FYI: The AIP Bulletin of Science Policy News

FY 2012 STEM Education Budget Request

David A. Kronig
Number 19 - February 18, 2011  |  Search FYI  |   FYI Archives  |   Subscribe to FYI

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There are over 100 federal science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education programs administered by a dozen different agencies. However, primary support for STEM education comes through the Department of Education and National Science Foundation (NSF).

Note that because Congress has not enacted a full-year FY 2011 appropriations bill, year-to-year comparisons are more difficult. For the sake of consistency with the Obama Administration’s budget documents, FYI chooses as its comparator the FY 2010 enacted level, which is equivalent to an annualized level of the FY 2011 continuing resolution.

Total Department of Education Discretionary (non-Pell Grant):

Up 4.3 percent or $2,000 million from $46,800 million to $48,800 million.

In his opening remarks introducing President Obama’s budget request to Congress for the Department of Education, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said, “this is a responsible budget that invests in education reforms that will deliver results. At a time when other agencies' budgets are being frozen or cut, the President is proposing a $2 billion increase for education that is focused on smart, targeted increases to advance reform.

“The President is making an investment in a cradle-to-career strategy to accelerate student achievement. His budget will promote reform, reward success, and support innovation at the state and local level. But the President is making some tough choices in education and elsewhere.”

The Secretary went on to say that “[t]he President believes that every classroom should have a great teacher. The budget includes $975 million in reforms to recruit, prepare, reward and retain great teachers. It also will create the Presidential Teaching Fellows to award $10,000 scholarships for the best students who attend our best colleges of education. We also will support alternative pathways into teaching and will provide $80 million to help meet the President's goal of recruiting 100,000 new math and science teachers over the next 10 years.”

One of the most important STEM education programs at the Department of Education is the:

Effective Teaching and Learning for a Complete Education: Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics program (formerly Mathematics and Science Partnerships program):

Up 14 percent or $25.5 million from $180.5 million to $206.0 million.

The Department’s Elementary and Secondary Education budget document says that this program:

“would provide competitive grants to [state education agencies], alone or in partnership with other entities, 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. The program would support the identification and scaling-up of innovative methods of teaching science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.”

Other important Department of Education STEM programs include:

Teacher and Leader Pathways program, a new program funded at $250 million. According to the budget summary, this includes “an $80 million set-aside to help prepare 10,000 new STEM teachers over the next two years.”

Investing in Innovation (i3) program, a new initiative funded at $300 million, which the Department’s budget summary says would “develop, evaluate, and scale up promising and effective models and interventions with the potential to improve educational outcomes for hundreds of thousands of students. The request includes priorities for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education and early learning.”

Advanced Research Projects Agency – Education (ARPA-ED), a new program funded at $90 million, that, according to the budget summary, “would pursue breakthrough developments in educational technology and learning systems, support systems for educators, and tools that improve educational outcomes.” It is modeled on the successful Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E).

The Department’s full budget  breakdowns can be found here.

National Science Foundation (NSF)

NSF has STEM education programs across several of its directorates. The Foundation’s total STEM funding can be broken down by education level:

  • K-12 Programs: down 15.1 percent or $41.1 million from $272.4 million to $231.4 million
  • Undergraduate Programs: up 8.8 percent or $42.3 million from $478.7 million to $521.1 million
  • Graduate and Professional Programs: up 12.7 percent or $42.8 million from $336.8 million to $379.6 million
  • Outreach and Informal Education Programs: up 0.9 percent or $0.7 million from $76.9 million to $77.6 million

The primary division of NSF responsible for supporting STEM education is the:

Directorate for Education and Human Resources (EHR)

Up 4.4 percent or $38.44 million from $872.76 million to $911.2 million.

The four divisions of EHR Directorate are:

Division of Research on Learning in Formal and Informal Settings:
Up 1.6 percent or $4.1 million from $260.0 million to $264.1 million.

Division of Human Resource Development:
Up 15.2 percent or $21.1 million from $138.9 million to $160.0 million.

Division of Graduate Education:
Up 5.7 percent or $10.3 million from $181.4 million to $191.7 million.

Division of Undergraduate Education:
Up 1 percent or $3.0 million from $292.4 million to $295.4 million.

There are several new STEM programs proposed in EHR’s 2012 budget, including:

Widening Implementation and Demonstration of Evidence-based Reforms (WIDER), funded at $20 million, which according to the NSF’s budget overview, “aims to widely transform STEM education for undergraduates by supporting 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.”

Teacher Learning for the Future (TLF), funded at $20 million, which according to the EHR Directorate’s budget document, “will provide R&D awards to further understanding of the preparation and continuing  education of STEM teachers, as the structure of formal education changes, as new technologies are developed, and as new science emerge.” This program will work closely in conjunction with the Department of Education’s Teacher and Leader Pathways Program mentioned above.

Transforming Broadening Participation through STEM (TBPS), a new pilot program funded at $20 million. According to the NSF’s budget overview, “[t]his new program will seek innovative solutions for broadening participation in STEM at the undergraduate level in anticipation of tomorrow’s changing demographics, including increased engagement with Hispanic-serving institutions.”

Also of note are the elimination, reduction, and consolidation of several programs:

Graduate STEM Fellows in K-12 Education (GK-12):
NSF proposes to eliminate GK-12, which was previously funded at $48.86 million, because, according to the budget overview, “the program has achieved its goal of providing models for potential adopters; recent evaluation findings suggest that the effects of this program’s fellowship experience in improving the trainees’ research skills are mixed and the program design limits the ability of participants to gain enough in-depth experience in K-12 teaching to impact pupil learning.” Remaining out-year commitments will still be funded, but no additional fellowships will be awarded.

Robert Noyce Scholarship Program (NOYCE):
Down 18.2 percent or $10 million from $55 million to $45 million. NSF proposes to reallocate the $10 million reduction of the NOYCE teacher education program to the TFL program mentioned above.

Math and Science Partnership (MSP):
Down 17.2  percent or $10 million from $58.22 million to $48.22 million. As with NOYCE, NSF proposes to reallocate this reduction to the TFL program.

The NSF’s full budget materials can be found here.

David A. Kronig
Government Relations Division
American Institute of Physics