By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
On Thursday, U.S. Senator Richard Shelby (R) from Alabama added an amendment to the FY2013 Labor/HHS Appropriations bill restoring founding for the Math and Science Partnerships Program (MS).Sen. Shelby is the Ranking Republican Member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (Labor/HHS).
Sen. Shelby said, “In my home State of Alabama, federal funds from the Math and Science Partnerships program have helped finance the Alabama Math, Science, and Technology Initiative, which is a leading model for math and science education reform nationwide. A recent Department of Education funded study found that students who attended schools taught by teachers that participated in this initiative made gains that compare to an average of 28 extra days of schooling in math.”
“This is just the type of initiative that we should support with federal resources. Therefore, my amendment restores the $50.7 million cut to the Math and Science Partnerships program in the Fiscal Year 2013 Labor/HHS bill. The restoration of funding would continue to ensure that all states receive federal resources for improving math and science instruction,” Sen. Shelby said.
Sen. Shelby’s written statement said that the MSP is a Department of Education program that improves student performance in math and science by improving the teachers’ knowledge of the subject matter and teaching skills. Shelby’s amendment increases funding for MSP, while eliminates a funding increase for the President’s Race to the Top Program. Race to the Top money only goes to states that implement President Obama’s education agenda and according to Shelby’s statement “has not effectively demonstrated an impact on education outcomes.”
A recent performance report ranked 15 year olds from the 34 countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. The United States place 25th out of 34 nation in math and was 17th in science.
If appropriation for the Math and Science Partnerships program falls below $100 million then the Elementary and Secondary Education Act requires that funding be distributed on a competitive bid, rather than formula, basis. Without Shelby’s amendment, there would be no guarantee that the Alabama Math, Science and Technology Initiative (AMSTI) would get any future federal funding.
According to a study by the U.S. Department of Education students who attended AMSTI schools and classes for at least two years showed a gain of four percentile points when compared with Alabama students who did not attend AMSTI schools.
To read Senator Shelby’s statement in its entirety: