The U.S. Senate this week completed work on a major education overhaul that will increase access to STEM learning nationwide. We applaud the leadership of HELP Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-Wash.) for ushering through legislation on a strong, bipartisan basis that advances some of the goals outlined in Microsoft’s National Talent Strategy.
Specifically, the Every Child Achieves Act includes:
- A provision offered by Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) that directs funding for states to improve STEM education, including computer science education, through partnerships between local schools, businesses, universities and non-profit organizations. The provision allows states the flexibility they need to support diverse activities to improve student learning in STEM subjects. And it also provides for a STEM Master Teacher Corps, which focuses on advancement opportunities for teachers in STEM fields among other things.
- Support for local grant funds under the Safe and Healthy Students title of the bill, which includes programs and activities that improve students’ knowledge and understanding of computer science in elementary and secondary schools. Title II funds, which go to teacher, principal and other school leader professional development activities, can also be used for computer science.
Microsoft was also pleased to see that an amendment offered by Sens. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Ed Markey (D-Mass.) will create a commission to study student privacy. Our company has long been committed to bringing the benefits of technology and personalized learning to schools while protecting the privacy and security of students’ information.
We look forward to working with Congress to advance the Every Child Achieves Act.