This, together with other legislation that was enacted, increased total federal support for all aspects of K-12 education by a projected $59 billion between 2009 and 2010, provided scholarships for a number of future mathematics and science teachers and provided funding for the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) patterned after the Department of Defense’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.2 Processing of student visas was improved, reducing the delays and uncertainties that resulted from post-9/11 changes; however, this continues to be a deterrent to many talented foreign students and professionals.
Table 2-1, derived from an assessment conducted by the Congressional Research Service, summarizes recent Congressional actions, or lack thereof, in response to each of the National Academies’ recommendations and implementing actions in Rising Above the Gathering Storm.
Today, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, intended as a one-time action, is nearing expiration. Without new actions the precipitous reduction in efforts that were being funded by that mechanism will be very damaging to America’s future ability to compete for jobs in the global marketplace. Similarly, authorization for the America COMPETES Act requires renewal this year as it too is scheduled to expire.
Thus, the Gathering Storm effort as viewed in the middle of 2010, although still enjoying strong support in the White House and in both parties in the Congress, finds itself at a tipping point. The issue at stake is whether funding to help assure that Americans can compete for quality jobs will be provided on a sustained basis. The budgetary pressures now faced by the nation make such investments extremely difficult; however, if not made the future consequences in terms of unemployment and related costs will likely be immense. In the judgment of the National Academies Gathering Storm committee, failure to support a strong competitiveness program will have dire consequences for the nation as a whole as well as for its individual citizens.
Regarding increased K-12 education spending, based on a total of $38.8 billion in federal K-12 spending in 2008, and a projected $137.1 billion for 2009 and 2010 combined. See: http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/omb/budget/fy2011/assets/hist09z9.xls.