STEM Funding Streams Expanded in NCLB Rewrite

By Liana Loewus — December 03, 2015 3 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

The Every Student Succeeds Act, which could soon replace the 14-year-old No Child Left Behind law, gives states and districts more opportunities to use federal funds for science, technology, engineering, and math education, advocates say, and is ultimately a huge boon for the subjects.

“This bill is a vital and important step in addressing some of the serious challenges facing science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education today in the U.S.,” David Evans, the executive director of the National Science Teachers Association, says in a statement. The STEM Education Coalition, a group of businesses and professional organizations, such as Microsoft and the American Chemical Society, that advocate for STEM, is also pleased with the bill.

The ESSA bill passed the House Dec. 2 and is likely to sail through the Senate as well in the coming days. (Alyson Klein has all the nuts and bolts over at the Politics K-12 blog.)

While the bill does not reauthorize the Math Science Partnerships grant program, it does more than make up for the loss, advocates said.

Here are some STEM education highlights from the bill:

  • ESSA maintains the current requirement around science and math testing. Students would have to take math tests annually in grades 3 through 8 and once in high school, and science tests three times between grades 3 and 12. “That’s a huge victory because you could have easily seen science testing disappear,” James Brown, the executive director of the STEM Education Coalition, said in an interview.
  • It establishes dedicated federal funding for either a state-led STEM master-teacher corps or STEM professional development. President Obama has been pushing the creation of a STEM master-teacher corps for some time, and Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., has been a major champion of it. The bill allows the education secretary to use Title II funds to establish a competitive grant program for states to create such a corps. The goal would be “to elevate the status of the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics teaching profession by recognizing, rewarding, attracting, and retaining outstanding science, technology, engineering, and mathematics teachers, particularly in high-need and rural schools.” The secretary could also use that funding for bolstering STEM professional development.
  • It helps states integrate engineering concepts into state science assessments. This is interesting because a third of states have now adopted the Next Generation Science Standards, which emphasize engineering practices, and even those that have not are moving toward including more engineering in their science instruction. As of now, there are no standardized tests aligned to the new standards. The bill would let states use federal funding to refine science assessments to “integrate engineering design skills and practices.”
  • It allows both Title II and IV funding to be used for improving STEM instruction.
  • It supports alternative certification for STEM teachers, as well as differential pay. States can use federal funds to “establish, expand, or improve alternative routes for” STEM teachers. They can also use federal funds for paying teachers more for high-needs subjects, including STEM.

STEM advocates opposed some early versions of the bill that abolished the Math and Science Partnerships, which put about $150 million toward collaborations between higher education institutions and high-need school districts.

But Brown of the STEM Education Coalition said the Every Student Succeeds Act offers many more possible funding streams for STEM than the previous law—even without the partnership grants.

“The Math and Science Partnerships had perhaps 100 grantees every year,” he said. “Now [if ESSA passes] there will be literally thousands of districts spending federal funds on STEM education activities.”

Related Stories

For more news and information on reading, math, and STEM instruction:

And sign up here to get alerts in your email inbox when stories are published on Curriculum Matters.

Related Tags:

A version of this news article first appeared in the Curriculum Matters blog.

Commenting has been disabled on effective Sept. 8. Please visit our FAQ section for more details. To get in touch with us visit our contact page, follow us on social media, or submit a Letter to the Editor.


This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Teaching Webinar
What’s Next for Teaching and Learning? Key Trends for the New School Year
The past 18 months changed the face of education forever, leaving teachers, students, and families to adapt to unprecedented challenges in teaching and learning. As we enter the third school year affected by the pandemic—and
Content provided by Instructure
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Curriculum Webinar
How Data and Digital Curriculum Can Drive Personalized Instruction
As we return from an abnormal year, it’s an educator’s top priority to make sure the lessons learned under adversity positively impact students during the new school year. Digital curriculum has emerged from the pandemic
Content provided by Kiddom
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Equity & Diversity Webinar
Leadership for Racial Equity in Schools and Beyond
While the COVID-19 pandemic continues to reveal systemic racial disparities in educational opportunity, there are revelations to which we can and must respond. Through conscientious efforts, using an intentional focus on race, school leaders can
Content provided by Corwin

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

States Bill to Restrict How Race and Racism Is Taught in Schools Headed to Texas Governor
If the "critical race theory" bill sounds familiar, that's because lawmakers passed a similar one during the regular legislative session.
Eleanor Dearman, Fort Worth Star-Telegram
4 min read
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott speaks at a news conference in Austin, Texas, on June 8, 2021.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott speaks at a news conference in Austin, Texas, on June 8, 2021.
Eric Gay/AP
States Infographic Which States Are Reporting COVID-19 Cases in Schools?
Some states are reporting the number of COVID-19 cases in their schools and districts. Use this table to find your state's data.
Image shows the coronavirus along with data charts and numbers.
iStock/Getty Images Plus
States From Our Research Center Map: A-F Grades, Rankings for States on School Quality
Here’s a map showing grades for all the states on this year’s Quality Counts summative report card, on which the nation gets a C overall.
EdWeek Research Center
1 min read
Illustration of students reading with pie chart.
States Nation Gets a 'C' on Latest School Quality Report Card, While N.J. Again Boasts Top Grade
A slight increase in this year's Quality Counts score isn't enough to boost the nation's school system above last year's middling grade.
8 min read
Illustration of students reading with pie chart.