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Policy

Science Education: Congress sends White House back to drawing board on proposed reorganization

by Andrea Widener
February 3, 2014 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 92, ISSUE 5

Congress rebukes the White House in the fiscal 2014 omnibus appropriations law for its plan to reorganize the government’s science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education programs.

The omnibus law outright rejects the reorganization as presented in the Administration’s 2014 budget proposal. That plan would have affected 14 agencies by eliminating 78 STEM education programs and subsuming another 48 into existing efforts. It would also have made major changes to which agencies oversee federal STEM education.

“The proposed reorganization … was incomplete and lacked sufficient detail,” the omnibus legislation states. “The proposal contained no clearly defined implementation plan, had no buy-in from the education community and failed to sufficiently recognize or support a number of proven, successful programs.”

In the law, Congress orders the White House Office of Science & Technology Policy to consider other possible reorganization schemes “after engaging in an inclusive development process and taking into consideration evaluations and other evidence of program success.”

This reflects the concerns of many in the science education community, which believes it wasn’t consulted about changes that would have had a long-term impact on science education policy nationwide.

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