May 2017



Congress Passes Short Term Funding Bill for the Remainder of FY17

Museum and STEM education programs survived drastic cuts proposed by the Trump Administration. In fact, the Republican-controlled Congress provided small increases to some programs that were slated for elimination. However, the anticipated FY18 Trump budget proposal will most likely contain similar proposed cuts and eliminations of education programs, such as IMLS, NEA, NEH, NASA education, etc. The NCTL worked closely with ASTC and AAM in advocating for these museum and STEM education programs.

New Education Block Grant Funded at 25% of Authorization for Remainder of FY17

The Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grant (SSAEG), created by Title IV, Part A of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), is a new program that combined several existing programs, including the Math & Science Partnership teacher professional development program, and expanded options and flexibility for states. The grant is authorized at $1.6 billion but only received $400 million in appropriations. The intention is to provide funds to states and every school district via formula to fund three program areas: 1) safe schools and healthy students; 2) a well-rounded education including STEM, computer science and the arts; and 3) the effective use of technology. At $400 million, however, Congress determined that SSAEG will be insufficient to cover every district in a meaningful way. Consequently, they are allowing states to run a new competitive grant for FY17 only. The NCTL is encouraging states to take advantage of this option and encouraging STEM education providers to pursue these funds in partnership with their local school districts. The NCTL serves on the Title IVA Coalition steering committee and is actively lobbying for full funding of this grant program in FY18.

National Science Foundation Budget Efforts FY18 Funding

Senator Markey (D-MA) is taking the lead in the Senate in seeking $8 billion dollars in FY18 for the National Science Foundation. A similar bipartisan request in the House is being led by Representatives G.K. Butterfield (D-NC) and David McKinley (R-WV) and has 164 cosigners. The NCTL supports this funding request for NSF and will work to seek additional congressional support.

Institute of Museum and Library Services FY18 Funding

Representatives Paul Tonko (D-NY) and Leonard Lance (R-NJ) and 166 of their colleagues from both parties sent a letter to House appropriators seeking robust FY18 funding for the Office of Museum Services within the IMLS. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) is now circulating a companion letter to her Senate colleagues on behalf of the IMLS Office of Museum Services. This agency was slated for elimination by the Trump Administration during the FY17 budget negotiations. The Museum of Science has received several grants from IMLS to research and design more accessible exhibits and educational programming which informed the field more broadly. The NCTL is working closely with these members of Congress, ASTC and AAM to insure that does not happen.


STEM Advocacy Resources – Success with STEM Campaign

In order to receive federal funds under ESSA, all states must develop and submit a plan to the US Secretary of Education on their accountability systems and their spending plans. The NCTL and other 100Kin10 partners developed a set of state Success with STEM Advocacy tools to insure that STEM remains a priority in their state plans and otherwise. These are free and you are encouraged to use them as you see fit. There are sample letters to policy makers, social media graphics, state contacts and other resources.

US Department of Education STEM Resources

The USED has issued an extensive resource document that outlines the various funding streams for states and school districts to access federal funds for STEM education. The document references funds available through the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), and the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006 (Perkins). We hope you find these resources helpful to your STEM efforts.


Early Computational Thinking Curricula Project

The Museum of Science, Boston is teaming up with teachers, schools, and Tufts University’s DevTech lab to design test, and improve hands-on curricula that help pre-K and K-3 students develop essential computer science (CS) and programming skills through creative, “unplugged”, cross-disciplinary projects and stories. Units are currently in development for grades K-3 and will entail 6-10 hours of class time.

Each unit focuses on a creative, social, and purposeful design project that is introduced by an interactive story and guided activities. Student “idea books” or structured workbooks enable them to record and share their ideas as they learn.

The CS units are informed by the K-12 CS Frameworks and developing state and national CS standards. All units focus on specific national and state STEM, social studies, and English Language Arts (ELA) standards, (including Common Core Math and ELA, Next Generation Science Standards) to support student achievement in all areas. The first units are being tested this spring, and will be ready for release starting in June 2019.

Wee Engineer

Wee Engineer is a research-based and child-tested engineering curriculum for children aged 3–5. Designed by our award-winning Engineering is Elementary (EiE) curriculum team, each activity builds on a child’s natural curiosity, increases interest and understanding in STEM, and provides hands-on engineering experiences. Units are expected to be released in the summer of 2018.

EiE for Kindergarten (EiE-K)

EiE-K is a research-based and student-tested curriculum for students aged 5 and 6. Each EiE-K unit aligns with NGSS engineering standards, introduces children to the engineering design process, Builds students’ confidence and interest in STEM, and provides opportunities for collaborative work.

