Council! ASTC is the primary association for the nation’s leading science museums and science centers. Some of their most distinguished members include the Museum of Science Boston, the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry, and the Exploratorium in San Francisco. The group has long been engaged in advocacy around science and STEM education at the federal level. ASTC believes in the value of science centers to connect people with science, provide firsthand experience, and encourage curiosity. Melissa Ballard, formerly of the Afterschool Alliance, is now the Director of Public Policy for ASTC on the Coalition. ASTC is excited to join the STEM Education Coalition in its important policy and advocacy efforts. Welcome!! You can learn more about ASTC here.
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