Text: S.737 — 116th Congress (2019-2020)All Information (Except Text)

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Public Law No: 116-102 (12/24/2019)

 
[116th Congress Public Law 102]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]



[[Page 133 STAT. 3263]]

Public Law 116-102
116th Congress

                                 An Act


 
  To direct the National Science Foundation to support STEM education 
   research focused on early childhood. <<NOTE: Dec. 24, 2019 -  [S. 
                                 737]>> 

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States of America in Congress assembled, <<NOTE: Building Blocks 
of STEM Act.>> 
SECTION 1. <<NOTE: 42 USC 1861 note.>>  SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the ``Building Blocks of STEM Act''.
SEC. 2. <<NOTE: 42 USC 1862s-5 note.>>  FINDINGS.

    Congress finds the following:
            (1) The National Science Foundation is a large investor in 
        STEM education and plays a key role in setting research and 
        policy agendas.
            (2) While 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 majority of current research 
        focuses on increasing STEM opportunities for middle school-aged 
        children and older.
            (3) Women remain widely underrepresented in the STEM 
        workforce, and this disparity extends down through all levels of 
        education.
SEC. 3. <<NOTE: 42 USC 1862s-5 note.>>  SUPPORTING EARLY CHILDHOOD 
                    AND ELEMENTARY STEM EDUCATION RESEARCH.

    In awarding grants under the Discovery Research PreK-12 program, the 
Director of the National Science Foundation shall consider the age 
distribution of a STEM education research and development project to 
improve the focus of research and development on elementary and 
prekindergarten education.
SEC. 4. SUPPORTING FEMALE STUDENTS IN PREKINDERGARTEN THROUGH 
                    ELEMENTARY SCHOOL IN STEM EDUCATION.

    Section 305(d) of the American Innovation and Competitiveness Act 
(42 U.S.C. 1862s-5(d)) is amended by adding at the end the following:
            ``(3) Research.--As a component of improving participation 
        of women in STEM fields, research funded by a grant under this 
        subsection may include research on--
                    ``(A) the role of teacher training and professional 
                development, including effective incentive structures to 
                encourage teachers to participate in such training and 
                professional development, in encouraging or discouraging 
                female students in prekindergarten through elementary 
                school from participating in STEM activities;

[[Page 133 STAT. 3264]]

                    ``(B) the role of teachers in shaping perceptions of 
                STEM in female students in prekindergarten through 
                elementary school and discouraging such students from 
                participating in STEM activities;
                    ``(C) the role of other facets of the learning 
                environment on the willingness of female students in 
                prekindergarten through elementary school to participate 
                in STEM activities, including learning materials and 
                textbooks, seating arrangements, use of media and 
                technology, classroom culture, and composition of 
                students during group work;
                    ``(D) the role of parents and other caregivers in 
                encouraging or discouraging female students in 
                prekindergarten through elementary school from 
                participating in STEM activities;
                    ``(E) the types of STEM activities that encourage 
                greater participation by female students in 
                prekindergarten through elementary school;
                    ``(F) the role of mentorship and best practices in 
                finding and utilizing mentors; and
                    ``(G) the role of informal and after-school STEM 
                learning opportunities on the perception of and 
                participation in STEM activities of female students in 
                prekindergarten through elementary school.''.
SEC. 5. SUPPORTING FEMALE STUDENTS IN PREKINDERGARTEN THROUGH 
                    ELEMENTARY SCHOOL IN COMPUTER SCIENCE 
                    EDUCATION.

    Section 310(b) of the American Innovation and Competitiveness Act 
(42 U.S.C. 1862s-7(b)) is amended by adding at the end the following:
            ``(3) Uses of funds.--The tools and models described in 
        paragraph (2)(C) may include--
                    ``(A) offering training and professional development 
                programs, including summer or academic year institutes 
                or workshops, designed to strengthen the capabilities of 
                prekindergarten and elementary school teachers and to 
                familiarize such teachers with the role of bias against 
                female students in the classroom;
                    ``(B) offering innovative pre-service and in-service 
                programs that instruct teachers on female-inclusive 
                practices for teaching computing concepts;
                    ``(C) developing distance learning programs for 
                teachers or students, including developing curricular 
                materials, play-based computing activities, and other 
                resources for the in-service professional development of 
                teachers that are made available to teachers through the 
                Internet;
                    ``(D) developing or adapting prekindergarten and 
                elementary school computer science curricular materials 
                that incorporate contemporary research on the science of 
                learning, particularly with respect to female inclusion;
                    ``(E) developing and offering female-inclusive 
                computer science enrichment programs for students, 
                including after-school and summer programs;
                    ``(F) providing mentors for female students in 
                prekindergarten through elementary school to support 
                such students in participating in computer science 
                activities;

[[Page 133 STAT. 3265]]

                    ``(G) engaging female students in prekindergarten 
                through elementary school, and their guardians (if such 
                communication takes place on school premises during 
                otherwise-scheduled conferences or formal conversations 
                between teachers and guardians) about--
                          ``(i) the difficulties faced by female 
                      students with regard to maintaining an interest in 
                      participating in computer science activities; and
                          ``(ii) the potential positive career benefits 
                      of engaging in such activities;
                    ``(H) acquainting female students in prekindergarten 
                through elementary school with careers in computer 
                science and encouraging such students to consider 
                careers in the computer science field; and
                    ``(I) developing tools to evaluate activities 
                conducted under this subsection, including reports for 
                evaluating the effectiveness of activities under this 
                section.''.

    Approved December 24, 2019.

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY--S. 737 (H.R. 1665):
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

SENATE REPORTS: No. 116-78 (Comm. on Commerce, Science, and 
Transportation).
CONGRESSIONAL RECORD, Vol. 165 (2019):
            Sept. 26, considered and passed Senate.
            Dec. 9, considered and passed House.

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