VIDEO: STEM program gets support from Senate

Klobuchar Provisions to Help Ensure All Students Receive a Quality Education Pass Senate

 Provisions Klobuchar authored would help expand STEM opportunities, improve teacher and principal retention, and reduce chronic absenteeism

Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) today announced that her provisions to help ensure that all students receive a quality education passed the Senate as part of the Every Child Achieves Act. The three provisions that Klobuchar authored would help expand STEM opportunities, improve teacher and principal retention, and reduce chronic absenteeism.

 “Education can be a real game changer that leads to higher-paying jobs and a brighter future for our people and our country,” Klobuchar said. “It shouldn’t matter what school you attend, or what circumstances you’re born into—all children deserve the right to receive a quality education that will open doors of opportunity. These provisions will help ensure America continues to be a place where anyone who works hard and dreams big can achieve great things.”

 Klobuchar’s STEM provision, which she introduced with Senator John Hoeven (R-ND), would improves students’ access to STEM education by allowing states to award funding to create or enhance a STEM-focused specialty school or a STEM program within a school. The amendment also directs the U.S. Department of Education to identify STEM-specific needs of states and school districts and align existing STEM programs with identified needs to avoid unnecessary duplication.

 The provision she authored to help reduce chronic absenteeism would add absenteeism as an acceptable use of professional development funds for teachers and principals, giving school professionals the tools and training they need to address chronic absenteeism and intervene with at-risk students as early as kindergarten. As Hennepin County Attorney, Klobuchar started a major anti-truancy initiative to keep kids in the classroom and out of the courtroom. Her office worked closely with local schools on a faster, more effective response to truancy problems.

She also successfully included a provision with Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) to help improve teacher and principal retention in schools serving American Indian students. Inadequate professional development and the lack of ongoing support are key reasons why some teachers and principals leave the profession, leading to instability and added costs of rehiring and retraining for schools and school districts. Klobuchar’s amendment adds mentoring and teacher support programs, including instructional support from tribal elders and cultural experts, to improve the professional development that teachers and principals in Indian schools receive, helping ensure that these professionals stay in schools longer and provide a quality education to Native students.