FY 2012 STEM Education Budget Request

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Publication date: 
18 February 2011

There  are over 100 federal science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM)  education programs administered by a dozen different agencies. However, primary  support for STEM education comes through the Department of Education and  National Science Foundation (NSF).

Note  that because Congress has not enacted a full-year FY 2011 appropriations bill,  year-to-year comparisons are more difficult. For the sake of consistency with  the Obama Administration’s budget documents, FYI chooses as its comparator the  FY 2010 enacted level, which is equivalent to an annualized level of the FY  2011 continuing resolution.

Total  Department of Education Discretionary (non-Pell Grant):

    Up  4.3 percent or $2,000 million from $46,800 million to $48,800 million.

In  his opening remarks introducing President Obama’s budget request to Congress  for the Department of Education, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said, “this  is a responsible budget that invests in education reforms that will deliver  results. At a time when other agencies' budgets are being frozen or cut, the  President is proposing a $2 billion increase for education that is focused on  smart, targeted increases to advance reform.

“The  President is making an investment in a cradle-to-career strategy to accelerate  student achievement. His budget will promote reform, reward success, and  support innovation at the state and local level. But the President is making  some tough choices in education and elsewhere.”

The  Secretary went on to say that “[t]he President believes that every classroom  should have a great teacher. The budget includes $975 million in reforms to  recruit, prepare, reward and retain great teachers. It also will create the  Presidential Teaching Fellows to award $10,000 scholarships for the best  students who attend our best colleges of education. We also will support  alternative pathways into teaching and will provide $80 million to help meet  the President's goal of recruiting 100,000 new math and science teachers over  the next 10 years.”

One  of the most important STEM education programs at the Department of Education is  the:

Effective  Teaching and Learning for a Complete Education: Science, Technology,  Engineering, and Mathematics program (formerly Mathematics and Science  Partnerships program):

    Up  14 percent or $25.5 million from $180.5 million to $206.0 million.

The  Department’s Elementary and Secondary Education budget document says that this  program:

“would  provide competitive grants to [state education agencies], alone or in  partnership with other entities, to improve the teaching and learning of STEM  subjects, especially in high-need schools. Funds could be used to (1) provide  professional development for STEM teachers; (2) implement high-quality  curricula, assessments, and instructional materials; and (3) create or improve  systems for linking student data on assessments with instructional supports  such as lesson plans and intervention strategies. The program would support the  identification and scaling-up of innovative methods of teaching science,  technology, engineering, and mathematics.”

Other  important Department of Education STEM programs include:

Teacher  and Leader Pathways program, a new program funded at $250 million. According to  the budget summary, this includes “an $80 million set-aside to help prepare  10,000 new STEM teachers over the next two years.”

Investing  in Innovation (i3) program, a new initiative funded at $300 million, which the  Department’s budget summary says would “develop, evaluate, and scale up  promising and effective models and interventions with the potential to improve  educational outcomes for hundreds of thousands of students. The request  includes priorities for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics  (STEM) education and early learning.”

Advanced  Research Projects Agency – Education (ARPA-ED), a new program funded at $90  million, that, according to the budget summary, “would pursue breakthrough  developments in educational technology and learning systems, support systems  for educators, and tools that improve educational outcomes.” It is modeled on  the successful Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and Advanced  Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E).

The  Department’s full budget  breakdowns can  be found here.

National  Science Foundation (NSF)

NSF  has STEM education programs across several of its directorates. The  Foundation’s total STEM funding can be broken down by education level:

  • K-12  Programs: down 15.1 percent or $41.1 million from $272.4 million to $231.4  million
  • Undergraduate  Programs: up 8.8 percent or $42.3 million from $478.7 million to $521.1 million
  • Graduate  and Professional Programs: up 12.7 percent or $42.8 million from $336.8 million  to $379.6 million
  • Outreach  and Informal Education Programs: up 0.9 percent or $0.7 million from $76.9  million to $77.6 million

The  primary division of NSF responsible for supporting STEM education is the:

Directorate  for Education and Human Resources (EHR)

    Up  4.4 percent or $38.44 million from $872.76 million to $911.2 million.

The  four divisions of EHR Directorate are:

Division  of Research on Learning in Formal and Informal Settings:     Up  1.6 percent or $4.1 million from $260.0 million to $264.1 million.

Division  of Human Resource Development:     Up  15.2 percent or $21.1 million from $138.9 million to $160.0 million.

Division  of Graduate Education:     Up  5.7 percent or $10.3 million from $181.4 million to $191.7 million.

Division  of Undergraduate Education:     Up  1 percent or $3.0 million from $292.4 million to $295.4 million.

There  are several new STEM programs proposed in EHR’s 2012 budget, including:

Widening  Implementation and Demonstration of Evidence-based Reforms (WIDER), funded at  $20 million, which according to the NSF’s budget overview, “aims to widely  transform STEM education for undergraduates by supporting research on how to  achieve widespread sustainable implementation of undergraduate instructional  practices leading to improved student outcomes in STEM at major universities  through demonstration models.”

Teacher  Learning for the Future (TLF), funded at $20 million, which according to the  EHR Directorate’s budget document, “will provide R&D awards to further  understanding of the preparation and continuing   education of STEM teachers, as the structure of formal education  changes, as new technologies are developed, and as new science emerge.” This  program will work closely in conjunction with the Department of Education’s  Teacher and Leader Pathways Program mentioned above.

Transforming  Broadening Participation through STEM (TBPS), a new pilot program funded at $20  million. According to the NSF’s budget overview, “[t]his new program will seek  innovative solutions for broadening participation in STEM at the undergraduate  level in anticipation of tomorrow’s changing demographics, including increased  engagement with Hispanic-serving institutions.”

Also  of note are the elimination, reduction, and consolidation of several programs:

Graduate  STEM Fellows in K-12 Education (GK-12):     NSF  proposes to eliminate GK-12, which was previously funded at $48.86 million,  because, according to the budget overview, “the program has achieved its goal  of providing models for potential adopters; recent evaluation findings suggest  that the effects of this program’s fellowship experience in improving the  trainees’ research skills are mixed and the program design limits the ability  of participants to gain enough in-depth experience in K-12 teaching to impact  pupil learning.” Remaining out-year commitments will still be funded, but no additional  fellowships will be awarded.

Robert  Noyce Scholarship Program (NOYCE):     Down  18.2 percent or $10 million from $55 million to $45 million. NSF proposes to  reallocate the $10 million reduction of the NOYCE teacher education program to  the TFL program mentioned above.

Math  and Science Partnership (MSP):     Down  17.2  percent or $10 million from $58.22  million to $48.22 million. As with NOYCE, NSF proposes to reallocate this  reduction to the TFL program.

The  NSF’s full budget materials can be found here.