FY 2008 appropriations legislation for the Department of Education has now passed the full Appropriations Committee in the Senate, and the Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations Subcommittee in the House. Both would provide virtually flat funding for the Education Department Math and Science Partnerships (MSP) program. Although it was originally authorized at $450 million, funding for this program has always fallen below $200 million.
In the House, the subcommittee bill would provide $182.2 million for the MSPs, equal to the FY 2007 funding level and barely higher than the FY 2008 request of $182.1 million.
The Senate Appropriations Committee would provide $184.0 million for the MSPs, an increase of $1.8 million, or 1.0 percent, above FY 2007 funding and also approximately 1.0 percent above the request.
The Senate committee report has the following language on the MSP program: "The Committee recommends $184,000,000 for the mathematics and science partnerships program.... 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." As the House bill is just at the subcommittee stage, report language from the House Appropriations Committee is not yet available.
In other education funding, the House subcommittee would provide $3,187.4 million for State Grants for Improving Teacher Quality, 10.4 percent above the FY 2007 level and 14.3 percent above the request, while Senate appropriators would provide $2,887.4 million, equal to the FY 2007 level and 3.6 percent above the request. Neither the House nor the Senate version of the bill would provide funding for "Math Now" programs for elementary and middle school students, or for an Adjunct Teacher Corps, programs requested by the President in support of his American Competitiveness Initiative (ACI). Another ACI-related program to improve teacher training for, and student participation in, Advanced Placement courses, would receive $42.0 million under the Senate bill and $50.0 million under the House bill, compared to FY 2007 funding of $37.0 million and a request of $122.2 million.
Both House and Senate versions of the Labor-HHS-Education bill have the potential to draw a veto from the President based on their total spending levels. The Senate bill also includes a provision related to embryonic stem cell research that, if retained in the final bill, would also be likely to attract a presidential veto.