On 3 March 2009, the Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies in the House of Representatives received testimony during a hearing entitled “Science Overview.” Dr. Ralph Cicerone, President of the National Academy of Sciences, answered questions from lawmakers about the state of science education in the United States, international scientific competitiveness, and scientific research budgets. Cicerone highlighted the importance of K-12 science education in building a larger pool of future scientists, discussed the potential for cooperative scientific endeavors between nations, and recommended large increases in many science budgets. Among Cicerone’s recommendations were to increase funding for the NASA science budget, provide funds for the immediate repair and replacement of NOAA climate satellites, and there is a need for a standardized national science curriculum for K-12 students.

On 4 March, the committee heard testimony regarding “The Place of NOAA Science and the National Institute of Standards and Technology in the Overall Science Enterprise.” Dr. Susan Avery, President of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, testified about the importance of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in climate modeling, weather prediction, natural resource management, and collaboration on extramural research. She highlighted the limited funding available for research in NOAA, only14 percent of the agency’s total budget, and recommended that the agency prepare a comprehensive strategy for allocating research inside the agency and externally with partner organizations.

On 5 March the committee heard testimony from Bill Nye “The Science Guy” and Dr. Harold Pratt, former President of the National Science Teachers Association, on the subject of Science Education. Some of the general recommendations were that investing in teacher training and support is the best way to improve early science education, early childhood parental involvement is key to keeping kids interested in science, and there is a need for non-burdensome national science education standards.

 


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