Advocacy for Engineering Education Builds Coast to Coast
October 08, 2011
Recently, Ioannis Miaoulis, Museum of Science president and National Center for Technological Literacy® (NCTL®) founding director, met with Senator John Kerry in Washington, DC, (photo on right), successfully seeking his support for the Engineering Education for Innovation (E2) Act (S.969). Sen. Kerry's support of the bill, introduced by Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Olympia Snowe (R-ME), gives it five Senate cosponsors. The House bill (H.R.1951), introduced by Representative Paul Tonko (D-NY), has 12 cosponsors. This bill will help more states to realize the potential of K-12 engineering. The NCTL is working to incorporate the bill into the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education (ESEA) Act, currently known as the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act.
The new Science Framework that will include significant engineering components makes this bill even more relevant. To encourage your members of Congress to cosponsor this bill, feel free to use the sample letter below.
In July, Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR), a member of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP), held a field hearing in Portland on "Educating Our Children to Succeed in the Global Economy." Oregon Museum of Science & Industry (OMSI) president Nancy Stueber, who is also president of the Association of Science-Technology Centers (ASTC), testified that science museums offer high quality teacher professional development and urged Sen. Merkley to give science museums the opportunity to compete directly for federal programs supporting STEM teachers and students.
"Science centers are ideal places to help educators fully integrate STEM concepts in their classrooms," said Stueber, who outlined several OMSI programs, adding that "the Museum of Science, Boston has developed K-12 engineering curricula and a network of teacher professional development programs to deliver technology and engineering education across the country. This is especially noteworthy, as Oregon recently incorporated engineering into their K-12 science standards, and engineering will have a significant presence in the Next Generation science standards."
On August 26, Merkley announced legislation to increase student access to courses in STEM subjects and provide more resources to recruit, train, and support STEM teachers. Hillsboro High School engineering and technology teacher Don Domes said, "The need for our students to be able to compete in the global economy requires more emphasis on STEM education." Sen. Merkley has discussed the bill with HELP committee chair Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA), and will seek to include it in the committee's rewrite of ESEA.