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What the FY19 budget request does, and doesn’t do, for STEM learning

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What the FY19 budget request does, and doesn’t do, for STEM learning

On February 12, the White House released its FY19 budget request. As expected, it reiterated much of the FY18 request, including deep cuts to and elimination of many discretionary programs. This year’s request was made more confusing due to the congressional budget deal reached just days before the WH FY19 budget request. Because that budget deal included a significant increase to both defense and non-defense budget caps, the administration released a budget addendum, which added back funds to many programs slated for reductions or eliminations before the deal was reached. While this addendum seems to benefit some science sectors, science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education is still a casualty of the FY19 budget request.

Money talks. Here's what it says.

Not only is the sole dedicated federal funding stream for afterschool and summer learning proposed for elimination: the president’s request once again eliminates funding for grant programs in the Every Student Succeeds Act’s Title IV-A (Student Support and Academic Enrichment) and Title II (Preparing, Training, and Recruiting High-Quality Teachers, Principals, or Other School Leaders).

Together, these eliminations continue an assault on teaching and the development of well-rounded students. These cuts are particularly harmful to STEM learning, as these funds are often used to recruit and train educators in high-need fields and provide students experiential learning opportunities critical for active STEM engagement. How can we expect to effectively improve STEM and computer science education, which are stated administration priorities, while eliminating investments in teacher training and related support programs?

Those who have been following the administration’s stated priorities around STEM and computer science education may be wondering how the proposed budget will make good on the $200M in dedicated STEM and CS education funding promised in a 2017 Presidential Memorandum. The administration seeks to meet this commitment in two ways. First, they propose increasing the allocation to the Education Innovation and Research (EIR) program at the Department of Education to $180M, up from roughly $95M in FY17. Currently, this program awards competitive grants for innovation in all areas of education, including literacy and teacher professional development, and is not dedicated exclusively to STEM education innovation. Second, they intend to add a $20M competitive grant program for STEM-focused career and technical education programs.

Both of these requests would require congressional support, which appears especially unlikely with respect to the near doubling of the EIR budget. Furthermore, that program would need to shift to a completely STEM-focused effort if it is to satisfy the $200M STEM funding promise. This will surely draw the ire of the non-STEM education community, who would see cuts to their work in the many other Department of Education programs slated for elimination. Meanwhile, none of the requests fully elucidate how STEM education funds will be spent specifically on computer science learning, leaving many to wonder how computer science education will be prioritized and to what degree.

While the budget addendum adds back $300M to NASA’s budget, it wasn’t enough to save the NASA Office of Education from proposed elimination. If this office is closed, all the education programs run through it will end, including longstanding efforts such as the Minority University Research and Education Project (MUREP), which has been giving predominately underrepresented students in STEM disciplines across the K-20 continuum access to internships, scholarships, fellowships, mentoring, and tutoring in K-12, informal, and higher education settings. Eliminating NASA’s Office of Education would also eliminate funding for informal and afterschool programs at science centers and through interagency afterschool program partnerships.

The addendum restored what would have been a $2.2B, or roughly 30 percent, cut to NSF’s overall budget; this was critically important to the Education and Human Resources Directorate,  which would be level-funded if Congress agrees to the administration’s request. While level funding may seem positive, it is not enough to make up for the education-related eliminations and reductions at other scientific agencies.

The president’s budget also eliminates funding for the Corporation for Community and National Service (CNCS), which runs the AmeriCorps VISTA program, including STEM AmeriCorps. Hundreds of VISTAs across the country currently support afterschool STEM programs. Without CNCS, this vital support will vanish.

Don't cut what works!

Despite claims to the contrary, a great deal of widely available research illustrates the impact of afterschool programs and substantial evidence documents STEM-specific outcomes. A recent multi-state study by the Harvard PEAR Institute found that afterschool STEM programs are helping to close America’s skills gap. STEM Ready America, a recently-released compendium of articles from 40 experts, presents compelling evidence of the impact of afterschool STEM.

The Afterschool Alliance has long tracked outcomes and best practices in afterschool STEM programming and worked to elevate the impacts of afterschool STEM. Our Afterschool Impacts Database offers a searchable, user-friendly collection of impacts data and our STEM program profiles share examples of innovative afterschool STEM programs.

Find tools for learning and sharing the values of afterschool STEM on the Afterschool STEM Hub website.

What can the field do?

The administration’s budget request is only a suggestion and ultimately Congress controls the purse strings. Take action now by contacting your representatives to voice your support for 21st Century Community Learning Centers and express your opposition to these devastating cuts to STEM education.

