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Candice M.
Republican MI 10

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  • Academic Competition Resolution of 2013

    by Representative Candice S. Miller

    Posted on 2013-02-26

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    MILLER of Michigan. Mr. Speaker, I move to suspend the rules and agree to the resolution (H. Res. 77) establishing an academic competition in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics among students in Congressional districts.



    The Clerk read the title of the resolution.

    The text of the resolution is as follows: H. Res. 77 Resolved, SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This resolution may be cited as the ``Academic Competition Resolution of 2013''.

    SEC. 2. FINDINGS.

    The House of Representatives finds as follows: (1) STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) fields and knowledge have been integral to the development of civilization over the centuries.

    (2) STEM fields have been, and continue to be, vital to a healthy and thriving United States.

    (3) STEM fields are even more important in a world and nation of continuous and rapid technological advancements and needs.

    (4) STEM fields are necessary to ensure a qualified national workforce and growing American economy, and a recent study predicted that one-half of all STEM jobs in 2020 will be related to the field of computer science.

    (5) A recent study found that less than one-third of eighth graders in the United States showed proficiency in mathematics and science.

    (6) A recent study found that only 9 States allowed computer science courses to count toward high school students' core graduation requirements.

    (7) A recent study found that only one-third of the bachelor's degrees earned in the United States are in a STEM field.

    (8) A recent study found that more than one-half of the science and engineering graduate students in institutions of higher education in the United States are from outside the United States.

    (9) Efforts to encourage students to work in STEM fields will enhance collaborative efforts between our secondary education systems and STEM-related fields and industries.

    (10) The global economy demands that the United States continue to lead the world in innovation, creativity, and STEM-related research.

    (11) Bringing together Members of Congress and their younger constituents to participate in activities that will result in a deeper appreciation for STEM fields will foster enthusiasm for education in the sciences.

    (12) The support which students will gain through Congressional recognition of their work on STEM-related projects will encourage them to pursue career paths in STEM studies and research.

    (13) It is appropriate for the House of Representatives to institute a new and worthwhile competition to encourage students to participate in STEM studies and research.

    (14) Rapid technological change means the competition will evolve over time and will challenge students in specialized areas of science, technology, engineering and math to ensure maximum participation. Because of the importance of computer science it would be appropriate to initially challenge students to develop so-called ``apps'' for mobile, tablet, and computer platforms.

    SEC. 3. CONGRESSIONAL COMPETITION IN SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY, ENGINEERING, AND MATHEMATICS.

    (a) Establishment of Competition.--There is hereby established an academic competition in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics which shall be held each year among students in each Congressional district.

    (b) Regulations.--The competition under this resolution shall be carried out in accordance with such regulations as may be prescribed by the Committee on House Administration, except that the regulations shall permit the office of a Member to seek guidance from outside experts in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics for the purposes of establishing criteria for the selection of competition judges and for the judgment of competition submissions.

    The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to the rule, the gentlewoman from Michigan (Mrs. Miller) and the gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. Brady) each will control 20 minutes.

    The Chair recognizes the gentlewoman from Michigan.

    General Leave Mrs. MILLER of Michigan. Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that all Members have 5 legislative days to revise and extend their remarks on the House resolution.

    The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is there objection to the request of the gentlewoman from Michigan? There was no objection.

    Mrs. MILLER of Michigan. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

    I rise today in very strong support of House Resolution 77 to establish an academic competition that promotes innovation among students from across the country in the science, technology, engineering, and math--or the ``STEM'' fields, as they are called.

    This program will be modeled after the Congressional Art Competition. This Congressional Academic Competition will be a nationwide STEM innovation competition for participating students in every congressional district. Each year, students will submit STEM projects or programs to their Representatives for consideration. Representatives, Members of Congress, will then select the winning submissions that will be recognized in Washington, D.C., each year. The initial focus of this competition will be software applications. Submissions will likely include smart phone apps, management software programs, and social media technologies.

    STEM positions are among the fastest growing occupations. Unfortunately, organizations are having a difficult time filling these positions with qualified and diverse candidates. At least half the growth in the U.S. gross domestic product over the last 50 years has been due to science and engineering. Yet the United States, unfortunately, is losing its competitive edge in those fields. According to a 2010 National Academies report, the United States ranked 27th among developed countries in the proportion of college students earning bachelor's degrees in science or engineering.

    As I mentioned, it is our intent to model this program after the Artistic Discovery Competition. I would say, Mr. Speaker, since my arrival here in Congress, I've just marveled at the incredible abilities, the talents, the creativity of young artists from my district, and I have certainly been honored to display the winning submission here in the Capitol building.

    I truly believe that the Artistic Discovery has worked to inspire those artists to hone their skills and advance their creativity. This STEM competition, this program that we are talking about today, could do so much more of the same and perhaps help us discover the next Steve Jobs or Bill Gates. This would not only help our young people to thrive, but it would also advance our entire economy.

    A study by the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology found that, over the next decade, ``economic forecasts point to a need for producing approximately 1 million more college graduates in STEM fields than expected.'' We are nowhere near meeting that goal, and this competition would be a [[Page H644]] no-cost way to further interest in the field. Additionally, fewer than one-third of the eighth graders in the United States show proficiency in science and mathematics. Actually, only nine States allow computer science courses to count toward high school graduation requirements. I know we can do better than that.

    We can help America's schools to do more to prepare our children in the STEM fields. We can help to stimulate the workforce by helping America's young people to not only be prepared but to ably fill the STEM jobs in our economy as they are created. It is vital to our economy and to our future that America remain competitive in this growing field. We can encourage and embrace STEM innovation through this bipartisan academic competition.

    In an ever-competitive global economy, I know that America's young people can be the world's greatest source of innovation and creativity. We can improve our Nation's economy and help provide countless of our children great opportunities in the future by encouraging their imaginations and by honoring their hard work. If there are STEM jobs available, we must make every effort to ensure that American young people fill these positions.

    This competition will help students see the value of STEM fields and engage them with the topics throughout their lives. We also need to help students who are interested in science and engineering maintain that interest so that they can become scientists and engineers. Encouraging greater innovation and participation in STEM fields will help our students and, again, help our Nation to succeed in the future. We know all too well how difficult our economy has been in recent years, but even in this tough economy a lot of these tech industries have flourished. It's important to empower our young people with the necessary tools to succeed when it comes time for them to enter the labor force.

    The action that we take today could help empower the next generation because this competition will offer the opportunity for students to expand their horizons and to potentially find interest or maintain their interest in one of our economy's fastest growing occupations. We can improve our students' academic achievements in education in hopes of preparing them for these opportunities in their futures.

    As former U.S. Secretary of Education Bill Bennett has said: As a Nation, we simply must get this message to schools, businesses, corporations, State departments of education, Governors, and beyond. STEM education is an urgent need for our Nation. We cannot continue to graduate students ill- prepared for our Nation's economic necessities--or their own.

    Mr. Speaker, we believe that this proposed academic competition will inspire and encourage young innovators and better equip our youth to compete in today's global economy.

    Far too often, I would note, this House seems to be unable to come to agreement on ways to solve America's challenges, and I know on this issue we all agree. It's a bipartisan effort. We all love our children. We all want them to succeed. We want them to reach their full potential, and we certainly want to honor their hard work as they reach toward a brighter future. So I would urge all of my colleagues, Mr. Speaker, to join me in supporting this small step toward that brighter future.

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