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FYI Number 84: June 30, 2003

Initial FY04 Numbers for Education Department Math & Science Partnerships

 

June 30, 2003, No. 84

As reported in FYI #83, appropriators in both the House and Senate have finished their versions of the Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations bill for FY 2004. This bill includes funding for many programs within the Department of Education, including programs to improve teacher quality and, specifically, to improve science and math instruction. The Senate Appropriations Committee Report accompanying the bill (S. Rept. 108-081) is available on http://thomas.loc.gov, while the House Appropriations Committee report is not yet available.

STATE GRANTS FOR IMPROVING TEACHER QUALITY: The FY 2003 appropriation for this program is $2,930.0 million. President Bush requested $2,850.0 million for FY 2004. The House Appropriations Committee would provide $2,930.0 million, equal to current-year funding, while Senate appropriators would provide the requested amount of $2,850.0 million.

The Senate report explains that states and local education authorities may use funds from this program "for a range of activities related to the certification, recruitment, professional development, and support of teachers and administrators. Activities may include reforming teacher certification and licensure requirements, addressing alternative routes to State certification of teachers, recruiting teachers and principals, and implementing teacher mentoring systems, teacher testing, merit pay, and merit-based performance systems." These activities can address the teaching of science and math as well as other areas.

MATHEMATICS AND SCIENCE PARTNERSHIPS: This is the only program in the Department of Education specifically dedicated to improving science and math education. The FY 2003 appropriation for this program is $100.3 million. President Bush requested $12.5 million for FY 2004. As indicated in FYI #78, House appropriators would fund the Mathematics and Science Partnerships at $150.0 million for FY 2004, an increase of almost $50 million over current-year funding. Senate appropriators recommend $100.3 million for the Partnerships in FY 2004, the same level as the program is currently receiving.

The Senate committee report contains the following language on the Partnerships: "These funds will be used to improve the performance of students in the areas of math and science by bringing math and science teachers in elementary and secondary schools together with scientists, mathematicians, and engineers to increase the teachers' subject-matter knowledge and improve their teaching skills. When the appropriation for this program is $100,000,000 or greater, the Secretary is authorized to award grants to States by a formula which includes consideration of the number of children aged 5 to 17 below the poverty line. States then are required to make grants competitively to eligible partnerships to enable the entities to pay the Federal share of the costs of developing or redesigning more rigorous mathematics and science curricula that are aligned with State and local standards; creating opportunities for enhanced professional development that improves the subject-matter knowledge of math and science teachers; recruiting math and science majors; and improving and expanding training of math and science teachers, including the effective integration of technology into curricula and instruction.

"The Committee notes that the authorizing statute requires grantees to develop an evaluation and accountability plan to measure their performance and to submit annual reports to the Department on such plans. The Committee encourages the Department to work with the National Science Foundation, States, and local grantees to develop a framework for evaluating this program. The Committee requests that the 2005 Congressional Justification include a description of steps taken and planned for using annual reports and other means as a basis for evaluating this program (including developing a baseline and performance targets.)"

The complementary Mathematics and Science Partnerships program within the National Science Foundation will be funded in the VA/HUD appropriations bill. Neither the House nor the Senate VA/HUD appropriations committee has marked up its FY 2004 spending bill yet.

Audrey T. Leath
Media and Government Relations Division
American Institute of Physics
fyi@aip.org
(301) 209-3094

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