As Congress heads into its August recess next week, action continues
on a number of K-12 education bills. Below is a clarification on the
Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) that is currently in conference,
and updates on several other bills related to science and math education.
Elementary and Secondary Education Act
FYI #100 described the current
status of this reauthorization effort. For clarification, the original
House version of the bill was H.R. 1, and Senate version was S.1.
However, on the floor, the Senate substituted its bill language into
H.R. 1 and passed the bill under that number. So the conference committee
is now working to reconcile the two differing versions of H.R. 1,
and will continue its work when Congress returns on September 4. Both
versions authorize some form of Math and Science Partnership initiative
within the Department of Education.
Both versions of H.R. 1 can be found on the Library
of Congress web site THOMAS. For the House bill, see the version
Engrossed in House (H.R. 1.EH); for the Senate bill, see the version
Engrossed Senate Amendment (H.R. 1.EAS). In the House version, the
Math and Science Partnerships fall under Title II - Preparing,
Training, and Recruiting Quality Teachers; Subpart 2 - Math and Science
Partnerships. In the Senate version, the Partnerships can be found
under Title II - Teachers; Part B - Mathematics and Science Partnerships.
Other Science Education Bills
On July 30, the House passed two other bills addressing K-12 science
education: H.R. 1858, sponsored by Science Committee Chairman Sherwood
Boehlert (R-NY), and H.R. 100, sponsored by Rep. Vern Ehlers (R-MI).
The main provisions of Boehlert's bill include authorization of: a
Math and Science Partnership program within NSF; a scholarship to
encourage science, math and engineering majors to pursue teaching;
and four national centers for research on education and learning (see
FYIs #67 and 80). Ehlers' bill would
authorize NSF grants to universities for training and support of master
teachers for math and science classrooms.
In the Senate, Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-WV), along with Edward
Kennedy (D-MA) and Pat Roberts (R-KS), has introduced S. 1262, a companion
bill to Boehlert's H.R. 1858. It has been referred to the Senate Health,
Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.
Impact of Appropriations Bills
It is very likely that a final version of ESEA will be agreed upon
and signed into law this fall, with some form of Math and Science
Partnerships authorized within the Department of Education. The Boehlert
and Rockefeller bills would authorize similar partnerships within
NSF. It is unclear at this point what will happen with two such similar
partnership programs. It may come down to actions of the relevant
appropriations subcommittees (the VA/HUD subcommittee for programs
within NSF, and the Labor-HHS-Education subcommittee for programs
within the Education Department.)
So far, VA/HUD appropriators in both the House and Senate have provided
funding for Math and Science Partnerships within NSF. House appropriators
would provide $200 million as requested by the White House and proposed
in Boehlert's authorization bill, while Senate appropriators would
provide $190 million and call for a report on how this program would
affect current NSF science education programs (see FYI #99). The Labor-HHS appropriations
subcommittees have not yet drafted their bills.