Yes. As of July 2019, these federal funds can now be used to pay for STEM programs. Here are a few sources of documentation of these recent changes:
Perkins V references STEM as an allowable use of local funds.
A notable change in Perkins V modifies the previous definition of CTE to include “career exploration at the high school level or as early as the middle grades,”1 defined as grades five through eight. This revision marks the first time that Perkins funds can be used for comprehensive CTE programs in those grades, allowing districts to consider Perkins V funds for implementation of 6th-8th grade Science Coach programs
Section 135 (20 U.S.C 2355(b)(5)(M)
(M) supporting programs and activities that increase access, student engagement, and success in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields (including computer science and architecture) for students who are members of groups underrepresented in such subject fields;
Providing professional development for teachers and other practitioners is a required use of Perkins funds. These funds can be used for the summer week-long training and the annual $1,250 job-embedded professional development opportunity.
Perkins V maintains a focus on aligning CTE with industry needs. A key change with the reauthorization is a new reference to “employability skills.” Now, states and districts can intentionally incorporate programs that teach skills like problem solving, communication, collaboration, and other in-demand, transportable skills that are critical to students’ success in college and are proven to be the most demanded and valued in the job market.2 The Science Coach program measures these skills in a very unique and quantifiable manner (see the measurable outcomes in the following FAQ) and has dedicated components of our curriculum which specifically teaches integration of the scientific methodology into a student’s everyday life.
- 20 U.S.C. § 2032(5)(D) 2. The Power of Transportable Skills: Assessing the Demand and Value of the Skills of the Future. Project Lead The Way and Burning Glass Technologies, 2019, www2.pltw.org/TransportableSkillsReport.
Title 1 Funding – ESSA – Every Student Succeeds Act
ESSA provides considerable flexibility for states and stresses the importance of equitable access to a high-quality STEM education. There are nine titles in the ESSA, with two of those titles containing significant support for Science Coach programs. Local and state rules may influence how your school or district can utilize ESSA funding, so school leaders should work with their district CTE leadership to apply for and secure funding under the titles below.
Title I Part A – Title I Part A provides funding to support schools with a high number of students from low-income families, but funding is also meant to ensure all students meet rigorous academic standards regardless of economic status. In schools where more than 40 percent of students come from low-income families, schools may use the funding on schoolwide programs that improve achievement for all students.
Title II Part A – One of the purposes of Title II funding grants is to increase student achievement through teacher professional development. Districts and schools can use Title II Part A funding in a variety of ways to support Science Coach Professional Development including recruiting, teacher training, and innovative pay structures such as paying the teacher compensation for the after-school work. According to the federal statute and guidance, specific activities may include: • Providing professional learning opportunities to STEM educators. • Supporting STEM educators as they implement new courses, such as computer science and engineering. • Providing differential or incentive pay for educators in high-need subject areas, such as STEM, to serve in high-need schools, or to reward the work of teachers and leaders who have demonstrated effectiveness in improving student outcomes in STEM areas.