February resources from Million Girls Moonshot

Welcome to the February installment of STEM resources from the Million Girls Moonshot. This month, Million Girls Moonshot resources are focused on diverse role models and mentors as a strategy to strengthen equity and inclusion in STEM programs. You’ll find podcasts, toolkits, and activity...

BY: Chris Neitzey      02/22/21

What does a new president and Congress mean for afterschool STEM?

President Joe Biden was sworn into office on January 20, marking the beginning of a four-year term with the pandemic still front and center in the eyes of policymakers and the general public. The first steps for President Biden and Congress have been aimed at getting a handle on the pandemic, which...

BY: Chris Neitzey      02/16/21

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Every month we’ll be publishing a list of resources and activities for afterschool programs to better engage students in STEM. These monthly posts are developed with resources shared from our partners at the Million Girls Moonshot. If you are interested in becoming involved in the Million...

BY: Chris Neitzey      12/17/20

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BY: Guest Blogger      12/10/20

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By Gemma Lenowitz, associate program officer for Inspired Minds at the Overdeck Family Foundation. This article was originally published on the Overdeck Family Foundation's website on November 30, 2020. It is reposted here with the author's permission. Erica Fessia is vice president of...

BY: Guest Blogger      12/01/20

How STEM learning is adapting in COVID-19

This blog post comes to us Rachael Van Schoik, Science Action Club Manager at the California Academy of Sciences. Over the coming months we’ll be highlighting how STEM programs have adapted during the COVID-19 pandemic to continue serving students with STEM activities, and what lessons we can...

BY: Guest Blogger      10/26/20

Launch of Million Girls Moonshot boosts STEM learning for girls across the country

After a long-anticipated countdown, the Million Girls Moonshot officially launched on September 16. Established by the STEM Next Opportunity Fund in partnership with the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, Intel Foundation, and Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, the effort will engage one million...

BY: Chris Neitzey      09/18/20

Free STEM learning opportunity: Facebook's Engineer for the Week!

We are excited to invite you to join Engineer for the Week's Fall 2020 Sprint! It runs from October 5 to December 4, 2020. Are you an afterschool practitioner looking for high-quality, cost-free curriculum to help your students develop computer science skills and explore engineering? Do...

BY: Leah Silverberg      09/14/20

New Education Innovation and Research competition prioritizes STEM and computer science in latest call for proposals

On July 29, The United States Department of Education released the call for proposals for the FY2020 round of early and mid-phase EIR grants. The EIR competition provides funding to “create, develop, implement, replicate, or take to scale entrepreneurial, evidence-based, field-initiated...

BY: Chris Neitzey      08/11/20

New report shows severe loss of capacity for outdoor and environmental science education

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, leaders have stressed the opportunity for families to get outside and learn more about their natural surroundings. The opportunities to observe migratory patterns of birds, grow fruits and vegetables at home or in community gardens, and simply learn more about the...

BY: Chris Neitzey      06/12/20

February resources from Million Girls Moonshot

Welcome to the February installment of STEM resources from the Million Girls Moonshot. This month, Million Girls Moonshot resources are focused on diverse role models and mentors as a strategy to strengthen equity and inclusion in STEM programs. You’ll find podcasts, toolkits, and activity...

BY: Chris Neitzey      02/22/21

STEM resources to support engineering mindsets from Million Girls Moonshot

Every month we’ll be publishing a list of resources and activities for afterschool programs to better engage students in STEM. These monthly posts are developed with resources shared from our partners at the Million Girls Moonshot. If you are interested in becoming involved in the Million...

BY: Chris Neitzey      12/17/20

Out-of-school STEM during a pandemic: An interview with leaders from FIRST, Learn Fresh, and Girlstart

By Gemma Lenowitz, associate program officer for Inspired Minds at the Overdeck Family Foundation. This article was originally published on the Overdeck Family Foundation's website on November 30, 2020. It is reposted here with the author's permission. Erica Fessia is vice president of...

BY: Guest Blogger      12/01/20

Launch of Million Girls Moonshot boosts STEM learning for girls across the country

After a long-anticipated countdown, the Million Girls Moonshot officially launched on September 16. Established by the STEM Next Opportunity Fund in partnership with the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, Intel Foundation, and Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, the effort will engage one million...

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By Meeta Sharma-Holt, vice president of programs and strategic partnerships at Techbridge Girls. This is the fourth in a four-blog series: read the previous blog, Structuring for scale-up success: Organizational structure for sustainability & scales, or head to the first...

