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 is pleased to welcome TIES as the newest member of this diverse Coalition. TIES, an educational consultancy firm, serves as the backbone of the STEM Learning Ecosystems Community of Practice, SLECoP, now consisting of more than 100 STEM Ecosystems operating worldwide. STEM Learning Ecosystems operate at the local, regional or state levels and consist of cross-sector partners who work as a community rather than in siloes to empower young people with the knowledge, engagement and skills to create our next innovative STEM workforce. In addition to its role with the SLECoP, TIES also works with partners from business and industry, government and non-profit sectors to design and implement meaningful STEM initiatives. Jan Morrison, founder and CEO of TIES, said, “We have a long relationship with the STEM Education Coalition and know that this new partnership will result in our nation’s legislators gaining deeper understandings of the importance of STEM and how it is integral to workforce, economic development and the overall welfare of our communities.”
On Friday, December 23, Congress passed the FY 2023 Omnibus spending package, funding the government for the fiscal year through September 2023. James Brown, Executive Director of the STEM Education Coalition, stated: “This bill is a historic win for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education. The funding levels in this bill for STEM programs at the National Science Foundation in particular are a massive, positive step forward towards scaling up innovations in education to reach a broader range of communities students with the greatest needs. Thank you to Congress for delivering a big down payment on our nation’s future.“ While the bill didn’t hit the authorization levels established in the CHIPS and Science Act (which were VERY aspirational), it does deliver a substantial boost to STEM program as NSF and to the education programs we target generally. Here are some of the highlights: NSF Total Funding: $9.9 billion (+12% over FY22) NSF STEM Education Directorate: $1.25 billion (+$140 million) NIST Total Funding: $1.63 billion (+32%) DOE Office of Science: $8.1 billion (+8%) Regional Innovation Technology Hubs: $500 million (new) Dept. of Education: Pell Grants: $7.395 billion (+7.3%) Title IV.A Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants: $1.38 billion (+7.8%) – this is the largest source at ED for STEM program support 21st Century Community Learning Centers: $1.33 billion (+3.1%) Teacher Quality Partnerships: $70 million (+18.5%) Minority Science and Engineering Improvement: $16 million (+12.6%)
- Department of Education Publishes Letter on Use of Federal Education Funds to Support STEM Education
On Tuesday, December 6, the U.S. Department of Education published a Dear Colleague Letter to state and district leaders outlining how federal education funds can be used to enhance STEM teaching and learning. “The purpose of this letter is to help State educational agencies (SEAs), local educational agencies (LEAs), and their partners better understand how to use Federal funds to support innovative, equity-focused pre-kindergarten through grade 12 (Pre-K-12) STEM education strategies. This letter provides examples of how funds from the American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act of 2021; Titles I, II, III, and IV of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA); the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA); and the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006, as amended by the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V), can support efforts to improve Pre-K-12 instruction and student outcomes in STEM fields,” the letter states. The letter is published in conjunction with the launch of a new initiative at the Department, the Raise the Bar: STEM Excellence for All Students initiative, which is designed to strengthen Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education nationwide. The Coalition was present at the Department’s YOU Belong in STEM National Coordinating Conference, which welcomed more than 200 STEM stakeholders from 30 states and territories in the Department’s Lyndon B. Johnson building in Washington, D.C.
On Thursday, December 1, the STEM Education Coalition, joined by more than a dozen leading U.S. companies and their trade associations from the semiconductor and computing community, along with education and professional organizations from across the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) community, sent a letter to Congressional leaders urging Congress to fully fund the STEM workforce and education provisions of the CHIPS and Science Act in the FY23 spending legislation. Congress has an excellent opportunity to utilize the 5-year $81 billion authorization of programs by the CHIPS and Science Act of 2022 at the National Science Foundation (NSF), which would support vital teacher training and collaboration with the scientific workforce, improved STEM education in afterschool programs, and a dedicated focus to diversify STEM fields through higher education programs. There has never been a time in American public education when learning the application of skills in science, mathematics, and technology are as critical as they are today in ensuring our ability to sustain global leadership in innovation, as well as our collective futures. View the full letter here.
On Wednesday, August 27, the United State Senate passed the CHIPS+ Act of 2022, containing multiple provisions supporting STEM education and federal science and research programs. James Brown, Executive Director of the STEM Education Coalition released the following statement on behalf of the Coalition and its members. “Our Coalition applauds the Senate’s passage of landmark bipartisan legislation that will bolster U.S. competitiveness through new investments in science and technology on an unprecedented scale. This bill will expand our national capacity to improve science, technology, engineering and mathematics education by significantly expanding the role of the National Science Foundation in supporting the STEM fields. Our future prosperity depends on our ability to lead the world in technology development, job creation in high demand technical fields, and our ability to train more Americans for the best, highest paying jobs in the global economy. We are delighted that so many members of both parties in the U.S. Senate have come together behind this goal and hope swift bipartisan action in the House will soon follow.” Earlier this year, the Coalition provided Congress with recommendations for a final piece of legislation, many of which were adopted.
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