FY 2014 Appropriations: Department of Education STEM Education Programs; STEM Education Programs Restructuring

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Publication date: 
17 January 2014
Number: 
11

The FY 2014 appropriations cycle is coming to a close.  On Monday evening an almost 1,600 page bill was released that was the product of intense negotiations between the House and Senate Appropriations Committees since a budget agreement was announced in December.  This omnibus bill, consisting of twelve separate appropriations bills, was passed by the House on Wednesday by a wide margin, by the Senate last night by a vote of 72-26, and has been sent to President Obama.

Accompanying the omnibus bill is an Explanatory Statement detailing program funding levels and new language about various programs.  The Department of Education’s STEM education programs are funded through the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Bill.  The Senate Appropriations Committee wrote its version of the FY 2014 bill (S. 1284); House appropriators did not.  Senate committee report 113-71 accompanying the bill detailed the appropriators’ recommendations for STEM programs.

The Statement is not in final form as it includes hand-written notations; the section on the Department of Education starts on PDF page 171.  The introduction to this part of the Statement explains: “In implementing this agreement, the Departments and agencies should be guided by the language and instructions set forth in Senate Report 113-71 accompanying the bill, S. 1284, unless specifically addressed in this statement. In cases where the language and instructions in the Senate report specifically address the allocation of funds, each has been reviewed and those that are jointly concurred on have been endorsed in this statement.”

The following program funding levels are taken from the Explanatory Statement.  The Explanatory Statement does not include current FY 2013 funding levels; those shown are from the FYI describing the Senate report referenced above.  Note that the committee report and the Explanatory Statement did not include post-sequestration program funding levels for FY 2013 (generally a 5 percent reduction.)

Under the section entitled School Improvement Programs:

MATHEMATICS AND SCIENCE PARTNERSHIPS:

The FY 2013 budget (not including the mandatory reduction of approximately 5 percent) is $149.4 million
The Administration requested no funding for this program under its reorganization plan
The FY 2014 agreement provides $149.7 million

The Explanatory Statement included no language.

Also:

A line item in a funding table in the Senate report referenced above includes a budget estimate for an Administration request for “STEM Innovation” of $414.7 million in new money.  The Senate bill included no funding for this request.  The Explanatory Statement included no funding for “Effective Teaching and Learning: STEM.”

The Explanatory Statement included no language.

Under the same section entitled Innovation and Improvement:

FUND FOR THE IMPROVEMENT OF EDUCATION (FIE):

The FY 2013 budget (not including the mandatory reduction of approximately 5 percent) is $65.6 million
The Administration requested $46.3 million
The FY 2014 agreement provides $67.4 million

The Explanatory Statement included no language.

 

RESTRUCTURING OF STEM EDUCATION PROGRAMS:

A different part of the Explanatory Statement contains the following language on PDF page 111 regarding the Obama Administration’s initiative to restructure federal agency STEM education programs. It appears in a section on the Office of Science and Technology Policy:

Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education reorganization.  – While the Congress is supportive of attempts to improve efficiency and effectiveness in Federal STEM education programs, the proposed reorganization of these programs contained in the budget request was incomplete and lacked sufficient detail. The proposal contained no clearly defined implementation plan, had no buy-in from the education community and failed to sufficiently recognize or support a number of proven, successful programs. Accordingly, the agreement does not adopt the reorganization; all STEM activities are funded in their existing programmatic structures unless explicitly noted otherwise elsewhere in this statement or through language in either the House or Senate report that is not modified or superseded by this statement.

“OSTP shall reexamine other possible reorganizations of Federal STEM programs for consideration in a future fiscal year after engaging in an inclusive development process (involving the interagency community and major external stakeholders) and taking into consideration evaluations and other evidence of program success.”