President Obama Embraces STEM
April 13, 2011
In a historic shift, President Obama's FY 2012 budget proposes to eliminate the current $180 million United States Department of Education Math and Science Partnerships and instead fund a $206 million Effective Teaching and Learning: Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) program.
President Obama said recently that "the most common educational background for America's top business leaders isn't economics ... It's engineering. Engineering and math, critical thinking, problem solving" are "the subjects and skills our kids need to achieve success."
The Obama administration should be applauded for embracing STEM education.
The new STEM program would provide competitive grants to state education agencies and partners to improve the teaching and learning of STEM subjects, especially in high-need schools. Funds could be used to (1) provide professional development for STEM teachers; (2) implement high-quality curricula, assessments, and instructional materials; and (3) create or improve systems for linking student data on assessments with instructional supports, such as lesson plans and intervention strategies.
Priority would be given to states that have adopted and are implementing a set of high-quality K-12 mathematics college- and career-ready standards (and, at DOE's discretion, additional standards, such as science standards) that are common to a significant number of states. Priority would also be given to states with a robust statewide partnership or network that brings together a variety of organizations with STEM expertise, such as museums, institutions of higher education, and community-based organizations.
The Museum of Science's National Center for Technological Literacy® has advocated on behalf of the "T" (technology) and "E" (engineering) in STEM since 2004.