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Update on FY2003 Labor/HHS Appropriations (7-25-02)

The primary interest for the geoscience community with the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies (known as the Labor/HHS) appropriations bill is the treatment of science education within the Department of Education (DoEd). The passage of H.R. 1, the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) that was signed into law on January 8, 2002, transformed the way in which the federal government funds elementary and secondary math and science education. In the past, math and science education had been funded through the Eisenhower National Programs, which included the Eisenhower Professional Development Grants that were provided to each state, Eisenhower National Clearinghouse, and the Eisenhower Regional Mathematics and Science Education Consortia. In place of state grants for professional development programs for math and science educators, NCLB established Math and Science Partnerships as the program to provide support for improving math and science education. Funding for science education was severely cut in last year's appropriations process, and the fiscal year (FY) 2003 budget request did not improve matters much. President Bush requested $12.5 million for Math and Science Partnerships -- they were authorized for up to $450 million in NCLB -- and no funding for the other two Eisenhower programs. Also of interest for professional development for teachers, including math and science educators, are the Improving Teacher Quality States Grants that had a requested level of $1.7 billion.

Most Recent Action
On July 18th, the Senate Appropriations Committee completed action on the fiscal year (FY) 2003 Labor/HHS Appropriations bill, S. 2766. In total the committee recommends $53.2 billion for the Department of Education, which is an increase of 6.5% above the budget request. According to the committee press release, the bill "triples the President's increase in education funding." In the section on the Teacher Quality State Grants, the release states that it would recommend $3.1 billion for these grants, a $250 million increase above last year's allocation and above the president's request. "This program will help schools meet their mandate to have 'highly qualified' teachers in all classrooms by 2005-2006." The press release does not provide any specific information on math and science education, but the DoEd Budget Office provides a chart comparing the Senate action to the budget request. According to this chart, the Senate would provide double the requested funding for Math and Science Partnerships, to total $25 million -- still only slightly more than 5% of the authorized $450 million. The Senate restored funding to the Eisenhower Regional Consortia to last year's level of $15 million, but did not restore funding for the Eisenhower National Clearinghouse, noting that the program's authorization has expired. Additional information from the Senate report (S. Rept. 107-216) is available below. (7/25/02)

 House Action   Senate Action   Conference Action 

 Senate Action
On July 18th, the Senate Appropriations Committee completed action on S. 2766. The committee report (S. Rept. 107-216) provides a little more insight into the committee's funding decisions. In total the Department of Education would receive $53.2 billion under the Senate plan. Funding for the Improving Teacher Quality State Grants would total $1.95 million for the annual appropriation, an increase of 14.7% above the president's request and more than twice last year's allocation. The Senate provided an olive leaf to the newly established Mathematics and Science Partnerships by providing a doubling of the president's request. Unfortunately, the president's request of $12.5 million, the same level provided for these programs last year, is a mere 2.8% of the authorized $450 million for these partnerships. The report language regarding the partnerships states:

For mathematics and science partnerships, the Committee recommends $25,000,000, which is $12,5000,000 more than the fiscal year 2002 appropriations and the budget request. These funds will be used to improve the performance of students in the areas of math and science by bringing math and science teachers in elementary and secondary schools together with scientists, mathematicians, and engineers to increase the teachers' subject-matter knowledge and improve their teaching skills. The Secretary is authorized to award grants, on a competitive basis, to eligible partnerships to enable the entities to pay the Federal share of the costs of developing or redesigning more rigorous mathematics and science curricula that are aligned with State and local standards, creating opportunities for enhanced professional development that improves that subject-matter knowledge of math and science teachers; recruiting math and science majors; and improving and expanding training of math and science teachers, including the effective integration of technology into curricula and instruction.

The report language regarding the Eisenhower Regional Consortia states that the committee recommends maintaining the program funding level at $15 million and noted that the program disseminates "exemplary mathematics and science education instruction materials." There is no report language regarding the Eisenhower National Clearinghouse.

Sources: House Appropriations Committee, E&E News, Senate Appropriations Committee, National Science Teachers Association, Department of Education, and Library of Congress.

Please send any comments or requests for information to the AGI Government Affairs Program at

Contributed by Margaret A. Baker, AGI Government Affairs

Posted July 25, 2002

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