June 12, 2006

Thursday, June 8, 2006

Washington, D.C. – Senators John Ensign and Joe Lieberman introduced legislation today to improve instruction and access to innovative educational programs. The National Innovation Education Act places special emphasis on the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

“It is absolutely critical that we change the way our students are learning when it comes to science, technology, engineering and mathematics,” Ensign said. “Other countries are far surpassing the United States in training future innovators, and we cannot afford to be left behind.”

The legislation authorizes grants to the states for commissions that will work to ensure that all students graduating high school have the skills and knowledge necessary to succeed in college or the workplace. It also outlines grants for magnet schools that promote science, technology, engineering and mathematics and for innovation-based pilot programs.

“We have to change how we teach and attract our students to these essential fields, and we also have to improve how we train our teachers in these areas,” Ensign said. “We need to develop a passion for science, technology and innovation in our teachers and give them the tools to instill that passion in their students. That is the foundation for how we maintain a competitive edge in the global economy.”

The National Innovation Education Act would provide funding for teacher professional development and expanded post-graduate programs. It also doubles the basic research budget at the National Science Foundation in physical science and engineering and highlights the new discipline known as “service science” that teaches individuals to apply technology, organizational process management and industry-specific knowledge to solve problems.