Congressional Hearing On The Proposed Reorganization Of STEM Education

June 7th, 2013

On Tuesday, June 4th, the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Science, Space, and Technology held a hearing on the proposed reorganization of STEM education put forth by the Obama Administration based on the recommendations from the Committee on STEM Education (CoSTEM) at the National Science and Technology Council. The proposed plan, available here, would reorganize over 200 STEM education programs currently funded by a dozen different federal agencies. Under the new plan, STEM education programs funded by the federal government would be coordinated by three agencies: the Department of Education, which would oversee elementary and secondary education through the development and implementation of teacher training and STEM Innovation Networks in different regions around the country; the National Science Foundation, which would administer undergraduate and graduate education programs; and the Smithsonian, which would be granted $25 million to work with other CoSTEM agencies and manage informal and public engagement activities. The hearing was the first public vetting of the proposed reorganization. The full Committee heard testimony from The Honorable John Holdren, the Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) as well as the co-chairs of the Federal Coordination in STEM Education Task Force (FC-STEM), which assisted in authoring the plan: Dr. Joan Ferrini-Mundy, Assistant Director in the Directorate for Education and Human Resources (EHR) at the National Science Foundation, and Leland Melvin, the Associate Administrator for Education at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). Committee members posed questions about elements of the plan, including the choice of specific programs that were eliminated, consolidated, and/or reorganized. An archived recording of the full hearing as well as copies of each witness’s testimony is available on the Committee website.