Dear Colleague from Deputy Secretary Marten on Using Federal Funds to Support STEM Education Strategies

December 09, 2022

On December 6, Deputy Secretary of Education Cindy Marten released a Dear Colleague letter to help State educational agencies (SEAs), local educational agencies (LEAs), and their partners better understand how to use Federal funds to support innovative, equity-focused pre-kindergarten through grade 12 STEM education strategies.

"Now more than ever, it is critical we invest in STEM education to help our students get back on track and prepare for an ever-changing world. The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated the importance of scientific discovery and advancement. It has also accelerated the digital and data-driven transformation of our economy and shined a spotlight on the digital divide and the importance of closing that divide. Strengthening STEM skills is critical for both short-term innovation as we overcome the impacts of COVID-19, and for preparing students to address future challenges in a complex, interconnected world."

In the letter, Marten also emphasizes that a critical component of learning recovery is ensuring access to high-quality equitable STEM education. She encourages federal agencies, SEAs, LEAs, and private sector partners to coordinate their efforts and use evidence-based methods to best meet students’ needs. These methods should include strategies for effectively engaging girls and young women in math and science, assisting students in elementary mathematics and middle to high school mathematics, providing relevant and career-linked learning to help prevent students from dropping out, and STEM-linked pedagogies including experiential learning and computational thinking.

The letter provides examples of how funds from the American Rescue Plan; Titles I, II, III, and IV of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA); IDEA and Perkins can support efforts to improve Pre-K-12 instruction and student outcomes in STEM field. See full examples and resources here.