The full House Science Committee will host a hearing today at 2 pm EDT to examine the Obama Administration’s proposed restructuring of federal science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) programs, consolidating programs at NASA and other agencies. Among those slated to testify at the hearing is Leland Melvin, NASA’s associate administrator for education.
When NASA rolled out its fiscal year 2014 budget proposal, it said there would still be a strong emphasis on education at NASA as other agencies would seek to make use of NASA’s unique capabilities under the restructured STEM education effort. However, the drop in NASA education funds—from $136 million in fiscal year 2012 to $94 million in the FY14 proposal—concerned many, as well as potential disruptions to ongoing successful STEM education efforts within NASA.
A recent statement by the American Astronomical Society opposed the potential elimination of education and public outreach (EPO) programs within NASA’s Science Mission Directorate (SMD) in the restructuring. “The proposed budget reorganization would dismantle some of the nation’s most inspiring and successful STEM education assets,” the statement read, adding the the society recommends that those EPO programs “that have demonstrated success with implementing evidence-based educational methods and have robust assessment outcomes” be exempted from the overall federal STEM education restructuring.