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Letter to the Senate on STEM Education Amendment to S. 744

May 15, 2013

Dear Senator: 

On behalf of the more than three million members of the National Education Association, we want to thank you for passing the STEM education and training amendment (Hatch 9) on May 14, offered by Senator Hatch (R-UT), along with Senators Klobuchar (D-MN) and Coons (D-DE), and amended by Senator Schumer (D-NY). 

Our members appreciate the “Gang of 8” including science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) provisions, as part of S. 744, the Comprehensive Immigration Reform (CIR) bill.  NEA believes that if the U.S. is to hold a competitive edge in a rapidly changing global economy, bolstering the nation’s science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) workforce is essential.   

The Hatch amendment strengthens the bill’s important STEM provision in key ways. First, it would double the funds that would be used to “establish a general fund of the Treasury a separate account, which shall be known as ‘STEM Education and Training Account.” Second, the funds from the STEM Ed. account would be use used to enhance the economic competitiveness of the U.S. by strengthening STEM education, including computer science, at all levels, ensuring that schools have access to well-trained and effective STEM teachers, helping colleges and universities produce more graduates in fields needed by American employers. In addition, 70 percent of funds would be proportionately distributed to the states to disseminate directly to school districts ensuring these dollars will have a broader more equitable reach.  NEA believes distributing funds in this way — as opposed to offering competitive grants — is the most equitable way to support and enhance STEM education and training across the country. 

Passage of Hatch 9 helps bolster Congress’s commitment to STEM education and training and provides much needed support to students and teachers in our classroom across the country.  NEA looks forward to continuing to work with the Senate to pass a S. 744, the Comprehensive Immigration Reform (CIR) bill, which includes a commonsense pathway to citizenship, ensures family unity and expanses the DREAM Act. 

Sincerely,  

Mary Kusler
Director, Government Relations