Senate appropriators have now passed FY 2005 appropriations bills funding
the Math and Science Partnership (MSP) programs in both the Education
Department and NSF. Under these bills, the Partnership program at the
Department of Education would receive a 34.3 percent increase over FY
2004 funding, while the NSF Partnership program would be cut by 21.0
DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION MSP PROGRAM:
Senate appropriators approved their Labor-HHS-Education bill last week.
This bill (S. 2810), would provide $200 million for the Math and Science
Partnership program at the Education Department. This is $51.0 million,
or 34.3 percent, over the FY 2004 level. It is $69.0 million, or 25.7
percent, less than what the Bush Administration proposed for FY 2005,
but the Administration request would have fenced off $120.0 million
of that amount strictly for secondary math improvement, leaving $149.0
million for the broader Partnership program. The Senate bill does not
include this restriction. House appropriators, who recommended $269.0
million for this program, did not include the restriction for secondary
mathematics either. The full House has not yet passed this bill.
A selection from the Senate Appropriations Committee report (S. Rept.
"The Committee recommends $200,000,000 for the mathematics
and science partnerships program. The comparable funding level for
fiscal year 2004 is $149,115,000 and the budget request includes $269,115,000
for this purpose. 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 budget request includes a legislative proposal
to allow the Secretary to use $120,000,000 in appropriated funds to
make competitive awards to projects designed to improve the mathematics
learning of secondary students. The Committee has not provided this
NSF MSP PROGRAM:
Yesterday, the Senate Appropriations Committee also approved a VA/HUD
spending bill (S. 2825). Within NSF, the Math and Science Partnership
program would be funded at $110.0 million. This is $29.2 million, or
21.0 percent, less than FY 2004 funding of $139.2 million. But it is
$30.0 million, or 37.5 percent, greater than the Administration's request,
which proposed taking steps to phase out this program at NSF. The House-passed
VA/HUD bill would provide $82.5 million for this program.
A quotation from the Senate Appropriations Committee report (S. Rept.
"[T]he Committee rejects the administration's request
to transfer the Math and Science Partnership [MSP] program to the
Department of Education. Current activities initiated by MSP are only
beginning to provide measurable results and have yet to be ready for
implementation on a nationwide basis. The MSP program is an important
asset in providing improved math and science education by partnering
local school districts with faculty of colleges and universities.
The Committee recommends that the MSP program be funded at $110,000,000."
There are indications that the FY 2005 Senate VA/HUD appropriations
bill might come to the Senate floor within the next week.
K-12 STEM EDUCATION COALITION LETTER:
In light of the reductions proposed by the Administration to the NSF
MSP program, the K-12 Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics
Education Coalition sent a letter to House and Senate members, urging
them to "continue the federal commitment to science, technology,
engineering and mathematics (STEM) education by adequately funding the
National Science Foundation and providing at least $140 million for
the peer-reviewed Math and Science Partnerships (MSPs), a level commensurate
with FY 2004."
Six AIP Member Societies - the Acoustical Society of America, the American
Association of Physics Teachers, the American Association of Physicists
in Medicine, the American Physical Society, and the Optical Society
of America - were signatories to this letter.
Audrey T. Leath
Media and Government Relations Division
American Institute of Physics