Congress must reinstate federal STEM spending

Published 7:00 am Thursday, October 29, 2015

Congress is currently updating the federal education law, No Child Left Behind. Love it or hate it, the US has had some form of federal education funding in place for decades and it is clear our local schools depend on extra federal dollars. The law isn’t going away, the only question is, how will it change?
According to National Public Radio, the No Child Left Behind bill that Congress passed eliminates a large source of federal science funding.
If this bill gets to the president’s desk and if he signs it, federal STEM education funding would be gutted.
This is misguided. The federal government has been funding science education in local school districts since the late 50s because of the Soviet space race—even then it was clear knowledge in math and science is necessary for national security. Nothing about this has changed in the intervening years. The only thing that has changed is we are no longer competing against just one country for scientific superiority—we are now competing against numerous countries and terrorists. Also, we compete not just against enemies but against our allies to retain our standing as one of the most scientifically advanced countries on Earth. We must be able to attract businesses to our shores and factories to our state and to do these things we need an educated workforce.
The Senate’s version of No Child Left Behind does not eliminate science funding, so there is a chance during the reconciliation process for the funding to be restored. We urge our Congressional representatives to vote for a version of the bill that reinstates science funding and we hope our readers will take a minute to call their representatives to let them know how important it is to our community and our country that we remain a leader in science and math education.

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