Members of the House and Senate are now meeting to work out the differences
in their versions of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA).
As reported in the previous FYI, both bills include some form of Math
and Science Partnership initiative to improve education in K-12 science
Last month, the American Institute of Physics and several of its Member
Societies joined in a letter to the House and Senate conferees, urging
support for the Math and Science Partnerships, math and science teacher
recruitment, and assessment of student achievement in science. A total
of 21 organizations, including AIP, the American Association of Physics
Teachers, the American Astronomical Society, and the American Physical
Society, signed the letter, which was sent under the auspices of the
K-12 Science, Mathematics, Engineering and Technology Education Coalition.
The text of the letter follows:
"On behalf of the K-12 Science, Mathematics, Engineering, and Technology
(SMET) Coalition, we would like to thank you for your leadership on
legislation to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education
Act. We are particularly pleased to see that both H.R. 1 and S. 1
include provisions establishing a Math and Science Partnership initiative.
We strongly support this style of partnership activity as a tool for
improving teaching and learning in science, mathematics, engineering,
"The science, math, engineering, and technology community has long
been concerned with the state of K-12 science, math, engineering,
and technology education. To increase student learning in these areas,
and enable the United States to compete globally with a strong science
and technology literate workforce, we need to commit a significant
amount of resources for SMET education now. The Coalition recommends
that conferees support the highest possible funding level for the
Math and Science partnerships.
"We also urge conferees to authorize these partnerships through
competitive grants at the state level.
"We also support the allowable activities and eligible partners
outlined in Section 2202 and Section 2213 of S. 1 respectively. These
activities include professional development, curriculum development,
and teacher recruitment, all of which will help local districts address
their particular needs.
"To address the serious problem of teacher recruitment, we strongly
support recruiting students with strong science, math or engineering
backgrounds to be teachers, as included in Section 2023(c)2(A) of
the House bill.
"Finally, assessment of science learning must be included, as in
Section 1111 of S. 1. If science testing is not part of this reauthorization,
classroom time for science will be reduced in favor of other subjects
that are being tested. We urge you to support the Senate language
that calls for the development of quality state tests. We also support
the development of state needs assessments to determine the professional
development and teacher quality needs in local schools.
"Thank you for considering our concerns, and for your acknowledgment
of the need to improve science, math, engineering, and technology
education. Please contact Christina Hood at 202.662.8718, if you have
further questions or need additional information."