House bill would create office of STEM education

Calling the country “woefully inequipped” to teach students about science and math, Rep. Mike Honda, D-Calif., introduced a bill Sept. 29 that would create an office to oversee federal efforts in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education, reports The Hill. As a former science teacher for more than 30 years, Honda said America is lagging behind other developed nations in technical fields and needs better coordination among stakeholders to improve outcomes. His comments echo those from President Obama on Sept. 27 when he announced the White House will be attempting to recruit and train 10,000 new STEM teachers over the next two years. Honda’s bill would create an Office of STEM in the Department of Education at the assistant-secretary level in charge of coordinating all federal efforts to boost STEM education. It also would establish a voluntary consortium where states can collaborate to develop common standards for STEM in K-12 education. Finally, there will be a repository where educators can research the latest innovations in STEM. Honda said this bill is a precursor to comprehensive legislation he plans to introduce early next year that will provide a blueprint for improving STEM education nationwide. He noted that in 2006, the federal government spent more than $3 billion on 105 STEM programs at 15 different federal agencies without demonstrating any improvement in students’ performance. “Due to a lack of coordination, coherence, and cooperation, these investments result in little return,” Honda said…

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