Hutchison Lauds Measure to Boost Math and Science Education

Senate Bill Reduces Funding by $41 Billion; Eliminates Duplicate Programs

December 21, 2010

Hutchison PortraitWASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas), Ranking Member on the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, today praised Congressional passage of legislation that would reauthorize two science agencies responsible for supporting basic research, while improving math and science education.  The measure authorizes $41 billion less in funding than the House of Representatives passed version of the legislation and eliminates duplicate programs within the Departments of Commerce, Energy and Education.  The bill also includes a provision sponsored by Senator Hutchison modeled after the highly successful UTeach initiative in Texas. The provision would enable participating colleges and universities to allow students who major in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) to concurrently become certified as elementary and secondary school teachers. In 1997, the University of Texas at Austin started the UTeach program which has become a national benchmark for teaching excellence.  The bill passed the Senate last week and is cosponsored by Commerce Committee Chairman John D. Rockefeller (D-W.Va.), Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M).  It was approved by the U.S. House of Representatives today and now heads to the President to be signed into law.

“Improving math and science education while funding basic research is essential for the United States to remain competitive globally and create high-skill American jobs,” said Senator Hutchison.  “For the past 60 years, America has led the way when it comes to scientific advances and cutting edge technology, and it is vital that we maintain our competitive advantage.  Texas has been a leader in efforts to improve math, science, and technology education in American classrooms. The UTeach model has effectively combined undergraduate degrees in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields with teacher certification and my provision would allow other states to adopt this successful program.”

The America COMPETES Act of 2010 would:

  • Sunset 9 programs at the Department of Education and the Department of Energy and would specifically eliminate duplicate programs within the Department of Commerce, Department of Energy, and Department of Education;
  • Replicate the successful UTeach program nationwide, which was pioneered by the National Math and Science Initiative and the University of Texas.  The program creates a pipeline of highly qualified K-12 teachers with core science degrees;
  • Put scientific research agencies on a fiscally responsible 10-year doubling path – as opposed to a 7-year path as authorized in the 2007 bill; and
  • Authorize DOE Office of Science (OSC) and National Science Foundation (NSF) in FY 2011 and FY 2012 below the previous authorization for 2010.

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