FY 2016 Senate Appropriations Bill: Department of Education STEM Programs

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Publication date: 
7 August 2015
Number: 
107

House and Senate appropriators took different approaches in their versions of the FY 2016 Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Bill regarding the Mathematics and Science Partnership Programs.

House and Senate appropriators took different approaches in their versions of the FY 2016 Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Bill regarding the Mathematics and Science Partnership Programs.   House appropriators provided no funding for this program, in contrast to the Senate bill.  This and other differences will be resolved when Congress returns from its summer recess.

Mathematics and Science Partnerships:

The FY 2015 appropriation was $152.7 million
The FY 2016 request is $202.7 million, an increase of $50.0 million or 32.7 percent

House appropriators provided no funding, stating:

“The [House] Committee recommends no funding for Mathematics and Science Partnerships, which is $152,717,000 below the fiscal year 2015 enacted level and $202,717,000 below the budget request.  This program provides professional development for math and science teachers; these activities can be carried out under other authorities funded in this bill and through other federal agencies such as the National Science Foundation.”

In contrast, as explained in Senate Committee Report 114-74 on page 163:

“The [Senate] Committee recommends $141,299,000 for the Mathematics and Science Partnerships program.

“At the recommended funding level, the ESEA requires the Department to award grants by formula to States for competitive awards to eligible partnerships, which must include an engineering, math, or science department of an institution of higher education and a high-need LEA [Local Education Agency]. Partnerships will seek to improve the performance of students in the areas of math and science, including engineering, 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.

“The Committee notes that investments in non-traditional STEM teaching activities, including robotics competitions, are a means to engage and inspire students to pursue further study or careers in STEM education.”

Under the Senate bill, funding for this program would decline $11.4 million or 7.5 percent from the current year.

The report also includes language on the following program on page 186:

Minority Science and Engineering Improvement:

“The Committee recommends $8,971,000 for the Minority Science and Engineering Improvement program. Funds are used to provide discretionary grants to institutions with minority enrollments greater than 50 percent to purchase equipment, develop curricula, and support advanced faculty training. Grants are intended to improve science and engineering education programs and increase the number of minority students in the fields of science, mathematics, and engineering.”

The FY 2015 appropriation was $9.0 million.   The FY 2016 request is $9.0 million which the House bill provided.