Societies Urge National Priority on Science and Math Education As Congress takes up one of the major pieces of federal legislation affecting K-12 education, AIP and four of its Member Societies joined 17 other professional organizations in signing a statement calling for maintaining the national priority on science and mathematics education. The statement, developed by the informal K-12 Science, Mathematics, Engineering and Technology (SMET) Education Coalition, urges federal policymakers to support improved science, math and technology education at the elementary and secondary level.
The statement was distributed to key Members of Congress on February 29, the day before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee began marking up S. 2, a bill to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). The Committee is expected to spend most of this week on the mark- up.
The current version of the bill, entitled the Educational Opportunities Act, does not preserve the existing set-aside of funds for teacher professional development specifically in the areas of science and math. Democratic Committee members are expected to offer an amendment to restore this set-aside, which was funded at $250 million for FY 2000. The Senate bill would also permit states, if they meet certain requirements, to waive federal guidelines for teacher professional development, among other programs. The House bill, passed last year, allows some waivers but insists that math and science professional development needs must be met somehow.
In addition to AIP, the coalition statement was signed by four AIP Member Societies: The American Association of Physics Teachers, the American Astronomical Society, the American Crystallographic Association, and the American Physical Society. Other signatories were: The American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Association of Engineering Societies, the American Chemical Society, the American Geological Institute, the American Mathematical Society, the American Society of Civil Engineers, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers Board on Pre-College Education, the Council on Undergraduate Research, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc. - USA, the International Technology Education Association, the National Alliance of State Science and Mathematics Coalitions, the National Association of Biology Teachers, the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, the National Science Teachers Association, the National Society of Professional Engineers, the Society for Automotive Engineers International, and the Triangle Coalition for Science and Technology Education.
Below is the full text of the February 29, 2000 Intersociety Statement on K-12 Science, Mathematics, Engineering, and Technology Education:
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The roster for the Senate HELP Committee can be found at /fyi/1999/fyi99.067.htm
Audrey T. Leath