Research Subcommittee Reviews Industrial and Non-Profit Philanthropic STEM Education Initiatives

April 2, 2013 at 1:13 am 1 comment

This is actually pretty scary.  The goal of these reviews is to “ensure efficiency and eliminate duplication,” especially between federal, private, and philanthropic programs.  Does that mean that FIRST Robotics makes all other research and outreach for robotics in CS education “duplication”?

Subcommittee Chairman Larry Bucshon (R-IN) highlighted that the COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2010 requires the National Science and Technology Council Committee on STEM to develop and implement a 5-year strategic plan.  This plan would specify and prioritize objectives and define the role of each of the government agencies which fund STEM programs and activities.  In this process of strategic planning, Bucshon stated that he wanted to recognize the importance of private sector and non-profit collaborations in STEM education.  He also noted that the Government Accountability Office (GAO) suggested that the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) should work with agencies to produce strategies that ensure efficiency and eliminate duplication and ineffective programs.  The GAO also concluded in a 2012 report that there is a need for strategic planning in order to better manage the overlap of federal STEM education programs.

via Research Subcommittee Reviews Industrial and Non-Profit Philanthropic STEM Education Initiatives.

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Cecily  |  April 2, 2013 at 10:49 am

    Hi Mark,

    One of the interesting things about our line of work is that you never know what the government or other major organizations are going to do. Although I would not favor replacing all things STEM with US FIRST robotics(I think there are some serious flaws with that program, including the cost per student, the degree of adult involvement, the short season, allowing teams to participate in more than one primary, and others), I would favor streamlining the funding process for that program. Right now, funding a team usually involves hunting down 3-8 sponsors to the tune of $5000 each, and several of those sponsors want a 3-5 page proposal. That isn’t much writing for a seasoned professor like you who hopefully teaches 2-3 classes a semester a few times a week, but for a typical high school teacher who teaches 6+ classes daily, that is a lot of proposal writing. A unified application for funding would ideally result in more teams being funded for one primary (and fewer being funded for 2-3), and also take less time for the teachers that often mentor the teams to write proposals. I would favor both of those changes. A more transparent funding system and review of existing programs might also reveal existing gaps in the system. For example, when I was teaching K12, I desperately needed a few things(a color laser printer and a more secure lock on the lab door are two examples that come to mind), but the programs that funded things like that had a 2+ year lag time, and a lot of teachers don’t last in the system that long. Better small(hundreds of dollars) programs the fund more things short term (max lag time of 6 months) would be a huge win for K12.


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