Late last month, the Department of Education and NASA signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) intended to strengthen the collaboration between the two agencies. The agencies pledged to work more closely on their joint efforts to increase access to high-quality science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) and space education to students and schools across the nation.
Specifically, the MoU enhances and expands the agencies’ partnership that promotes STEM education to students from diverse backgrounds. A press release from both agencies said this strengthened partnership “reinforces the importance of Biden-Harris Administration priorities for STEM, climate, space exploration, and Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility.”
“I am excited for this partnership with NASA that will inspire and prepare young people from all backgrounds to become our next generation of leaders in STEM fields and to propel our nation and our workforce into the future,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona. “From the groundbreaking Apollo mission to today’s Artemis program, which will land the first woman and first person of color on the Moon, NASA’s work has long galvanized the world to raise the bar and reach for new heights.”
“I am proud that our agencies will continue to intentionally collaborate to enrich STEM teaching and learning in America’s classrooms; expand access to high-quality, hands-on career, technical, and space education; increase the capacity and diversity of our nation’s STEM educator workforce; and so much more,” Cardona added.
A press release further noted that NASA and the Department of Education are currently working on upcoming collaborations, which include the development of an agreement to provide NASA STEM content and technical assistance for its 21st Century Community Learning Centers Program. According to NASA, this initiative funds after-school programming across the nation. NASA also is providing content for both the U.S. Department of Education’s YOU Belong in STEM initiative and Your Place in Space student challenge.
“The first humans who will walk on Mars and the innovators who will help humanity reach the Red Planet are students in America’s classrooms today. NASA and the Department of Education know we need the whole of the Artemis Generation – young people from all parts of America and all walks of life – to achieve big goals, overcome our greatest challenges, and inspire the world through science and discovery,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson.
“Today’s signing, with the support of Vice President Harris and the National Space Council, continues NASA’s collaborative efforts with the Department of Education to amplify the excitement of space to all students across our country, allowing every young person to know they are a part of the Artemis Generation – today and for decades to come,” Nelson added.