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

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Publication date: 
7 May 2012

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.”