NSTA Legislative Update: June 7, 2015

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Earlier this spring the U.S. House of Representatives passed the America COMPETES Act Reauthorization Act of 2015 (HR 1806) by a vote of 217-205, with 23 Republicans joining every Democrat present in voting against the bill.

The bill was strongly opposed by a number of groups—including the Association of American Universities, Computing Research Association, American Geophysical Union and the Consortium of Social Science Associations—who claim the legislation sets false priorities for the science agencies and would limit research.

Read more about the opposition to the America COMPETES Act.

The Administration also strongly opposes the legislation, saying it “would undermine critical investments in science, technology, and research” and “would be damaging to the Administration’s actions to move American competitiveness, innovation, and job growth forward through a world-leading science, technology, and innovation enterprise.”

Read the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2015 (H.R. 1806): Impact on the National Science Foundation.

In regards to STEM education, the bill would seek to coordinate and improve the extensive portfolio of STEM education programs at the different federal agencies by creating a new function at the National Science Foundation. It would also work to coordinate STEM education activities conducted across the government with a new federal STEM Education Advisory Panel.

Read the STEM Education Coalition statement on the bill.

In the Senate, a bipartisan group of seven senators introduced legislation which would reauthorize the energy title of the America COMPETES Act. In contrast to the House bill, according to Politico, the proposed Senate COMPETES legislation “seeks to lay out funding through fiscal 2020 and provide steady increases each year. Meanwhile, the House bill, which also covers broader funding needs at the National Science Foundation and other non-Energy Department programs, would keep funding levels flat across the board and stops at fiscal 2017.”

Update on Elementary and Secondary Education Act

Still no definitive word on when the respective House and Senate bills to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (No Child Left Behind) will move forward in both chambers for final amendments, consideration, and passage. Many believe (hope) the bills will be taken up by both bodies by the end of June.

Stay tuned and look for upcoming issues of NSTA Express for the latest information on developments in Washington, D.C.

Jodi Peterson is Assistant Executive Director of Legislative Affairs for the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) and Chair of the STEM Education Coalition. e-mail Jodi at jpeterson@nsta.org; follow her on Twitter at @stemedadvocate.

The mission of NSTA is to promote excellence and innovation in science teaching and learning for all.

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1 Response to NSTA Legislative Update: June 7, 2015

  1. Dave says:

    The entirety of this Bill is rediculous! It puts a hardship on teachers who continually receive negative feedback from parents as they use it for their children who do nothing to learn! This is a bad law. WHANT PROOF! Look ath the numbers of educated illeterate children that make it through school. We have students in High School that can not read or do simple math. A majority have minimal deduction ability!
    First the government sticks all the current deficits upon these children to pay off and now they continue to descry any ability of the children to get a decent job or complete college. Look at the numbers of the students who are taking prep classes for college. Lots of money for the college which should not be as they needed to learn the material before graduation!

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