The Research Subcommittee of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology reviewed industrial and non-profit philanthropic science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education initiatives in a recent hearing.

Academic-ChalkboardThe Research Subcommittee of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology reviewed industrial and non-profit philanthropic science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education initiatives in a recent March hearing. This hearing focused on the role that industry and non-profit philanthropic organizations play in making STEM careers attractive and accessible to students. Also discussed at the hearing were partnerships between organizations and K-12 schools and how those further STEM education. “Partnerships with education providers, STEM focused companies, and other opportunities have become important pieces of private sector efforts to strengthen the STEM workforce…. Understanding the work these organizations are undertaking in the STEM fields will inform the federal government’s role,” stated a hearing charter prepared by Republican Committee staff.

The subject of this hearing will be one discussed by the full Science Committee as it intends to reauthorize the National Science Foundation as a part of the reauthorization of the COMPETES Act this year. The COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2010 called for an inventory of federal STEM education activities and includes language on K-12 STEM education policy. This report, by the Committee on STEM Education of the National Science and Technology Council, concluded that while the 252 federally-funded STEM activities identified were found not to have the same objectives, target audiences, products, or fields of focus that “this conclusion should not be interpreted to mean there are no opportunities for improving the alignment, deployment, and efficiency of federal STEM education investments.

Subcommittee Chairman Larry Bucshon (R-IN) highlighted that the COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2010 requires the National Science and Technology Council Committee on STEM to develop and implement a 5-year strategic plan. This plan would specify and prioritize objectives and define the role of each of the government agencies which fund STEM programs and activities. In this process of strategic planning, Bucshon stated that he wanted to recognize the importance of private sector and non-profit collaborations in STEM education. He also noted that the Government Accountability Office (GAO) suggested that the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) should work with agencies to produce strategies that ensure efficiency and eliminate duplication and ineffective programs. The GAO also concluded in a 2012 report that there is a need for strategic planning in order to better manage the overlap of federal STEM education programs.

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Source: Aline D. McNaull | FYI: The AIP Bulletin of Science Policy News | March 25, 2013