This past Tuesday, the House heard testimony from John Holdren (Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy) Joan Ferrini-Mundy (Assistant Director for Education and Human Resources at the National Science Foundation) and Leland Melvin (Associate Administrator for Education at NASA) regarding the administration’s proposed reorganization of STEM education programs. Clocking in at just under 2 hours (not counting recesses for floor votes), the House panel subjected the three witnesses to a litany of pointed questions, occasionally glazed in mild derision. The panel seems to agree that a revaluation and prioritization of federal STEM education efforts is worthwhile, but the positivity ended there, with most panelists questioning whether the proposed reorganization had been properly considered and planned.
Over at SpacePolicyOnline, Laura Delgado has an excellent write-up that includes helpful background, including a link to the 5-year Strategic Plan for coordination of federal STEM programs (which only came out last Friday, after the budget was formulated; although during questioning, the panel was assured that drafts of the plan had been available to the administration during the budget development).
Jeffrey Mervis has additional coverage at Science Insider, including some of the more quotable moments of the hearing. As Mervis points out, the questioning was “refreshingly nonpartisan”, but unfortunately for the administration, it was because they were largely united in their criticism of the proposal.
Universe Today posted an article earlier today on the proposed reorganization by Markus Pössel, entitled “Proposed Changes to NASA’s Education and Outreach – A View from the Outside”, but the link seems to be broken at present, so check back there later if you’re interested.