Coordinating Science Education
STEM: an inellegant term signifying science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Usually STEM is an adjective describing such nouns as education, initiative, program, coalition, and the like. If it were up to me, I’d drop the TEM and let S be the synonym for the whole lot.
(Luckily, it’s not up to me.)
The U.S. government has over 100 unique STEM education programs, for which it provides over $3 billion in annual funding. All are designed to enhance student competitiveness and promote innovation in the economy, so you might think there would be some coordination and cross communication among these various worthy endeavors. You would be wrong.
Now there is a bill in Congress (HR 6104) designed to promote coordination. Unsurprisingly titled “Enhancing Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Education Act of 2008,” the bill was introduced in both houses last month with bipartisan sponsors.
If passed, the bill would
- Have the Office of Science and Technology Policy do coordination, goal setting, and workforce projections;
- Make the Department of Education responsible for programs that serve underrepresented populations. DOE also lands the job of enhancing STEM teacher quality;
- Create a voluntary state consortium and a repository for best practices and exemplary programs in science education.
The Chemical Heritage Foundation does not engage in lobbying or take positions on pending legislation. If we did, though, HR 6104 is surely one we would back.