WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, during National Computer Science Education Week, U.S. Senator Jacky Rosen (D-NV), a member of the Committee on Commerce, Science, & Transportation, released the following statement announcing that her bipartisan Building Blocks of STEM Act has passed the United States House of Representatives, and is now headed to the President’s desk to be signed into law.
“I’m glad to see that the legislation I’ve introduced is now one step closer to being signed into law,” said Senator Rosen. “My bipartisan Building Blocks of STEM Act will help prepare our girls for success in a 21st century economy by providing them with a 21st century education. I will continue working to ensure that our students are given access to STEM education, and that we take additional, much-needed steps to close the STEM gender gap.”
BACKGROUND: In March, Rosen introduced the bipartisan, bicameral Building Blocks of STEM Act, S. 737, alongside Senators Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), and Deb Fischer (R-NE). The bill would create and expand upon STEM education initiatives at NSF for young children, including new research grants to increase the participation of girls in computer science.
Senator Rosen’s Building Blocks of STEM Act is endorsed by Girl Scouts of the USA, Save the Children Action Network, American Association of University Women (AAUW), National Alliance for Partnerships in Equity (NAPE), National Organization for Women, Stop Sexual Assault in Schools (SSAIS), Girls, Inc., BSA The Software Alliance, the Society of Women Engineers (SWE), Code.org, BlackRidge Technology, Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE), Third Way, Center for Excellence in Education (CEE), CompTIA, TechNet, Information Technology Industry Council (ITI), Common Sense Kids Action, ISACA, Girls Who Code, and Microsoft.
Last Congress, Rosen introduced similar legislation to focus National Science Foundation (NSF) STEM education programming on young children and to award grants to encourage young girls to pursue computer science learning. Studies have found that children who engage in scientific activities from an early age develop positive attitudes toward science and are more likely to pursue STEM expertise and careers later on. The bipartisan Building Blocks of STEM Act (H.R. 3397), introduced in the 115th Congress by then-Representative Jacky Rosen and Representative Steve Knight (R-CA), would direct NSF to more equitably distribute funding for early childhood education in its Discovery Research PreK-12 program, which seeks to enhance the learning and teaching of STEM and address the immediate challenges that are facing PreK-12 STEM education. Currently, the Discovery Research PreK-12 program focuses the majority of its research on students in middle school and older. This year’s Senate bill also includes Rosen’s bipartisan Code Like a Girl Act (H.R. 3316) from the 115th Congress, which would direct NSF to award research grants to increase understanding of the factors that contribute to the participation of young girls in STEM activities and to develop interventions in pre-K and elementary school classrooms to increase the participation of young girls in computer science. Last Congress, Rosen’s combined package of STEM education bills unanimously passed the House but failed to receive a vote in the Senate.