Reps. Frank Lucas, R-Okla., and Eddie Bernice Johnson, D-Texas, released a new bill that aims to improve science, technology, engineering, math, and computer science (STEM) education in rural communities.

Rep. Lucas, who is the Ranking Member for the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee, said in a press release that “rural communities can provide unique STEM educational experiences where students can take part in the science occurring in the farms, forests, and water around them.”

“This bill provides more support to rural schools, encourages place-based learning, and supports research into rural STEM educational challenges,” he continued.

The Rural STEM Education Research Act will give teachers more resources and training in STEM, engage students in hands-on education with their communities, increase broadband access, and support rural STEM education research. Additionally, the bill will help develop best practices for accessing and using computer-based and online STEM education courses, as well as direct the National Institute of Standards and Technology to establish a prize competition that will stimulate innovations in technologies to improve broadband connectivity in underserved areas.

“The COVID-19 crisis has highlighted some of the challenges rural communities face when it comes to STEM education,” said Rep. Johnson, Democratic Chairwoman on the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee. “To ensure we continue to have a world-leading STEM workforce in the future, we must do all we can to provide students everywhere with the inspiration, knowledge, and skills they need pursue their dreams.”

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