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NASA’s Elementary and Secondary Education Program: Review and Critique
Under the 2006 education strategic coordination framework, the headquarters Office of Education assumes a planning, coordination, and compliance role as a support office under the chief of strategic communications. The office is specifically tasked to “draw on content from across the Agency,” and to provide “national partnership networks and infrastructure to disseminate NASA education content and activities developed by the Mission Directorates, Centers, and education partners” (NASA, 2006a, p. 8).
The mission directorates and center education offices currently play a major role in the current K-12 education portfolio. The mission directorates are responsible for including education components in their research and development programs and flight missions, implementing the content-specific activities for which they provide funding, collaborating between the NASA science and engineering community and the education community, and providing performance data to the headquarters Office of Education. The center education offices are responsible for implementing NASA education projects, as well as planning and implementing center-funded education programs.
The headquarters Office of Education is trying to operate effectively while coping with fluctuations in organization and funding. However, the ongoing nature and frequency of such fluctuations has made it difficult for the agency to properly assess project quality or to develop long-term strategy and plans for evaluation.