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On December 24, 2019, S. 737, the Building Blocks of STEM Act, was signed into law by the Trump Administration. The bill instructs the National Science Foundation (NSF) “to more equitably allocate funding for research with a focus on early childhood education.” It also requires NSF to support research on potential factors that discourage or encourage girls to engage in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) activities and education.
According to Congress’s official website, the bill modifies National Science Foundation (NSF) grant programs that support STEM education, and it instructs the foundation to improve their focus of research and development on early childhood education when awarding grants under their Discovery Research PreK-12 program.
Furthermore, the bill encourages the use of NSF grants for increasing the participation of female students, as well as other underrepresented populations, in STEM fields. They may be used for research into a variety of subjects regarding female students in prekindergarten through elementary school, including:
- The role of teachers and caregivers in encouraging or discouraging participation of underrepresented students in STEM activities; and
- Types of STEM activities that encourage greater participation by underrepresented students.
In addition, NSF grants to research in computer science education and computation thinking can be used to support the development and implementation of tools and models for teaching and learning, such as creating gender-inclusive computer science enrichment programs and familiarizing female students in all grade levels with careers in computer science.
This is an encouraging step in the right direction for promoting young girls’ interest in STEM and furthering diversity in the field as a whole. For more information on female representation in STEM education and careers, read Volume IV: STEM of the 2019 NAWRB Women Housing Ecosystem Report (WHER).
About 2019 NAWRB WHER
Learn more about natural disaster loans and financial assistance in the case of a natural disaster within the economic footprint from The 2019 NAWRB Women Housing Ecosystem Report (WHER) the third installment of the most diverse coverage of the Housing Ecosystem with over sixty resources in six volumes: Diversity & Inclusion, Homeownership, Women-Owned Businesses, STEM, Aging Population, and Family Offices with a gender lens perspective. Learn more about each of the volumes and order a copy of the 2019 NAWRB WHER at https://www.nawrb.com/womenhousingecosystem/.