BY: Guest Blogger      01/16/20

Structuring for scale-up success: Organizational structure for sustainability & scale

By Meeta Sharma-Holt, vice president of programs and strategic partnerships at Techbridge Girls. This is the third in a four-blog series: read the first blog, Structuring for scale-up success: Techbridge Girls shares lessons from its 5-year scale-up of STEM programs, and the second blog,...

BY: Guest Blogger      01/09/20

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By Meeta Sharma-Holt, vice president of programs and strategic partnerships at Techbridge Girls. This is the second in a four-blog series: read the first blog, Structuring for scale-up success: Techbridge Girls shares lessons from its 5-year scale-up of STEM programs. During the last...

BY: Guest Blogger      12/12/19

Structuring for scale-up success: Techbridge Girls shares lessons from its 5-year scale-up of STEM programs

By Meeta Sharma-Holt, vice president of programs and strategic partnerships at Techbridge Girls. This is the first in a four-blog series: read the second blog, Structuring for scale-up success: Partnerships first. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that STEM jobs are...

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BY: Leah Silverberg      03/26/19

February resources from Million Girls Moonshot

Welcome to the February installment of STEM resources from the Million Girls Moonshot. This month, Million Girls Moonshot resources are focused on diverse role models and mentors as a strategy to strengthen equity and inclusion in STEM programs. You’ll find podcasts, toolkits, and activity...

BY: Chris Neitzey      02/22/21

STEM resources to support engineering mindsets from Million Girls Moonshot

Every month we’ll be publishing a list of resources and activities for afterschool programs to better engage students in STEM. These monthly posts are developed with resources shared from our partners at the Million Girls Moonshot. If you are interested in becoming involved in the Million...

BY: Chris Neitzey      12/17/20

Out-of-school STEM during a pandemic: An interview with leaders from FIRST, Learn Fresh, and Girlstart

By Gemma Lenowitz, associate program officer for Inspired Minds at the Overdeck Family Foundation. This article was originally published on the Overdeck Family Foundation's website on November 30, 2020. It is reposted here with the author's permission. Erica Fessia is vice president of...

BY: Guest Blogger      12/01/20

Launch of Million Girls Moonshot boosts STEM learning for girls across the country

After a long-anticipated countdown, the Million Girls Moonshot officially launched on September 16. Established by the STEM Next Opportunity Fund in partnership with the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, Intel Foundation, and Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, the effort will engage one million...

BY: Chris Neitzey      09/18/20

Free STEM learning opportunity: Facebook's Engineer for the Week!

We are excited to invite you to join Engineer for the Week's Fall 2020 Sprint! It runs from October 5 to December 4, 2020. Are you an afterschool practitioner looking for high-quality, cost-free curriculum to help your students develop computer science skills and explore engineering? Do...

BY: Leah Silverberg      09/14/20

Structuring for scale-up success: Adaptive program model

By Meeta Sharma-Holt, vice president of programs and strategic partnerships at Techbridge Girls. This is the fourth in a four-blog series: read the previous blog, Structuring for scale-up success: Organizational structure for sustainability & scales, or head to the first...

BY: Guest Blogger      01/16/20

What does a new president and Congress mean for afterschool STEM?

President Joe Biden was sworn into office on January 20, marking the beginning of a four-year term with the pandemic still front and center in the eyes of policymakers and the general public. The first steps for President Biden and Congress have been aimed at getting a handle on the pandemic, which...

BY: Chris Neitzey      02/16/21

STEM resources to support engineering mindsets from Million Girls Moonshot

Every month we’ll be publishing a list of resources and activities for afterschool programs to better engage students in STEM. These monthly posts are developed with resources shared from our partners at the Million Girls Moonshot. If you are interested in becoming involved in the Million...

BY: Chris Neitzey      12/17/20

From the STEM field: An innovative model to deliver STEM learning to under-served youth during the COVID-19 era

By Stephen White, Vice President of External Affairs, Strategic Initiatives, and Business Development and Allie Greiwe, Director of External Affairs at the Center of Science and Industry (COSI) in Columbus, OH. This blog is a continuation of our series of case studies examining how informal STEM...

BY: Guest Blogger      12/10/20

How STEM learning is adapting in COVID-19

This blog post comes to us Rachael Van Schoik, Science Action Club Manager at the California Academy of Sciences. Over the coming months we’ll be highlighting how STEM programs have adapted during the COVID-19 pandemic to continue serving students with STEM activities, and what lessons we can...

BY: Guest Blogger      10/26/20

New report shows severe loss of capacity for outdoor and environmental science education

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BY: Chris Neitzey      06/12/20

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BY: Chris Neitzey      03/19/20