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Shaheen Urges Department of Education to Provide Guidance & Funding to Support Afterschool & Summer STEM Programs

(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) sent a letter to the Department of Education Secretary nominee, Miguel Cardona, urging the support of STEM education through afterschool and summer programs as the American Rescue Plan is implemented.

In the letter, Shaheen noted the importance of investing in robust STEM education to prepare our workforce for the 21st century economy and safeguard our national security. Since the pandemic has created severe challenges for hands-on learning through STEM programs, she encouraged the Secretary to provide clear guidance for the implementation of $2.5 billion for afterschool and summer programs to ensure student success in STEM careers.

“The American Rescue Plan has provided two separate funding set-asides at the state level for a total of nearly $2.5 billion specifically designated for afterschool and summer educational programs,” wrote Shaheen. “I urge you to provide prompt and clear guidance for the implementation of these two funding streams to support afterschool and summer educational programs, including STEM-focused programs.”

“America’s national security and economic competitiveness depend on a robust STEM workforce…We need to ensure our students have the education they need in order to be prepared to fill these jobs and access these opportunities,” she continued. “However, the COVID-19 pandemic has created severe challenges for STEM programs’ ability to safely provide hands-on learning experiences for students. The pandemic has further exacerbated previously-existing inequities, including barriers to access to technology, and school closures have led to significant concerns about student learning loss, particularly in STEM subjects.”

You can read the full letter here.

Shaheen has been a fierce advocate for students, investing in quality education to prepare them for the 21st century economy and ensuring they don’t fall behind during the pandemic. Shaheen has fought to secure grants and funding to invest in the capability and capacity of schools to provide distance learning services to students. She also reintroduced her bill, the Emergency Support for STEM Act, to provide $200 million for emergency grants to support hands-on learning opportunities in STEM education. Shaheen also authored a bipartisan bill that was signed into law in 2019, the Christa McAuliffe Commemorative Coin Act, which reaffirms American commitment to Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education.