Bipartisan rural STEM education bill reintroduced in Senate – MeriTalk
A bipartisan group of senators reintroduces the law on STEM education in rural areas, which would provide federal support for STEM training in rural schools and task the director of the National Science Foundation (NSF) with providing grants to support the training of rural STEM teachers.
The bill was introduced by Sen. Jacky Rosen, D-Nev., And co-sponsored by Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., Maggie Hassan, DN.H., and John Cornyn, R-Tex. The bill would also require the NSF director to establish a task force that would report to Congress with a focus on finding opportunities to improve broadband and understanding research challenges.
“The coronavirus pandemic has underscored the need to address the lack of resources available to our rural communities, especially with regard to technology,” Senator Rosen said in a press release. “I am proud to present this important bipartisan bill that will support research and development activities to better understand how to overcome the challenges rural communities face in delivering quality STEM education programs. I will continue to work on forward-thinking legislation to give our students the education and training they need to be successful in a 21st century economy.
According to a Rural School and Community Trust 2019 Study, 9.3 million students currently attend rural schools. This equates to about one in five children. This bill would help to help these students have better access to enhanced STEM education by asking NSF to also conduct research on the barriers rural students face in STEM education, as well as develop partnerships between rural high schools and community colleges.
“As employment opportunities in STEM fields increase, it is essential that we provide rural schools with the resources to deliver quality STEM education and prepare students for today’s workforce.” , Senator Wicker said in the same statement. “I am happy to join my colleagues in leading this effort and I look forward to seeing our bill move forward.”
The bill would also require NSF and the National Academy of Sciences to assess existing federal programs for rural STEM education and suggest recommendations for improvement. And the Secretary of Commerce should create a competition for innovative ideas on improving rural broadband deployment.