Senate Passes STEM Education Bill to Promote Early Childhood Engagement with a Focus on Gender Inclusivity

Oct 9, 2019

by ASME.org

The United States Senate recently passed S. 737, the Building Blocks of STEM Act. The bill was introduced in March with three Republicans and three Democrats as cosponsors. The bipartisan bill instructs the National Science Foundation (NSF) to improve the focus of research and development on early childhood STEM education and to better support research on the factors that discourage or encourage girls from engaging in STEM activities.

If enacted, the bill would help to ensure more young people, especially girls, are provided opportunities for increased engagement in STEM fields. Studies show that girls often move away from STEM education as early as prekindergarten through elementary school. In identifying activities that better encourage girls to participate in STEM at an early age, the National Science Foundation can help reconcile the gender discrepancy that is persistent in STEM fields.

The companion bill in the House, H.R. 1665, was also passed with bipartisan support earlier this year. The two chambers will now meet to reconcile their versions of the bill before it moves forward for the President’s signature.

To view S.737, visit:  https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/senate-bill/737

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