Lieberman, Ensign Introduce Bill to Improve National Competitiveness through Enhanced Education Initiatives
For Immediate Release
June 8, 2006
Senator speaks at TechNet Day on the importance of inspiring our youth; protecting our future
WASHINGTON - Senator Joe Lieberman (D-CT) today introduced legislation to boost innovative education programs designed to ensure the United States remains the lead in innovation, research and development and the training of scientists and engineers. At an event today hosted by the bipartisan technology advocacy group TechNet, Lieberman accepted the 2006 Founders Circle Award for his past work to promote the growth of America's innovation economy and explained his National Innovation Education Act (NIEA) to the assembled audience technology leaders.
NIEA, which includes several provisions from the National Innovation Act of 2005, proposes education initiatives across the learning spectrum – from pre-kindergarten through graduate school -- that seek to improve instruction and access to strong and innovative education programs with a particular emphasis in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields.
"Our new bill authorizes funding to help ensure that high school graduates are prepared to succeed in college, to increase the number of students graduating with degrees in math and science fields and teacher certifications, and provides professional development for current teachers," said Lieberman. "Our nation faces many high-tech challenges that will span generations – challenges like achieving energy independence and ending global warming. This bill will help ensure that America's students are prepared to take the lead in solving them."
A summary of the bill components is below:
• P-16 Commissions: The bill would authorize grants to states to establish Commissions to facilitate elementary and secondary schools collaboration with higher education institutions and the business community. The Commissions will work to help all students graduating high school have the skills and knowledge necessary to succeed in college or the workplace, particularly in STEM fields. The bill also encourages the improvement of state-wide longitudinal data systems.
• Magnet Schools: The bill would authorize grants for magnet schools that develop innovative educational methods, practices and curricula that promote student achievement in STEM courses.
• Experiential Learning: The bill would authorize grants for pilot programs to local education agencies to implement innovation-based experiential learning.
• Teacher Certification in STEM fields: The bill would authorize grants to higher education institutions to provide integrated courses of study leading to baccalaureate degrees in STEM fields concurrent with teacher certification.
• Teacher Professional Development: The bill would authorize teacher professional development institutes to improve teacher quality, particularly in STEM fields, in schools serving low-income populations.
• Graduate programs in STEM: The bill would authorize NSF to expand the Graduate Research Fellowship Program and the Integrative Graduate Education and Research Trainee program. These programs provide funds to encourage students to pursue post-graduate degrees in STEM fields.
• Professional science master's degrees: The bill would award grants to establish new programs and to improve existing programs for professional science master's degrees. It would also direct NSF to establish a clearinghouse of successful professional science master's degree program elements.
• Tech Talent: The bill would authorize and increases funding for the Tech Talent program which supports innovative higher education programs designed to increase the number of graduates in STEM fields.
• Service Science: The bill includes a "Sense of Congress" declaration expressing the need to understand the new discipline known as "service science," a discipline that teaches individuals to apply technology, organizational process management, and industry-specific knowledge to solve problems.
• Research: Finally, the bill would double basic research budget at NSF in physical science and engineering.