Each EiE-K unit will include an instructional teacher guide, an illustrated story book, short, hands-on lessons that build up to a design challenge, and a full materials kit. EIE-K units are also expected to be available in the summer of 2018.

Engineering the Future – High School-level course reaffirmed by Change the Equation

The newly revised Engineering the Future (EtF) high school course, after a diligent review, has been recertified as an “Accomplished” STEM program and will continue to be included in Change the Equation’s STEMworks honor roll database*. STEMworks programs must recertify every four years to ensure they are maintaining the highest standards of quality. “Change the Equation stands by its assessment that Engineering the Future is one of the nation’s most effective STEM education programs.”

Developed by the NCTL at the Museum of Science, Boston, EtF provides students practical real-world connections that demonstrate how science, mathematics, and engineering are part of their everyday world.

* Our elementary classroom and out of school curricula (i.e. Engineering is Elementary, Engineering Adventures, Engineering Everywhere) have also been accepted into the rigorously-reviewed STEMworks database of accomplished STEM programs worthy of adoption and investment.


Museum President Ioannis Miaoulis was honored at the AAAS annual meeting in Boston this past February with the Philip Hauge Abelson Award. The prize was established in 1985 by the AAAS Board of Directors to be awarded to someone who has made signal contributions to the advancement of science in the United States as a scientist or engineer. "As an educator and engineer, I am deeply honored to receive this prestigious award from the AAAS," said Miaoulis. "I am convinced that engineering is key to making science and math relevant to problem-solving for students from all backgrounds and that scientific and technological literacy is critical for both informed decision-making and innovation."

On April 10, the winners of the 2017 Harold W. McGraw, Jr. Prize in Education, one of the most prestigious awards in the field, were announced. The Museum’s Dr. Christine Cunningham, Founder and Director of Engineering is Elementary (EiE) at the Museum of Science, Boston is receiving the U.S. K-12 Education prize for pioneering a curriculum that is transforming education by introducing engineering concepts and practices at the elementary level. The winners will be recognized on May 10th, in Salt Lake City. The Prize, founded in 1988 to honor the retiring former CEO, recognizes outstanding individuals who have dedicated themselves to improving education through new approaches. Winners are recognized in three categories – U.S. K-12 Education, U.S. Higher Education and International Education – and will each receive an award of $50,000 and an iconic McGraw Prize bronze sculpture.

On May 25, 2017, Miaoulis will be inducted into the US News STEM Leadership Hall of Fame at the sixth annual STEM Solutions National Leadership Conference in San Diego, California. The conference theme, “Building America’s Workforce: A Blueprint for Tomorrow,” reflects award-winners selected for their longstanding leadership, guidance, and commitment to improving science, technology, engineering and math education and workforce development. The 2017 members of the U.S. News STEM Leadership Hall of Fame are:
  • Ioannis N. Miaoulis, Ph.D., President and Director, Museum of Science, Boston
  • Ursula Burns, Chairman, Xerox Corporation
  • Susan Hockfield, Ph.D., President, AAAS; President Emerita and Professor of Neuroscience, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Andrew N. Liveris, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, The Dow Chemical Company
  • Ellen Ochoa, Ph.D., Director, NASA Johnson Space Center


Dr. Yvonne M. Spicer, Vice President of Advocacy & Educational Partnerships at the Museum of Science, Boston will serve as speaker at Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology’s (BFIT) 109th annual college commencement on May 13 at 10am at the school’s campus in Boston. BFIT is a private, affordable nonprofit college that combines the practicality of vocational education with the intellectual exploration of liberal arts.

Patti Curtis, Director of the Washington Office for the Museum of Science and the NCTL, will detail the value of out-of-school STEM learning and current policy challenges and opportunities at the Elementary Institute of Science (EIS) in San Diego on May 25. The EIS is a science and engineering education nonprofit that offers after-school and weekend programs for students in 2nd through 8th grade.



- Congress Passes Short Term Funding Bill for the Remainder of FY17
- New Education Block Grant Funded at 25% of Authorization for Remainder of FY17
- National Science Foundation Budget Efforts FY18 Funding
- Institute of Museum and Library Services FY18 Funding

- STEM Advocacy Resources: Success with STEM Campaign
- US Department of Education STEM Resource

- Early Computational Thinking Curricula Project
- Wee Engineer
- EiE for Kindergarten (EiE-K)
- Engineering the Future: High School-level course reaffirmed by Change the Equation

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