Tough Budget Choices in Math, Science
Few areas of education have proved as politically popular at the state level in recent years as efforts to improve math and science through teacher education and professional development, outreach activities to students, and other means. Governors, state legislators, and state boards of education in both Republican- and Democratic-dominated states, often at the urging of the business lobby, have taken up the cause.
Yet a story in the Lansing (Mich.) State Journal is a reminder that as budget pressures mount, legislators are facing increasing pressure to cut math and science programs, too.
State lawmakers in Michigan are considering chopping $2.5 million out of a program that has created 33 math and science centers to help students and teachers around the state, in communities from Detroit to the Upper Peninsula. As other states scour their budgets for cuts, will math and science programs be relatively insulated, or vulnerable?
Perhaps not suprisingly, amid states' woes, several philanthropies, as well as the federal government, seem to be holding firm with their commitments. Grants from Exxon Mobil, which has taken a major interest in math and science teacher training in recent years, and the U.S. Department of Education continue to flow to "STEM"-related programs in communities across the country.