Legislative Update: ESSA, STEM Funding, and More

Every Student Succeeds Act

Looking for funding sources for STEM activities, resources and professional learning this fall? Take a look at this powerpoint on the Every Student Succeeds Act, the new federal education law, which includes key highlights that will be in place later this year and federal funding for STEM initiatives.

Update on FY2018 Appropriations

 “I think it’s likely the kinds of cuts proposed in this budget will not occur, so we really need to fully understand your priorities and why they are your priorities,” said Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies, to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos during opening remarks at the recent Senate hearing on the FY2018 budget submitted by President Trump.

Here is a chart with some on Federal funding for Education, Selected STEM Programs, for both FY2017 and the budget proposed by the Administration. Read more on the budget here.

FY2017 Appropriations

  • ESSA Title I:  $15.9 Billion
  • ESSA Title II Teacher Quality State Grants: $2.055 billion ($2.25 billion in FY16)
  • ESSA Title IV, Part A, Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants: $400 million (new program, ESSA authorizers requested $1.6 billion for this block grant)
  • 21st Century Community Learning Centers: $1.191 billion ($1.166 billion in FY16)
  • Computer Science for All: $0 ($100 million proposed)
  • STEM Master Teacher Corps: $0 ( $10 million proposed)
  • Perkins/CTE: $1.135 billion ($1.125 billion in FY16)

FY2018 Proposed Budget from the Trump Administration

The 2018 Budget submitted by the Administration proposes $59 billion for the Department of Education, a $9 billion or 13 percent reduction. Keep in mind this is a proposed budget only, and Congress is responsible for passing appropriations laws.

  • ESSA Title I:  FY18 $16.9 Billion, added $1 billion in new program designed for voucher programs
  • ESSA Title II:  $0 Eliminated entirely the $2.4  billion Supporting Effective Instruction State Grants program
  • ESSA Title IV Part A:  Student Support and Academic Enrichments (SSAE) $0 requested no funding for FY2018 programs
  • ESSA 21st Century Community Learning Centers: $0  Eliminated entirely the $1.2 billion 21st Century Community Learning Centers afterschool program
  • ESSA STEM Master Teacher Corps: $0
  • Perkins CTE programs: $876 million (includes a new $20 million set aside that would support a competition to promote the development, enhancement, implementation, or expansion of innovative CTE programs in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields.)

ESSA Title IV/A supports activities that will provide students with a well-rounded education. Districts can use these funds for STEM activities such as these:

  • Expand high-quality STEM courses; 
  • Increase access to STEM for underserved and at risk student populations; 
  • Support student participation in STEM nonprofit competitions; 
  • Provide hands-on learning opportunities in STEM; 
  • Integrate other academic subjects, including the arts, into STEM subject programs; 
  • Create or enhance STEM specialty schools – new definition created; 
  • Integrate classroom based and afterschool and informal STEM instruction; and
  • Expand environmental education

Read more about ESSA Title IV here.

ESSA Title II Funds can be used to:

  • train or provide professional development to educators on incorporating technology into effective STEM instruction through personalized learning or blended learning;
  • facilitate collaboration among school, after-school program, and informal program personnel to improve the integration of programming and instruction in STEM subjects;
  • hire STEM coaches to help grantees tailor professional learning to the needs of individual educators;
  • provide differential or incentive pay for educators in high-need subject areas, such as STEM, to serve in high-need schools, or to reward the work of teachers and leaders who have demonstrated effectiveness in improving student outcomes in STEM areas;
  • train educators to teach new STEM concepts and approaches, including those in computer science;
  • provide stipends to attract STEM educators to the profession;
  • recruit qualified individuals with STEM content knowledge from other fields to become teachers;
  • provide professional learning opportunities to educators;
  • support educators as they implement new courses, such as computer science and engineering;
  • support educators to effectively teach students with disabilities in STEM subjects; and
  • support elementary STEM teachers, including preschool educators, to incorporate STEM learning experiences into their classrooms.

Read more about Title II here.

ESSA Title 1 funds can be used to:

  • update existing STEM-related labs and lab materials, or other specialized learning space;
  • support STEM coursework for students;
  • support failing students to meet challenging State academic standards through expanded learning time, before- and after-school programs and summer programs and opportunities; and
  • support field trips to increase access to real-world, hands-on STEM experiences, activities, and applications, including experiences that expand student knowledge of the impact of STEM in the world.

Read more about using federal funds for STEM education in the“Resources for STEM Education” guidance document issued by the U.S. Department of Education to help state education agencies, local education agencies (districts), schools, and their partners better understand how to use Federal funds to support innovative, equity-focused STEM education strategies.

How will your district/state/school use ESSA funds this year?

There are approximately 30 potential uses of federal funds across ESSA that support STEM described in the “Resources for STEM Education” guidance document. To better help us advocate for funding, we want your feedback on these two questions:

  • “What are the barriers, if any, to states or districts in applying for or utilizing federal funds for these purposes?”
  • “Do you anticipate that your state or district will be utilizing this authority?”

You can email your response to jpeterson@nsta.org

Report Outlines Challenges Faced by Rural Schools

And finally, the Rural School and Community Trust new report “Why Rural Matters” highlights the significant challenges faced by these schools, and includes state-by-state data on demographics and poverty, student achievement, state resources, and college and career readiness. According to this group, “Nearly 8.9 million students attend rural schools—more than the enrollments of New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago—and incredibly, the nation’s next 75 largest school districts combined.”

Stay tuned, and watch for more updates in future issues of NSTA Express.

Jodi Peterson is the Assistant Executive Director of Communication, Legislative & Public Affairs for the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) and Chair of the STEM Education Coalition. Reach her via e-mail at jpeterson@nsta.org or via Twitter at @stemedadvocate.

The mission of NSTA is to promote excellence and innovation in science teaching and learning for all.


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