The President's FY2011 was released a few days ago, with several surprises for environmental and sustainability education. These unexpected new programs at NSF, DOE and ED are very positive signals from the Administration about their interest in our work. But before anyone starts drafting proposals, remember that Congress has the final word on the budget and won't likely pass the final budget before the fall. Congress is also usually very resistant to abolishing or consolidating programs. So the burden will be on us, the stakeholders, to make our voices heard by Congress about the importance of these Administration proposals. Stay tuned for how you can help.
Department of Education:
" Effective Teaching and Learning for A Well-Rounded Education" would receive $265 million, an increase of $38.9 million, or 17 percent, over last year. This new program would consolidate and expand eight existing programs (Excellence in Economic Education, Teaching American History, Arts in Education, Foreign Language Assistance, Academics for American History and Civics, Close Up Fellowships, and two civic education programs). It would provide support for States and high-need school districts to develop and expand innovative practices, including interdisciplinary programs, that improve teaching and learning in the subjects important to a complete curriculum, including the arts, foreign languages, civics and government, history, geography, environmental literacy, economic and financial literacy, and other subjects.
Department of Energy:
The RE-ENERGYSE (Regaining our Energy Science and Engineering Edge) program is a comprehensive federal education initiative focused on educating for the clean energy sector at universities, community and technical colleges, and K-12 schools. RE-ENERGYSE will be coordinated by DOE and NSF, beginning with an initial investment of $74 million in clean energy-related education. This includes a new $50 million program within DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy, a $5 million program in DOE’s Office of Nuclear Energy, and a $19 million program within NSF.
RE-ENERGYSE will develop leading edge undergraduate and graduate programs; help between 3,000 and 6,000 highly educated scientists, engineers, and other professionals enter the clean energy field by 2016; and approximately 7,000 to 13,000 professionals by 2021. By 2016, efforts will result in the development of approximately 75 community college and other training programs to equip thousands of technically skilled workers for clean energy jobs. In addition, RE-ENERGYSE would fund 88 one-year scholarships and 30 three-year fellowships to students enrolled in nuclear energy-related fields at U.S. universities and two-year colleges in FY 2011.
National Science Foundation:
RE-ENERGYSE: NSF will invest roughly $19.0 million in RE-ENERGYSE through five existing research and education programs that help develop the future STEM workforce. These programs provide fellowships, traineeships, and research opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students, as well as build collaboration between academia and industry. NSF will contribute at least 5 percent of its support for the following programs towards specific, energy-related awards: Graduate Research Fellowship (GRF); Graduate STEM Fellows in K–12 Education (GK–12); Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship (IGERT); Support for community colleges through Advanced Technological Education (ATE); and Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) sites. NSF and DOE also have a continuing partnership in public awareness and outreach activities that support the goals of RE-ENERGYSE.
Science, Engineering, and Education for Sustainability (SEES) is a major new NSF-wide initiative funded at $765.5 million (a 16% increase over last year) by pulling funds from across different NSF directorates. It intends to integrate NSF’s work in climate and energy science and engineering to generate the discoveries and tools needed to “inform societal actions that lead to environmental and economic sustainability. SEES addresses recommendations from the August 2009 report from the National Science Board, Building A Sustainable Energy Future, which emphasized systems approaches to research programs, education and workforce development, public awareness and outreach, and the importance of partnerships with other agencies, states, universities, industry, and international organizations.
Climate Change Education ($10 million) is designed to develop the next generation of skilled, educated, and climate-savvy Americans. It catalyzes activity at the national level in four strands of STEM education: preparation of a climate science professional workforce; public understanding and engagement; resources for learning; and local and national STEM education policy. NSF received the same amount in both FY09 and FY10 for this program.
NOAA: The Environmental Literacy Grants program was recommended at $5,148,000, much as the Administration recommended last year. All B-WET programs were zeroed out as usual.
EPA: $6.4 million was included for the Environmental Education program, down from $9 million last year (the first year in perhaps a decade that the Administration recommended funding for this program).
ED: No funding was recommended for the new University Sustainability Program (a priority funding area for the Fund For Improvement of Postsecondary Education this year).