Trump Memorandum to DOE Aims to Expand Student Access to STEM and Computer Science Education

September 29, 2017

Recognizing shortages in the U.S. workforce of Science, Technology, Engineering, Math, and Computer Science-related skills, President Trump this week directed the Department of Education to increase its focus on improving the quality and availability of STEM education in U.S. schools.  "Today," the memorandum reads, "too many of our Nation's K-12 and post-secondary students lack access to high-quality STEM education, and thus are at risk of being shut out from some of the most attractive job options in the growing United States economy."  The directive calls for the agency to establish the goal of devoting at least $200 million in grant funds per year to the promotion of high-quality STEM education. In addition, the memorandum directs the DOE to:

  • Explore administrative actions that will increase focus on Computer Science in existing K-12 and post-secondary programs;
  • Require an annual report to gauge the effectiveness of these programs; and
  • Design these programs and curricula with gender and racial diversity in mind while also targeting rural communities and inner cities with the hope that such initiatives can be available nationwide. 
At the end of his term, former President Obama offered legislation with similar aims but more extensive in scope, which did not pass Congress.