House Passes Congressman Baird’s STEM Education Bill

July 24, 2019
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – The U.S. House of Representatives passed by voice vote the Building Blocks of STEM Act (H.R. 1665), which ensures that children, and especially girls, are introduced to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) earlier and more effectively. Congressman Jim Baird (R-IN) and Congresswoman Haley Stevens (D-MI) introduced H.R. 1665 in the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology earlier in the 116th Congress. Baird serves as Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Research and Technology.

Prior to voting, Baird spoke on the House floor urging Members to support the bill. To watch his full remarks, please click HERE.

Remarks as prepared for delivery:

Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of H.R. 1665, the Building Blocks of STEM Act.

I was proud to join my colleague, the Chair of the Research and Technology Subcommittee, Representative Haley Stevens in introducing this legislation.

As one of only two members of Congress with a PhD in science, I understand how important it is to start children off on the right foot, by teaching STEM concepts and principles at an early age.

Research shows that kids as young as one, two, or three are capable of absorbing STEM concepts. Children have a natural curiosity that can be fostered into an interest in science, technology, engineering, math and computer science.

Equally important is ensuring that we get more girls involved in the STEM fields, so that we have as many people as possible contributing to the knowledge base of our society.

H.R. 1665 directs NSF to fund research in studies that focus on early childhood and young women in STEM at the K through 12 level.

Investing in children early, ensures we are laying the ground work to develop young innovators in STEM.

Hoosiers know that to grow as a nation, we need everyone involved.

This bill helps ensure we are preparing students to fill the jobs of the future, continuing America’s global leadership in science and technology.

I ask my colleagues to support the bill, and I yield back the balance of my time.

Following House passage, Ranking Member of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee Frank Lucas said, “Through focused National Science Foundation (NSF) research grants, the Building Blocks of STEM Act supports childhood STEM education, which is the first step in engaging students in a lifetime of learning and work in science, technology, engineering and math. It also encourages young girls to pursue computer science learning. I’m grateful to Ranking Member Baird for leading this valuable legislation.

Background:

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is one of the largest funders of STEM education programs in the federal government. Through their Discovery Research PreK-12 program, the NSF conducts research and develops new approaches to STEM education, so we can learn what works best when it comes to teaching kids about math and science. Currently, most of this research takes place at the middle and high school levels.

The Building Blocks of STEM Act addresses this by directing the NSF to consider age, with a focus on early childhood, when awarding grants for research. It also creates two additional grant programs: one to accelerate research into why young girls do or do not participate in STEM activities; and a second to develop and evaluate programs in pre-K and elementary schools that will lead to increases in the number of young girls participating in computer science activities.

To view full bill text, please click here.

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Congressman Jim Baird represents Indiana’s 4th Congressional District. A lifelong Hoosier, he serves as a member of the House Committee on Agriculture and the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology.

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