NSTA, in collaboration with 100kin10 and other key STEM leaders, has developed a new campaign designed to ensure that STEM and science/STEM teachers are a focus of the new federal education law at the state and local levels.

The goal of the Every Student Succeeds with STEM campaign is to support members of the STEM community with information, tools, and resources to catalyze action and support the kinds of engagement with education leaders, policymakers, parents, STEM professionals, and others to ensure that STEM is a priority in new state plans submitted to the U.S. Department of Education as required under the Every Student Succeeds Act.

We also want to ensure this priority is reflected in the policy and funding guidance state education agencies (state departments of education) will provide to local education agencies (districts).

The Every Student Succeeds Act--which became law in late 2015 as the replacement to the

No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB)--puts greater emphasis on ensuring a well-rounded education and ensuring equity, two issues that are critical to STEM learning.

ESSA provides states with flexibility to set new policy and funding priorities, and they can do that to support STEM learning. Every state is now developing a new plan (which includes new accountability measures) they will submit to the U.S. Department of Education detailing how they will implement ESSA. States must submit plans for approval on either April 3, 2017 or on September 18, 2017.

These plans will have an impact on the science/STEM education in your state for years.

As states develop new plans under ESSA, all members of the STEM community have an important role to play to keep great STEM teaching and great STEM learning a top priority for students and ensure that Every Student Succeeds with STEM.

What should I be saying about STEM and ESSA?

STEM learning opportunities and support for STEM teachers are mentioned specifically throughout ESSA. Making STEM a priority in every state under the new Every Student Succeeds Act is important because

  • STEM education helps ensure students have the critical thinking and problem-solving skills they need to succeed in school, work, and life.
  • High-quality STEM education is essential to a well-rounded education for all students.
  • STEM is a way of thinking and learning as much as it is tied to a specific set of classes. It helps engage kids in school and learn important life skills, such as creativity, perseverance and experimentation.
  • Increasingly STEM skills are needed across the workforce, and high-quality STEM education helps students gain the skills they need to be successful in life, no matter the career they choose.
  • The majority of jobs in today’s economy now require the knowledge, training, and skills gained through STEM. Employers are looking for workers with STEM skills. STEM-related fields are the fastest growing job sectors in our economy.
  • No matter a student’s background or where they live, all students should have access to high-quality STEM learning in and out of school.

The Every Student Succeeds with STEM campaign website has these talking points and a wealth of information you can use to help make STEM a priority in your state, including information on the new law; updated information on where states are with their ESSA plan and links to the plans and implementation milestones; specific STEM programs in ESSA; messages about why STEM matters; how you can participate in the stakeholder engagement process; and tool kits, tips for crafting emails and phone calls to state leaders and your state team encouraging them to prioritize STEM learning.

Learn how you and teachers in your school/district can impact your state's plan by promoting STEM hereClick here to also get all of our legislative updates and action alerts learn more about ESSA specifically here.

Jodi Peterson, Assistant Executive Director, Communications and Legislative Affairs, NSTA