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White House to Explain New STEM Strategy to House Committee Next Week

Marcia S. Smith
Posted: 29-May-2013
Updated: 29-May-2013 10:17 AM

The Obama Administration's new STEM education strategy, which would move many NASA education activities to other agencies, will be explained to the House Science, Space and Technology Committee next week.

The White House proposal, included in its FY2014 budget request, to restructure the government's Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education programs is very controversial in the space community.    Under the Obama plan, STEM programs in 13 agencies would be consolidated into three: the National Science Foundation (NSF) for activities aimed at undergraduate and graduate students, the Department of Education for K-12 students, and the Smithsonian Institution for informal and in-situ education.

Many of NASA's STEM and Education and Public Outreach (EPO) activities would be reassigned to one of those agencies.  NASA would retain control of four programs aimed at special groups (MUREP, Space Grant, EPSCoR, and GLOBE), but other programs would be dispersed to the other agencies or NASA offices would have to compete for any funds that remain in NASA's Office of Education.   In NASA's Science Mission Directorate (SMD), 1 percent of each project's cost must be set aside for EPO activities related to that project, but under the new plan, that funding would no longer be under SMD control.   Many in the space science community argue that they would not be willing to volunteer their time to work with students through the EPO efforts if they are managed by the Department of Education, for example, since that department lacks expertise in space science specifically and STEM generally.

The hearing on June 4, 2013 at 2:00 pm ET in 2318 Rayburn features three witnesses to explain the proposal:

  • John Holdren, Director, White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and Science Adviser to the President
  • Joan Ferrini-Mundy, Assistant Director, Directorate for Education and Human Resources, NSF
  • Leland Melvin, Associate Administrator for Education, NASA

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