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More Convincing Needed

A number of US congressional committees have criticized the Obama administration plan to reorganize US science education programs, ScienceInsider reports, adding that the "sharpest criticism" came last week from the Senate Appropriations Committee.

The administration's plan would consolidate 226 programs, currently housed at a dozen different agencies, under the auspices of one of three agencies: the Department of Education, the National Science Foundation, or the Smithsonian. The goal, according to the administration, is to do away with duplicated and ineffective programs.

The Senate Appropriations Committee voiced concern that the proposal was rushed. "While the committee maintains its support for greater efficiencies and consolidation … [it] has concerns that the proposal has not been thoroughly vetted with the education community or congressional authorizing committees and lacks thorough guidance and input from Federal agencies affected by the proposal," it said.

Other committees, ScienceInsider notes, have noted similar issues. In a spending bill covering the Department of Health and Human Services, which includes the National Institutes of Health, lawmakers said they weren't sure how programs at the NIH Office of Science Education and elsewhere would fare under the restructuring. "The Committee is not convinced that the quality of these programs would be maintained if they were moved to other Federal agencies," it said in a report that went with the spending bill, according to ScienceInsider.