80th Annual Meeting

WHEREAS, the continued intellectual and economic well-being and prosperity of the United States depends on a skilled and educated workforce; and

WHEREAS, an educated workforce includes students trained in the subjects of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM); and

WHEREAS, in an international exam given to 15 year olds in 2009, U.S. high school students ranked significantly behind 12 industrialized nations in science and ranked 17th in math; and

WHEREAS, it has become a national priority to enhance STEM education; and

WHEREAS, in addition to formal classroom instruction, students should be exposed to science through informal science education (ISE) environments in order to spark their interest, and motivation and enhance their learning experiences in STEM; and

WHEREAS, science centers are the primary source of informal science education; and

WHEREAS, over 61 percent of Americans visited zoos, aquariums, science museums, and natural history museums in 2008; and

WHEREAS, our nation's science centers provide the following educational resources;

  • 90 percent offer classes and demonstrations;

  • 89 percent offer school outreach programs;

  • 82 percent offer workshops for teachers;

  • 75 percent offer curriculum materials;

  • 56 percent offer after-school programs; and

WHEREAS, the National Research Council of the National Academies found that science learning takes place throughout life and that it occurs in non-school settings; and

WHEREAS, federal agencies that support informal science education include the National Science Foundation, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and the Institute of Museum and Library Services; and

WHEREAS, there are science centers in almost every U.S. city.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the U.S. Conference of Mayors strongly encourages the Obama Administration and the U.S. Congress to fully fund Informal Science Education programs in Fiscal Year 2013; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that in establishing federal STEM policies, the Obama Administration and the U.S. Congress emphasize the unique role of America's Science Centers in providing STEM education.