Representatives Haley Stevens (D-MI) and Jim Baird (R-IN) today re-introduced H.R. 1665, the Building Blocks of STEM Act, a bipartisan bill to ensure that children, and especially girls, are introduced to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) earlier and more effectively.
“I’m proud to join my colleague, Representative Stevens of Michigan, in introducing this legislation. As one of only two members of Congress with a PhD in science, I understand how important it is to start children off on the right foot, by teaching STEM concepts and principles at an early age,” notes Representative Baird. “Equally important is ensuring that we get more girls involved in the STEM fields, so that we have as many people as possible contributing to the knowledge base of our society. Hoosiers know that to grow as a nation, we need everyone involved.”
The National Science Foundation (NSF) is one of the largest funders of STEM education programs in the federal government. Through their Discovery Research PreK-12 program, the NSF conducts research and develops new approaches to STEM education, so we can learn what works best when it comes to teaching kids about math and science. Currently, most of this research takes place at the middle and high school levels. The Building Blocks of STEM Act addresses this by directing the NSF to consider age, with a focus on early childhood, when awarding grants for research. It also creates two additional grant programs: one to accelerate research into why young girls do or don’t participate in STEM activities; and a second to develop and evaluate programs in pre-K and elementary schools that will lead to increases in the number of young girls participating in computer science activities.
“I am so excited to join Congressman Baird of Indiana to introduce my first bill as a Member of Congress, the Building Blocks of STEM Act,”said Congresswoman Haley Stevens. “This bill helps ensure that our children are prepared to fill the jobs of tomorrow by directing public resources to study opportunities for early childhood STEM education and strategies to encourage girls to engage in STEM & computer science.”
“The love of learning starts young and the Building Blocks of STEM bill promotes this by prioritizing a focus on early childhood STEM education. It gives us the opportunity to encourage girls to get and stay engaged in STEM, helping us to improve our educational programs and to diversify the STEM workforce. I thank Rep. Baird and Rep. Stevens for introducing this bill and I’m eager to move it forward,” said Science, Space, and Technology Committee Ranking Member Frank Lucas.
“For the U.S. to remain competitive, we must ensure that as many people as possible have the opportunity to participate in STEM fields and build valuable, fulfilling careers,” said Representative Baird.