Federal Education Policy

Senators Introduce Bill to Support Early Childhood STEM Education, STEM Equity

Sen. Jacky Rosen is leading an effort to introduce legislation that would create and expand research in STEM initiatives under the National Science Foundation.

Senators Introduce Bill to Support Early Childhood STEM Education, STEM Equity 

Leadership in the House Science, Space and Technology Committee is putting its support behind a bipartisan Senate effort to boost research in STEM education initiatives for young children under the Building Blocks of STEM Act legislation.  The new bill directs the National Science Foundation to equitably distribute funding for early childhood education in its Discovery Research PreK-12 program.  This program seeks to improve the learning and teaching of STEM in the classroom.

"This bipartisan legislation will help ensure that our children are prepared with the education necessary to succeed in a 21st-century economy while also taking steps to close the gender gap in STEM," said Sen. Jacky Rosen (D-NV). "I will continue to be an advocate for investing in STEM education initiatives so that we are better equipped to address our changing economic and national security needs."

The Building Blocks of STEM Act is sponsored by Rosen and co-sponsored by Senators Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) and Deb Fischer (R-NE).  In the House, Rep. Haley Stevens (D-MI) and Jim Baird (R-IN) are introducing the legislation.

The Discovery Research PreK-12 program is designed to address immediate challenges that are facing STEM education.  The legislation also incorporates Rosen's Code Like a Girl Act, which was introduced during the last legislative session, and directs NSF to award research grants to increase the understanding of the factors that contribute to the participation of young girls in STEM activities. It also directs NSF to develop interventions in PreK and elementary school classrooms to increase the participation of young girls in computer science.

The Building Blocks of STEM legislation is endorsed by Girl Scouts of the USA, Save the Children Action Network, Common Sense Kids Action, American Association of University Women, National Alliance for Partnerships in Equity, National Organization for Women, Stop Sexual Assault in Schools, and Girls, Inc.

More information on the legislation can be found here.

About the Author

Sara Friedman is a reporter/producer for Campus Technology, THE Journal and STEAM Universe covering education policy and a wide range of other public-sector IT topics.

Friedman is a graduate of Ithaca College, where she studied journalism, politics and international communications.

Friedman can be contacted at [email protected] or follow her on Twitter @SaraEFriedman.

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