In its FY 2006 Science, State, Commerce and Justice Appropriations
bill, the House voted to cut funding for NSF's Education and Human Resources
programs below FY 2005 levels, although not as deeply as the Administration
requested. In the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations
bill, House appropriators proposed to increase funding for the Education
Department's Math and Science Partnership program above current-year
funding, although not by as much as the Administration asked for. The
bills and accompanying reports can be found at http://thomas.loc.gov/home/approp/app06.html.
NSF EDUCATION AND HUMAN RESOURCES:
The Science, State, Commerce and Justice funding bill (H.R. 2862) was
passed by the full House on June 16. Within the bill, NSF's Education
and Human Resources Directorate would receive $807.0 million. This is
a reduction of 4.1%, or $34.4 million, from FY 2005 funding of $841.4
million. The Administration had requested $737.0 million. The committee
report (H. Rept. 109-118) states, "In light of the challenges facing
the nation in improving math and science educational participation and
achievement, the Committee is disappointed by the reductions proposed
in the budget in this account. The recommendation provides the full
request for Math and Science Partnerships, which will support awards
made in previous years, as well as data collection and evaluation activities."
Mathematics and Science Partnerships: Down 24.4%, or
$19.4 million, from $79.4 million to $60.0 million. This is equal to
the request, and according to Administration budget documents, no new
awards would be made in FY 2006 with this level of funding.
EPSCoR: Up 3.5%, or $3.3 million, from $93.7 million
to $97.0 million. The Administration requested $94.0 million.
Elementary, Secondary and Informal Education: Down 3.9%,
or $7.0 million, from $182.0 million to $175.0 million. The Administration
requested $140.8 million.
Undergraduate Education: Down 2.4%, or $3.7 million,
from $153.7 million to $150.0 million. The Administration requested
Graduate Education: Up 0.2%, or $0.3 million, from $154.7
million to $155.0 million, equal to the Administration's request.
Human Resource Development: Up 1.3%, or $1.5 million,
from $118.5 million to $120.0 million. The Administration requested
Research, Evaluation and Communication: Down 16.0%, or
$9.5 million, from $59.5 million to $50.0 million. The Administration
requested $33.8 million.
The report directs NSF to "submit a proposed spending plan to
the Committee for its consideration within 30 days of enactment of this
Act that addresses the Foundation's highest priority education requirements....
Within the amounts provided for the Elementary, Secondary and Informal
Education, the Committee recognizes the value of engaging the general
public in informal science and technology education at all ages. The
Committee encourages the NSF to continue to ensure geographic diversity
in the institutions that participate in the program. Within the amounts
provided for the Undergraduate Education activity, the Committee encourages
the NSF to allocate funding to the Robert Noyce Scholarship program
and the Advanced Technological Education program. Within the amounts
provided for Human Resource Development, the Committee encourages the
NSF to allocate funding to the Historically Black Colleges and Universities
NATIONAL SCIENCE BOARD COMMISSION ON SCIENCE EDUCATION:
Under the bill's provisions for the National Science Board, the Committee
endorses a commission on science education: "The Committee understands
that the Board has taken steps to establish a commission to make recommendations
for NSF and Federal Government action to achieve measurable improvements
in the Nation's science education at all levels. The Committee strongly
endorses this effort, and expects the Board to provide an interim report
by September 30, 2005, on the establishment of the commission, and to
report the commission's findings and recommendations to the Committee
at the conclusion of the commission's work."
In related news, the American Institute of Physics and several of its
Member Societies signed a May 24 letter by the Science, Technology,
Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Education Coalition to National
Science Board Chairman Warren Washington, asking the Board's support
for NSF education programs and calling for a commission or panel to
address "the state of STEM education programs and research and
identify future needs and priorities." The full text of the letter
will be provided in FYI
DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION MATH AND SCIENCE PARTNERSHIPS:
Also on June 16, the House Appropriations Committee approved its Labor,
HHS, Education spending bill (H.R. 3010).
Math and Science Partnerships: Up 6.4%, or $11.4 million,
from $178.6 million to $190.0 million. The Administration requested
$269.0 million. According to the report (H. Rept. 109-143), "This
program promotes strong math and science teaching skills for elementary
and secondary school teachers. Grantees may use program funds to develop
rigorous math and science curricula, establish distance learning programs,
and recruit math, science and engineering majors into the teaching profession.
They may also provide professional development opportunities. Grants
are made to States by formula based on the number of children aged 5
to 17 who are from families with incomes below the poverty line, and
States then award the funds competitively to partnerships which must
include the State agency, and engineering, math or science department
of an institution of higher education, and a high-need school district.
Other partners may also be involved."
The Improving Teacher Quality State Grants, which may be used to improve
teaching in all fields, were level-funded at the FY 2005 level of $2.9
billion, as requested. The bill does not provide any funding for President
Bush's proposal to expand student testing and accountability to high