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FYI Number 94: August 9, 2002

Senate Appropriators on FY 2003 Science Education Funding

Before leaving for the August recess, the Senate Appropriations Committee completed work on all 13 of its FY 2003 spending bills. Both the Department of Education (funded in the Labor-HHS- Education bill, S. 2766), and the National Science Foundation (funded in the VA/HUD bill, S. 2797) support programs to improve K-12 science education. Details of the Senate appropriators' recommendations for FY 2003 science education funding are provided below. House appropriators have not completed their versions of either the Labor-HHS-Education or VA/HUD bills, and will return to work on them after Labor Day. Once the Senate and House have both passed versions of the funding bills, conferences must be held to work out the differences in the versions of each bill.

DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION

The Department of Education provides funding specifically to improve science and math education through its Mathematics and Science Partnerships. In addition, funds are available through the Improving Teacher Quality State Grants program for recruitment, support, certification and professional development of teachers in all fields, including science and math. For FY 2003, Senate appropriators would provide $3,100.0 million for the Improving Teacher Quality grants, an increase of $250.0 million, or 8.8 percent, over FY 2002 funding.

The Mathematics and Science Partnerships program was created last year in the "No Child Left Behind" education reform bill and authorized at $450 million, with the intent of reaching high-need school districts in all states. The Partnership program received FY 2002 funding of only $12.5 million. Senate appropriators would provide $25.0 million for the Partnerships in FY 2003. This is a 100 percent increase over current funding, but still thought by many to be insufficient to effectively reach all states. Explanatory language from the Senate Appropriations Committee report (S. Rpt. 107-216) follows:

State grants for improving teacher quality: "The No Child Left Behind Act requires States to ensure that all teachers teaching in core academic subjects are `highly qualified' by the end of the 2005-2006 school year. The Committee is concerned that States will have difficulty meeting this requirement, given the number of new teachers who will have to be hired before then to replace those who are retiring and to accommodate growing student enrollments. Therefore, the Committee recommends a $250,000,000 increase over the budget request and the fiscal year 2002 appropriation for the Improving Teacher Quality State Grants program, for a total of $3,100,000,000.... States and LEAs may use the funds for a range of activities related to the certification, recruitment, professional development and support of teachers. 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 funds may also be used by districts to hire teachers to reduce class sizes."

Mathematics and science partnerships: "For mathematics and science partnerships, the Committee recommends $25,000,000, which is $12,500,000 more than the fiscal year 2002 appropriation and the budget request. 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. The Secretary is authorized to award grants, on a competitive basis, 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."

NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION

NSF's Education and Human Resources Activity would receive $947.7 million in the Senate VA/HUD bill, an increase of $72.7 million, or 8.3 percent, over current funding. NSF's Math and Science Partnership program - separate from the Partnership program within the Department of Education - would receive $120.0 million, a decrease of $40.0 million or 25 percent from current funding, to be combined with carryover funding from FY 2002 that has not yet been used. Many of NSF's other science education programs would also be increased under this bill. Explanatory language from Senate Report 107-222 is provided below:

"The Committee provided $160,000,000 last year to start the new Math and Science Partnership program. It appears that NSF will not be able to obligate all of these funds in fiscal year 2002 and as much as $30,000,000 may be carried over into fiscal year 2003. Therefore the Committee is providing $120,000,000 in new budget authority for this program in fiscal year 2003. Together with the estimated carryover, this will provide up to $150,000,000 for this program in fiscal year 2003.

"To support additional K-12 math and science education efforts, the Committee is also providing a total of $223,550,000 for elementary, secondary, and informal science education, of which $37,460,000 is from the H-1B nonimmigrant petitioner fees.

"The Committee is aware of the unique and important relationship between historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and their surrounding communities, especially with schools located in some of the nation's most underserved, economically disadvantaged, and isolated areas, and recognizes that there is a natural linkage between school districts with high minority enrollments and HBCUs. The Committee expects the National Science Foundation will take explicit actions to include HBCUs among the set of institutions of higher education participating in its efforts to increase this nation's supply of math and science teachers.

"Recent data suggest a number of important trends regarding the development of the Nation's high-tech workforce. Student interest has shifted markedly from the physical sciences and mathematics to the life sciences and computer science. This trend seems to parallel Federal funding trends for research support. In addition, in a number of fields, the percentage of degrees awarded to foreign students has been steadily increasing. At the same time, the demand for jobs requiring technical expertise is growing. Given the demands of our knowledge-based economy, the United States needs to increase the number and diversity of our scientific and technical workforce and facilitate an understanding of basic scientific principles among non- scientists. For this reason, the Committee has focused on a set of NSF programs that relate to education and training at all levels of math and science education.

"The Committee has increased the budget request for NSF's graduate and professional education programs by $25,000,000. These additional funds are to be used to increase graduate student stipends in the fellowship programs and the traineeship program to a level of $30,000 per year. The Committee recognizes that graduate stipends in science and engineering need to be made more attractive to students to compensate for the cost of education and mounting student debt, and to offset opportunities for higher salaries offered by employers to science and engineering baccalaureate degree holders.

"The Informal Science Education program, which provides support to museums and science centers, is funded at $70,000,000. This represents the first increase in this program in 3 years.

"The undergraduate `tech talent' expansion program is increased by $20,000,000. The Committee is informed that nearly $70,000,000 was requested by the proposals submitted for the fiscal year 2002 competition in which only $5,000,000 was available. The Committee is also providing an additional $5,000,000 to increase the Advanced Technological Education program. This important NSF program supports undergraduate science education activities at the Nation's community colleges. The Committee strongly encourages NSF to develop a robust and comprehensive plan for undergraduate science and engineering education that builds on the `tech talent' program and other NSF undergraduate activities.

"The Committee is recommending an increase for the HBCU-Research University Science & Technology (THRUST) initiative within the Centers of Research Excellence in Science and Technology (CREST) program of $10,000,000. Eligibility for THRUST should not exclude CREST recipients, but funds provided in fiscal year 2003 should be used to first fully-fund multi-year awards to recipients of THRUST awards in the program's first year.

"The Committee does not agree with the budget request to reduce funding for the Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation program (LSAMP) or the Historically Black Colleges and Universities--Undergraduate Program (HBCU-UP). Both of these programs play important roles in attracting and retaining minorities into science and engineering. In lieu of the reductions proposed by the Administration, the Committee is adding $5,000,000 to LSAMP and $5,000,000 to HBCU-UP.

"The Committee has included $110,000,000 for the Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) in this account in order to allow full implementation of the infrastructure awards as well as continuation of other activities. The Committee's recommendation is $35,000,000 more than the budget request and reverses the Administration's proposed $10,000,000 reduction from the fiscal year 2002 level. These funds are necessary due to the increase in program eligibility. In addition, the Committee notes that at least $30,000,000 will be available for EPSCoR activities from the research programs through their share of co-funding."

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

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