Tuesday, February 25, 2020
US flag

Trump wants $200 million more for STEM & CS

In the Oval Office, joined by about 50 students, President Donald Trump signed a memo on September 25 that seeks to expand access to high-quality science, technology, engineering, math (STEM), and computer science education to K-12 students.

US Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, Labor Secretary Alex Acosta, Ivanka Trump, and several congressional representatives were also in attendance at a signing ceremony for the memo, which directs the federal government to invest $200 million to boost science instruction.

“Greater access to STEM (and) computer-science programs will ensure that our children will develop the skills they need to compete and to win in the workforce,” the Washington Post quoted the president as saying. “We will help give our American children a pathway to success in the workforce of tomorrow.”

The White House has said one of Mr Trump’s primary goals is to give Americans the opportunity to obtain the necessary education and tools that lead to good, stable jobs. The president and his administration have often stressed how determined they are to provide Americans, particularly young Americans, the skills they need to be competitive in the job market.

The White House blog, citing the memo, noted that “less than half of schools offer computer programming, and nearly 40 percent of high schools did not offer physics in 2015. Additionally, STEM and computer science education among women, minorities, and students in rural communities are limited; according to College Board, less than a quarter of those who took the Advance Placement Computer Science A exam were women.”

Although the memorandum doesn’t identify any specific source for the funds, it directs the education department to place high quality STEM education, particularly computer science, at the forefront of the Department of Education’s priorities, and in doing so, establish a goal of devoting at least $200 million per year in grant funds towards this priority.

In his closing remarks, the president reminded the students to always do and study what they love, saying, “Follow your hearts, and you’re going to be tremendously successful people.”


Although I am willing to consider each idea on its own merit, it is very difficult to separate the president’s prior show of disrespect for women and minorities while, here, claiming to want to encourage them in some way.

Mr Trump is the president, so in one sense, we have little choice but to report this important initiative that is bound to provide funds for programs that will encourage girls and minority students to pursue studies in the STEM disciplines and in computer science. However, other actions of this president and this administration defeat the efforts reported here in that he has proven himself a racist, anti-immigrant leader.

So while I’m willing to wait and see where Ms DeVos finds this money, what it’s taken away from, and where it might be spent, I am not hopeful that it will in any way erase the bigotry and disrespect shown to women and minorities by this president.

Paul Katula is the executive editor of the Voxitatis Research Foundation, which publishes this blog. For more information, see the About page.

Recent posts

Most detailed images ever of the sun

A new telescope at the National Solar Observatory snapped the most detailed pictures of the sun's surface we have ever seen.

Feds boost Bay funding

Restoration efforts in the Chesapeake Bay watershed received a boost in federal funding in the budget Congress passed last month.

Md. & IL bands perform on New Year’s in...

Bands from IL and Md. once again entertained thousands of people who lined the streets of London and Rome on New Year's Day.

Howard Co. sounds an under-staffing alarm

Teachers in a Md. district have filed a grievance over missing planning and lunch periods and, as a result, putting the most vulnerable students at risk.

Top 11 school stories of 2019

We find these 11 stories to have the greatest potential for influencing activity and direction in schools for the near future.

Girls’ volleyball champs in Illinois

We congratulate the Illinois state champions in girls' volleyball: Newark, St Teresa, Sterling, & Benet Academy.

A weekend of ‘band geeks’ across America

The musical Band Geeks was in performance at a MD high school, just as marching bands from across America named a national champion.

2 dead, 3 wounded in Calif. school shooting

Another school shooting has resulted in the death of 2 California high school students. The suspect shot himself and is in custody.

Mercury makes a transit; next in 2032

A transit of Mercury occurred today and was visible from the US, provided you had sunny skies. It was one of longest possible transits.

On the Naperville BWW racist incident

A racist incident at a Naperville, IL, sports bar indicates that the threads of racism are strong, perhaps as strong as ever.

IL bill could excuse absences to vote

A proposed law in IL could give students up to two hours during the school day so they could vote in the upcoming election.