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Senators Schatz and Brown Introduce Legislation to Modernize Schools

INSPIRES Act Would Help Schools and Community Colleges Update Their STEM Facilities

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i) and Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) introduced the Inspiring New STEM Professionals by Investing in Renovation of Education Spaces (INSPIRES) Act of 2015.  The INSPIRES Act would provide school districts, community colleges, and other education institutions funding for modernizing, renovating, or repairing STEM and career and technical education (CTE) facilities.

“Over the past decade, we have seen STEM job growth outpace all others, but because of a lack of resources, our schools have not kept up with the demand,”
said Senator Schatz.  “The federal government can do more to help states provide better learning environments to help students achieve their full potential.  The INSPIRES Act would give educators more resources to modernize their facilities and expand access to STEM education so that our students have greater opportunities to succeed.”

“With our global competitors investing in STEM, we must ensure that American students have the resources they need to remain competitive,”
said Senator Brown. “This federal investment will ensure that all students – regardless of their zip code – have the modern educational facilities needed to prepare for high-demand careers.  The INSPIRES Act would help give students across the nation the chance excel in STEM education and become the next generation of researchers, statisticians, and engineers.”

With the STEM job market expected to continue its rapid growth, the INSPIRES Act aims to improve the quality and availability of STEM and CTE instruction by providing grants to local educational agencies (LEAs) and community colleges for improvements to much-needed facilities.  It would also require at least 25 percent of the funds available be directed to high-need LEAs or to community colleges that serve a significant number of rural students.

“Our nation’s schools and community colleges must provide students with the knowledge and skills necessary for success in the 21st century. Sadly, too many of our educational facilities are inadequate for supporting effective STEM and technical learning opportunities,” said Rachel Gutter, Director of the Center for Green Schools at the U.S. Green Building Council.  “We applaud Senator Schatz’s leadership to modernize school facilities so that we may best prepare our future leaders for their careers.”