Jun 14 2012

Shelby Advances Math/Science Initiative

U.S. Senator Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), Ranking Member of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (Labor/HHS), today included in the FY2013 Labor/HHS Appropriations bill a provision that restores funding to the Math and Science Partnerships program (MSP).

The MSP is the only Department of Education program specifically aimed at improving the performance of students in the areas of math and science by enhancing teachers’ subject-matter knowledge and their teaching skills.  The amendment increases funding for MSP and corresponds to the elimination of a funding increase slated for the Race to the Top program in Fiscal Year 2013.  The Race to the Top Program has not effectively demonstrated an impact on education outcomes and only benefits students in select states that implement the administration’s prescriptive education agenda.

Shelby issued the following remarks in support of his amendment:

“In my home State of Alabama, federal funds from the Math and Science Partnerships program have helped finance the Alabama Math, Science, and Technology Initiative, which is a leading model for math and science education reform nationwide.  A recent Department of Education funded study found that students who attended schools taught by teachers that participated in this initiative made gains that compare to an average of 28 extra days of schooling in math. 

“This is just the type of initiative that we should support with federal resources.  Therefore, my amendment restores the $50.7 million cut to the Math and Science Partnerships program in the Fiscal Year 2013 Labor/HHS bill.  The restoration of funding would continue to ensure that all states receive federal resources for improving math and science instruction.”

Background:

 

  • According to the most recent performance report ranking 15-year-olds from the 34 countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the United States ranked 25th in math and 17th in science.

 

  • The Fiscal Year 2013 Labor/HHS bill proposed cutting $50.7 million from the Fiscal Year 2012 level for the Math and Science Partnerships program, providing only $99 million for this critical initiative. 

 

  • The Elementary and Secondary Education Act requires that when the appropriation for the Math and Science Partnerships program drops below $100 million that funding be distributed on a competitive, rather than formula, basis.  Absent Shelby’s amendment, only students in select states would be taught by teachers that have advanced math and sciences training. 

 

  • The Alabama Math, Science, and Technology Initiative is a leading model for math and science education reform nationwide.  A recent Department of Education funded study found that students who attended schools taught by teachers that participated in this initiative made gains that compare to an average of 28 extra days of schooling in math.

 

  • The Shelby amendment restores the $50.7 million cut to the Math and Science Partnerships program in the Fiscal Year 2013 Labor/HHS bill.

 

  • To make the program whole, this increase corresponds to an equal reduction in the Race to the Top program.