Science educators, teacher leaders, and others in the STEM education community are encouraged to join thousands of K-12 educators, counselors, technology specialists, and librarians on October 26 for the national “Day of Action” to urge Congress to fully fund the flexible block grant (Student Support and Academic Enrichment Title IV, Part A) recently authorized in the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).
The Student Support and Academic Enrichment (SSAE) block grant is designed to ensure that high needs districts have access to programs that foster safe and healthy students, provide students with a well-rounded education, and increase the effective use of technology in our nation’s schools.
Districts can choose to spend their Title IV/A dollars to improve instruction and student engagement in STEM by:
- Expanding high-quality STEM courses;
- Increasing access to STEM for underserved and at risk student populations;
- Supporting the participation of students in STEM nonprofit competitions (such as robotics, science research, invention, mathematics, computer science, and technology competitions);
- Providing hands-on learning opportunities in STEM;
- Integrating other academic subjects, including the arts, into STEM subject programs;
- Creating or enhancing STEM specialty schools;
- Integrating classroom based and afterschool and informal STEM instruction; and
- Expanding environmental education.
Advocates are trying to drive the highest possible funding level for the program, and are asking their members to call on lawmakers to fully fund this program.
Send a pre-written letter to your Member of Congress via the STEM Education Coalition Congressional Action Center
Call or email the Member’s office and ask to speak to the legislative assistant who handles appropriations issues. Call the Capitol Hill switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and ask to be connected to your member of Congress. If the legislative assistant is not in, you can leave a voicemail with your request. A sample script can be found here.
Send a tweet to your members of Congress.
Read the press release on the Title IV/A National Day of Action here.
It is important we get as many teachers as possible to contact their member of Congress. This is the first year for this grant program so it is critical that Congress appropriates a robust level of funding. Questions? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
ED Releases Guidance on Title IVA Programs
The U.S. Department of Education has released its guidance document on Title IV,A Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grant (mentioned above). The guidance provides key information on the provisions of the new SSAE program including a discussion of the allowable uses of funds, role of the SEA, fiscal responsibilities, and the local application requirements. Read more here.
Sign the STEM Education Coalition letter to State Stakeholders on ESSA Implementation
The STEM Education Coalition is circulating a letter among the STEM education community asking stakeholders and interested organizations to join onto a sign-on letter that calls for state and local policymakers to prioritize STEM as they put together plans to implement the Every Student Succeeds Act. View the letter here; if your organization would like to sign on, please contact Lindsey Gardner of the Coalition at email@example.com with your organization’s name and contact info. The deadline to sign on is Friday, November 4.
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 Peterson at firstname.lastname@example.org; follow her on Twitter at @stemedadvocate.