On Tuesday, a bill was heard regarding funding for STEM activities from the federal Every Student Succeeds Act. While it is not a mandate, the bill strongly encourages school districts to utilize federal ESSA Title IV funds for specific purposes, with an emphasis placed on robotics-related activities.
Earlier this month, a group of robotics students met with legislators to express their desire to see more funds going towards their programs. In response, the suggestions contained within the bill include mentor-led, hands-on STEM education and engagement with materials that support inquiry-based and active learning; increased student participation in STEM competitions, including robotics competitions; and mentor-led, classroom-based, after-school activities with informal STEM instruction and education.
South High graduate and current NASA astronaut training manager, Alicia Robinson, testified to the need for STEM funding and hoped to encourage women in STEM fields. The bill was heard in the E-12 Policy Committee and was laid over to be considered for an omnibus bill. (SF 264)