Senator Roberts Pushes for Improved Science and Technology Education in U.S. Classrooms

March 9, 2001

WASHINGTON, DC Calling for a renewed focus on science, technology, math and engineering education in U.S. schools, U.S. Senator Pat Roberts today offered bipartisan legislation to improve the quality of science and technology teachers and curriculum in grades K- 12.

Several provisions of Senator Roberts’ Engineering, Science, Technology and Mathematics Education Enhancement Act are included in the language of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), the re-authorization of which is being considered by the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee (HELP) today. HELP Committee Ranking Member Ted Kennedy (D-MA) and Committee member Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) are co- sponsors of Senator Roberts’ plan.

“If Kansas is to remain competitive in the changing world of science and high technology, we must renew federal and state commitment to educating young people in these fields,” said Senator Roberts, an outspoken advocate for investment in science and technology education and infrastructure. He is a key member of the Senate HELP Committee.

“Kansas, which over the past seven years has posted a higher rate of tech job growth than even California, is a perfect example of the how important math and science skills are in the new economy.”

The Engineering, Science, Technology and Mathematics Education Enhancement Actamends the ESEA with the following provisions:

  • Sets up Science Master Teachers (SMT) and provides grants to place a SMT in elementary schools.

  • Establishes Science Teacher Mentors to help with retention issues and Summer Professional Development Institutes to keep knowledge current.

  • Expands the Eisenhower National Clearinghouse with extensive use of the Internet.

  • Establishes after-school science programs at community learning centers.

  • Provides for teacher technology training software and grants for distance learning programs.

Senator Roberts, a member of the Senate Armed Services and Intelligence Committees also pointed out the critical need to increase the number of skilled technology experts that are important to maintaining U.S. national security and protecting civilian computer networks. “We must place a major new emphasis on educating students in the fields of technology and information security.”