Bipartisan negotiations continue between the two education leaders in the Senate. Senators Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Patty Murray (D-WA) have issued a statement that they indeed intend to release their bill to rewrite the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (No Child Left Behind) the week of April 13 (Congress is now off for their two week Easter break). Both are committed to a bipartisan process for the bill, but Senator Alexander has indicated that addressing early childhood programs in the ESEA—a huge priority for the Administration and Senator Murray—will be difficult. At the center of negotiations are the issues of accountability and testing. STEM advocates are continuing to work with offices on both sides to get STEM-specific funding and programs included in this Senate bill.
In the House, Chairman John Kline is working to whip up more Republican support for his ESEA bill, the Student Success Act, after the bill was pulled from the floor following the loss of support from key conservative groups who thought it did not go far enough to erase the federal footprint from K-12 education. On March 24, the Washington Post reported that Kline was still a few votes short to pass the bill.
The bottom line is that STEM is becoming increasingly lost in both House and Senate legislation to reauthorize this federal education law.
Now is the time for educators to contact their members of Congress immediately, and ask them to make STEM education a national priority. At the Legislative Action Center of the STEM Education Coalition website, you can send a letter to your elected representatives, asking them to
- Maintain a strong focus on science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education.
- Continue the focus on math and science as required elements of any state’s accountability system.
- Provide states with dedicated funding to support STEM-related activities and teacher training.
We need your help getting this message heard and to get as much support as possible for science and STEM education. Please take a moment to write to your elected officials, and send this message to your networks.
And finally, the White House Science Fair was last week. In case you missed it, here is a link to get you caught up. During the event, the President announced new corporate pledges made under the Educate to Innovate initiative. Congratulations again to the teams from ExploraVision and eCYBERMISSION who participated in this year’s White House Science Fair!
Stay tuned and look for upcoming issues of NSTA Express for the latest information on developments in Washington, DC.
Jodi Peterson is Assistant Executive Director of Legislative Affairs for the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) and Chair of the STEM Education Coalition. e-mail Jodi at email@example.com; follow her on Twitter at @stemedadvocate.
The mission of NSTA is to promote excellence and innovation in science teaching and learning for all.