FYI: The AIP Bulletin of Science Policy News

AIP Endorses Letter Urging Congress to Consider STEM Education a National Priority

Aline D. McNaull
Number 61 - May 7, 2012  |  Search FYI  |   FYI Archives  |   Subscribe to FYI

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The American Institute of Physics, along with four of its Member Societies, the American Association of Physics Teachers, the American Physical Society, the American Geophysical Union, and the American Astronomical Society endorsed a letter sent by the Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) Education Coalition to Chairman Daniel Inouye (D-HI) and Harold Rogers (R-KY) and Ranking Members Thad Cochran (R-MS) and Norman Dicks (D-WA) of the Senate and House Committees on Appropriations. 

The letter strongly urges that STEM education be considered a national priority in the budgets for the Department of Education, the National Science Foundation, and other federal agencies “engaged in providing resources for educators, students and researchers.”  

The letter advocates for “comprehensive and strategic efforts to coordinate, evaluate, and review all federal STEM programs on a regular basis to ensure that effective programs are scaled up and that underperforming programs are improved or eliminated.”

The Coalition recommends that the appropriations committees strongly support the education research and innovation mission of the National Science Foundation’s Education and Human Resources (EHR) Directorate.  In particular, the letter urges the committees “to encourage continued collaborations between EHR and the Department of Education, broader dissemination of EHR research discoveries amongst the education community, and to ensure that proposed changes to EHR’s informal science programs do not compromise the National Science Foundation’s commitment to supporting innovation in the out-of school space.”

The Coalition letter further states that “we strongly support higher prioritization for funding of STEM-focused programs at the Department of Education.”  Specifically, the letter urges the committees to continue to support the Math and Science Partnerships programs even as “it has been proposed for consolidation within the Administration’s new Effective Teaching and Learning: STEM initiative.”

Another request outlined in the letter is that “as the Committee looks at the overall federal investment in STEM education, we encourage you to support STEM-related efforts at federal mission agencies that are focused on improving student achievement in STEM subjects with positive results and that are focused on encouraging partnerships between public and private sectors education initiatives.”

The letter ends with the message, “empowering US schools to provide our children with the STEM knowledge and problem-solving skills they will need to land the best, most innovative - and highest paying and most secure – jobs of the future is a critical aspect in supporting an American economic recovery.”

Aline D. McNaull
Government Relations Division
American Institute of Physics