» Tariff Impact on Science Related Educational Materials
The recent implementation of tariffs on imports from China have impacted science related instructional materials. At a time when district funding is under enormous pressure, these tariffs could significantly increase the cost of a wide variety of hands-on science products. HOSP leads the industry effort to obtain exemptions for products that are required for a successful hands-on science classroom.
» California Prop 65 Labeling Requirements
HOSP is working with regulators in California in an attempt to clarify and provide an exemption from certain new labeling requirements under PROP 65. Given the difficulty in determining the level of certain components in instructional products, every product would be required to contain the PROP 65 label. Since most companies distribute materials regionally or nationally, such a requirement could result in certain products and instructional materials being eliminated from the California educational marketplace.
» The Consumer Product Safety Information Act- CPSIA.
In 2010, Congress passed a law banning the use and delivery of certain products to specific audiences. Instructional materials containing lead were among those banned from the marketplace. Implementation of this legislation would have meant many products offered by the hands-on science industry would have been prohibited for sale to academic institutions. HOSP organized a series of presentations and workshops with the Consumer Product Safety Commission to save this important market segment, which resulted in an exemption for products that were combined in kit form and intended for instructional use.
» Capitol Hill Activity
The long-term goal of HOSP is to have science instruction tested and resourced at the same level as math and reading. The following legislative activity resulted in extensive HOSP advocacy work.
- A proposal to eliminate science testing as part of any assessment mechanism for compliance with NCLB and ESSA was defeated.
- The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which expands the pathways for hands on instructional material funding from one program to 12, was passed.
- Funding for hands-on programs expanded from $150 million to more than $1 billion in the recent Congressional budget, while a proposal to eliminate funding for hands-on science materials defeated.
» State Activity
HOSP has recently partnered with Batelle, NSTA, the STEM Ed Coalition and others to institute a STEM State Strategy Group, which will establish state-based coalitions to work for increased science instruction funding at the state, local and district level. The coalition will be working to increase resources provided to districts to create additional opportunities for teachers to fund science instruction activities. Key state activity in 2019 will include California, Oregon, Washington, Illinois, Texas, Florida, North and South Carolina, and Pennsylvania.