Report Critiques NASA's Education Program | Chemical & Engineering News
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Web Date: December 12, 2007

Report Critiques NASA's Education Program

National Research Council review of education at space agency finds deficiencies
Department: Government & Policy, Education

NASA's elementary and secondary science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education program is not realizing its potential as an educational resource, according to a report from the National Research Council. The congressionally mandated review focused mainly on precollege programs operated out of the agency's Office of Education, which splits in half NASA's funding in this area with the Science Mission Directorate.

The report finds that the stability of NASA's education programs is being undermined by shifting priorities, fluctuations in budget, and changes in management structure within the agency. Specifically, it notes that NASA's education funding through the Office of Education declined from $230 million in 2003 to $153 million in 2007 and was negatively affected by a number of congressional earmarks. The report also notes that NRC's ability to reach conclusions on the agency's programs was hampered by the lack of rigorous evaluation data by NASA for individual programs.

To address these shortcomings, the report recommends that NASA develop goals, objectives, and evaluations that are tailored to individual education projects. It also recommends that the agency make better use of information and communication technology.

The full report is available online at

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