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After Election 2014: STEM EDUCATION

The debut of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) in a handful of states and a growing awareness among research universities that they must improve undergraduate instruction are arguably the two biggest recent changes in the U.S. science education landscape. They also embody the political adage of thinking globally and acting locally, a timely message as the Obama administration heads into the homestretch and voters prepare to elect a new Congress.

The last 2 years have provided a vivid reminder that improving U.S. science education will depend at least as much on grassroots efforts as on the federal government. The administration’s biggest gambit—a plan to restructure the $3 billion federal investment in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) education—went down in flames after lawmakers from both parties and community leaders denounced it as unwise and poorly designed.


Nobody expects the next Congress to pass any bold new STEM education initiatives. But a hiatus in Washington, D.C., hasn’t hindered state-level progress on NGSS and campus efforts to improve undergraduate science courses.

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