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Delaware Section Government Affairs Committee Discusses STEM Education Policy with Senator Ted Kaufman
John Gavenonis, Delaware Section Councilor
Members of the Delaware Section Government Affairs Committee meet with Senator Ted Kaufman in Wilmington on January 25, 2010. Participants are (from left to right) Al Denio, Martha Hollomon, Senator Ted Kaufman, and John Gavenonis.
On Monday, January 25, as part of the National ACS Contact Congress initiative, John Gavenonis, Al Denio, and Martha Hollomon of the Delaware Section Government Affairs Committee (GAC) met with United States Senator Ted Kaufman in his Wilmington, Delaware office. The group gathered to discuss STEM education and patent reform, which are two priority areas for ACS policy advocacy. Position statements addressing these topics and others can be found at the ACS website (http://tinyurl.com/acspolicystatements) or by contacting John Gavenonis at [email protected]
Senator Kaufman is a strong proponent of STEM education initiatives, providing a number of Senate floor speeches and op-ed pieces highlighting the myriad benefits the United States will derive from an increased emphasis on STEM education.1,2 As a central component of his focus on STEM education, Senator Kaufman sponsored S.1210 STEM Education Coordination Act of 2009. This bill will require the Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) to establish a committee under the National Science and Technology Council that has the responsibility to coordinate federal programs and activities from NSF, DoE, NASA, NOAA, Department of Education, and other federal agencies in support of STEM education. The companion bill passed the House of Representatives (H.R.1709) by a wide margin (353-39-41). S.1210 is currently in the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation with 7 cosponsors. Senator Kaufman believes that S.1210 should pass the Senate this year, likely as an attachment to a larger legislative package. ACS members nationwide are encouraged to contact their Senators to ask them to cosponsor S.1210.
Senator Kaufman informed the Delaware Section GAC members that the FY2010 Agriculture Appropriations Bill, signed into law by President Obama in October 2009, contains a $400,000 appropriation for research and extension grant funding in support of women and underrepresented minorities in STEM fields. Senator Kaufman strongly supported this measure and organized a bipartisan group of 13 Senators to compose a letter to the Senate Appropriations Committee to request this funding.
The Delaware Section GAC members thanked Senator Kaufman for his support of The Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act, which was signed into law by President Obama in April 2009. ACS led the effort to help craft the STEM portions of this legislation and organized extensive support within the science community.
Other aspects of the discussion of STEM education with Senator Kaufman focused on the improved educational and technical productivity of developing countries. In particular, the Delaware Section GAC members presented to Senator Kaufman the recent Chemical and Engineering News report describing China’s rapidly increasing rates of patent applications, new chemical compound disclosures, and technical journal publications.3
The Delaware Section Government Affairs Committee thanks Senator Kaufman and his staff for taking the time to review policy items of interest to ACS.
1. Kaufman, Ted. “Want to rebuild the economy? Ask an engineer.” McClatchy-Tribune Information Services. 26 Feb. 2009.
2. Kaufman, Ted. “Senate Floor Speech on Science and Engineering Education.” United States Senate. Washington, D.C. 27 Feb. 2009. (http://kaufman.senate.gov/press/press_releases/release/?id=38da009a-1b76-4264-a386-abcde382a371)
3. Rovner, Sophie L. “China Ascendant.” Chemical and Engineering News. 11 Jan. 2010: 35.