President Obama visited the eighth grade science class at Parkville Middle School and Center for Technology in Baltimore last week before unveiling his fiscal year 2012 budget proposal. Listed below are highlights for key STEM education programs at the Department of Education and National Science Foundation for FY2012.
Department of Education
President Barack Obama, with science teacher Susan Yoder and Education Secretary Arne Duncan, talks with 8th grade science students at Parkville Middle School and Center of Technology in Baltimore, Maryland, February 14, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
The President proposes to eliminate the $180m Department of Education Math and Science Partnerships and instead fund a $206m Effective Teaching and Learning: Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) program, which would provide competitive grants to state education agencies and partners to improve the teaching and learning of STEM subjects, especially in high-need schools. Funds could be used to (1) provide professional development for STEM teachers; (2) implement high-quality curricula, assessments, and instructional materials; and (3) create or improve systems for linking student data on assessments with instructional supports, such as lesson plans and intervention strategies.
Priority for these funds would be given to states “that have adopted and are implementing a set of high-quality K–12 mathematics college- and career-ready standards (and, at the Department’s discretion, additional standards, such as science standards) that are common to a significant number of States.” Priority would also be given to states with a robust statewide partnership or network that brings together a variety of organizations with STEM expertise, such as museums, institutions of higher education, and community-based organizations…”
In addition to ELT: STEM, the President is proposing an investment of $100 million through the Department of Education and the National Science Foundation to support the Administration‘s goal of recruiting and preparing 100,000 effective and highly effective STEM teachers over the next 10 years.
White House Photo, Chuck Kennedy, 2/14/11
A new Teacher Pathways program at the Department of Education would support investments in the preparation of new teachers, particularly STEM teachers. The program would support the creation and expansion of pathways into the teaching profession that increase the number of teachers serving in high need and low performing schools and in high need fields. The Department would reserve $80 million of the proposed $180m for this program and use it for STEM teachers.
The new Teacher Learning for the Future (TLF) program at the National Science Foundation (NSF) will provide R&D awards to further understanding of the preparation and continuing education of STEM teachers. TLF will be housed in the Division of Research on Learning in Formal and Informal Settings (DRL) and co-managed with the Division of Undergraduate Education. According to NSF, TLR “will improve our understanding of what makes a great STEM teacher, and how to best train, support, and retain highly effective STEM teachers.”
The TLF program will coordinate closely with the Department of Education’s $80m Teacher Pathways program to scale programs that recruit the nation’s top undergraduates into STEM teaching. The Administration is seeking $20 million for the Teacher Learning for the Future initiative; funding would be diverted from the Noyce Program ($10m) and the Math and Science Partnership Program ($10m).
STEM is also a high-priority activity in a number of other proposed Department of Education programs, including the Presidential Teaching Fellows (requested FY12 funding $185m) and Investing in Innovation grants (requested FY12 funding $300m) grants.
The Presidential Teaching Fellows program would provide formula grants to States that hold teacher preparation programs accountable for results, expand the field of effective providers, and make career milestones like certification and licensure rigorous and meaningful. The vast majority of funds would finance scholarships up to $10,000 to talented individuals for the costs associated with attending the final year of one of the most effective teacher preparation programs in their State, with a priority for low-income students. Fellows would have to be prepared to teach a high need subject, such as mathematics or science, and commit to teach at least 3 years in a high need school.
The continuation of the Investing in Innovation grant program will promote the development and expansion of innovative practices for which there is evidence of effectiveness. The priorities under consideration include funding for projects that propose to improve early learning outcomes; improve student attainment in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) subjects; and improve productivity by improving student learning or other educational outcomes while significantly increasing efficiency in the use of time, staff, money, or other resources.”
Other key requests for FY2012 Department of Education programs:
- $900 million for the Race to the Top program to create incentives for State and local reforms and innovations designed to lead to significant improvements in student achievement, high school graduation rates, and college enrollment rates, and to significant reductions in achievement gaps.
- $3.25 billion for the new Excellent Instructional Teams programs, which would help States and local educational agencies (LEAs) promote and enhance the education profession and improve teacher and principal effectiveness. Funds would also be used to foster teacher collaboration, to create instructional teams, and to recruit, prepare, support, and retain effective teachers, principals, and other school leaders, especially in high-need LEAs, schools, fields, and subjects. These programs would also help States and LEAs ensure the equitable distribution of qualified and effective teachers and effective principals. The new programs would replace an array of current activities that address teaching and school leadership issues: Improving Teacher Quality State Grants, Teacher Incentive Fund, Advanced Credentialing, Transition to Teaching, Teacher Quality Partnership, Teachers for a Competitive Tomorrow, Teach for America, and School Leadership.
