Washington, D.C. – The House of Representatives today approved the bipartisan STEM Education Act of 2015 (H.R. 1020), introduced by Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) and Rep. Elizabeth Esty (D-Conn.). The bill strengthens ongoing science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education efforts at our federal science agencies and ensures computer science is included in these efforts. The bill passed with broad bipartisan support by a vote of 412-8.

Chairman Lamar Smith: “We need to ensure that our nation’s youth have the scientific and mathematical skills to strive and thrive in a technology-based economy. But we have to capture and hold the desire of young adults to study STEM subjects so they will want to pursue these careers. A healthy and viable STEM workforce, literate in all STEM subjects, including computer science, is critical to American industries. A well-educated and trained STEM workforce ensures our future economic prosperity.”

Innovation cannot take place without advances in technology. Unfortunately, America lags behind many other nations when it comes to STEM education. American students rank 21st in science and 26th in math among the top 34 developed countries of the world.

Rep. Elizabeth Esty: “Our country is built on the innovation and entrepreneurship of all Americans. We must support educational and economic foundations that encourage this innovation, and today’s bipartisan passage of our STEM Education Act brings us one step closer to that goal.  I hear from manufacturers, high-tech companies, and small businesses across all sectors that struggle to find workers with the necessary technical and critical problem-solving skills to fill jobs in demand. Strong support for STEM education in K-12 education will help prepare our children for good-paying jobs in high-demand fields like manufacturing, health and biomedical industries, energy, and information technology. I’m grateful to join my colleague and friend Chairman Smith in these efforts, and I look forward to working towards consideration of the STEM Education Act in the U.S. Senate.”

The STEM Education Act of 2015 directs the National Science Foundation (NSF) to continue to award competitive merit-reviewed grants to support informal STEM education.  Informal education is work that takes place outside of the classroom to engage students in STEM subjects and fields. It also amends the NSF Noyce Master Teaching Fellowship program to allow teachers in pursuit of Master’s degrees to participate in the program. 

Research and Technology Subcommittee Chairwoman Barbara Comstock (R-Va.): “STEM education holds the key for our students to compete against the best and the brightest around the world.  The STEM Education Act of 2015 is a bipartisan piece of legislation that strengthens STEM education and promotes innovation and opportunity for all to be prepared for the jobs of the 21st century.”  

The STEM Education Coalition, STEM4US!, and Code.org sent letters in support of the bill.