- $63 million for the Fund for the Improvement of Education: Programs of National Significance (FIE), to support nationally significant projects to improve the quality of elementary and secondary education. Of this amount requested, the Department would use $50 million to fund development of innovative educational products through a new Advanced Research Projects Agency–Education (ARPA-ED), which would pursue breakthrough development of educational technology and learning systems, support systems for educators, and education tools to improve student achievement and informal and out-of-school learning for individuals of all ages.
- $372 million for the new Expanding Educational Options program to start or expand high-performing autonomous schools, including charter schools.
For more information on the Dept. of Education budget go to http://www2.ed.gov/about/overview/budget/budget12/index.html
National Science Foundation
Proposed funding for FY2012 programs under the NSF Education & Human Resources would increase 4.4 percent, from $872.76m to $911.20m.
The funding request for FY2012 Division of Research on Learning in Formal and Informal Settings (DRL) was $264.09m, an increase of 1.6 percent. DRL programs are organized in three areas: Knowledge Building, which includes Research and Evaluation on Education in Science & Engineering (REESE, $54.72 for FY12) and Project and Program Evaluation (PPE, $22m for FY12); Lifelong Learning, which includes Informal Science Education (ISE, $68.14 for FY12); and Resources, Models and Tools, which includes the new Teacher Learning for the Future (TLF, $20m for FY12) and Discovery Research K-12 (DR-K12, $99.23m for FY12)
As mentioned earlier, the President is proposing the creation of a new $20m Teacher Learning for the Future (TLF) program at the National Science Foundation (NSF). Teacher Learning for the Future will provide R&D awards to further understanding of the preparation and continuing education of STEM teachers. TLF will be housed in the Division of Research on Learning in Formal and Informal Settings (DRL) and co-managed with the Division of Undergraduate Education. The TLF program will coordinate closely with the Department of Education’s $80m Teacher Pathways program to scale programs that recruit the nation’s top undergraduates into STEM teaching.
Funding for DR-K12 FY12 programs ($99.23 million), represents a 16 percent decrease from current funding. Priorities for the program continue to be creating and studying new generations of cyber-enabled learning materials, providing anywhere and anytime learning resources for teachers and students, advancing assessment of student STEM knowledge and skills, and understanding the issues and requirements for effective scale-up of successful approaches. “With DRL assuming lead responsibility for TLF, the DR-K12 program can be re-focused to emphasize resources, models, and tools for K-12 students. Aspects of DRK-12 that have focused on recruitment and development of teacher learning will be addressed in TLF.”
For FY 2012, the Administration is requesting $48.22m for the Math and Science Partnership program. As noted earlier, $10.0 million from the Math and Science Partnership (MSP) will be reallocated to establish the new TLF program. In FY 2012, MSP will enhance efforts to engage community colleges.
The $45.0 million requested for FY2012 Robert Noyce Scholarship Program (NOYCE) will continue to encourage talented STEM undergraduate and graduate students and professionals to become K-12 mathematics and science teachers through scholarships and stipends. In FY 2012, $10.0 million from NOYCE will be reallocated to establish the new Teacher Learning for the Future program, resulting in few NOYCE awards.
Both the MSPs and the Noyce programs are in the Division of Undergraduate Education division under Teacher Education. In addition to the new TLF program mentioned above for K-12 educators, the NSF is proposing a new $20m DUE program for undergraduate educators, Widening Implementation and Demonstration of Evidence-based Reforms (WIDER).WIDER will bring evidence-based undergraduate STEM education practices and curricular innovations to scale and support research on how to achieve widespread sustainable implementation of undergraduate instructional practices leading to improved student outcomes in STEM at major universities through demonstration models.
Two NSF STEM programs were eliminated in the FY2012 budget: the National STEM Education Distributed Learning (NSDL), which received $16.5 million in FY11, and the Graduate STEM Fellows in K-12 Education (GK-12), which was funded at $49 million in FY11.
For more information on the NSF budget go to http://www.nsf.gov/news/news_summ.jsp?cntn_id=118642