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California's 40th District

Apr 1, 2023 | In The News

Rep. Haley Stevens (D-MI), Rep. Jim Baird (R-IN), Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA), and Rep. Young Kim (R-CA) introduced the Data Science and Literacy Act in the House of Representatives February 14, following advocacy by the ASA and its members that formally kicked off at the Joint Statistical Meetings. The sponsors spoke passionately about the need for great data literacy in a statement:

“Data education is integral to bolstering our global competitiveness, unlocking good-paying jobs, and fostering a well-informed society. I am proud to introduce this legislation that helps ensure, no matter their background or ZIP code, that all students are equipped with the necessary tools and knowledge to prepare them for a career in the STEM fields.”
-Rep. Stevens


“The Data Science and Literacy Act will equip educational institutions with the tools they need to teach students of all ages and across all regions of the country the skills needed to get good-paying jobs and help our nation win the future. I will always support opportunities for students to access a quality education and achieve their dream.”
-Rep. Kim

“We live in a world full of data—from the logistics information collected to streamline supply chain operations, to the tracking done by the public health industry to halt the spread of diseases, to the data collected by our smartphones about our everyday lives. As the use of data to optimize operations across industries increases, so does the demand for data literacy in America’s workforce.”
-Rep. Beyer

“As world leaders in technological advancement, it’s essential that we create programs that increase access to data science and literacy education so students from an early age can earn a well-rounded STEM education. Improved access to these tools is essential for building tomorrow’s workforce …”
-Rep. Baird

The ASA was one of 18 organizations endorsing the bill at its introduction, and 2022 ASA President Katherine B. Ensor was also quoted in Stevens’ press release:

Statistics and data science are fundamental to production, innovation, and discovery, so there is a high demand for a workforce with statistics and data science skills. Everyone receives data-driven information and faces data-driven decisions daily. The Stevens-Baird-Beyer-Kim Data Science and Literacy Act brings attention to the tremendous job opportunities for data-savvy students. It helps schools provide statistics and data science education that meets workforce and society demands and prepares future researchers.

The Data Science and Literacy Act of 2023, the drafting of which was led by then-ASA Science Policy Fellow Ed Wu, supports a voluntary program at the Department of Education through which educational entities (pre-K–12 and two- and four-year colleges) can apply for funding to increase access to data science and literacy education. The bill would authorize $10 million annually for this program. Eligible entities such as states, local educational agencies, tribal schools, and institutions of higher education can use grant funding to do the following:

  • Ensure access to data science, data literacy, and statistics education for all students served by the eligible entity
  • Promote data science, data literacy, and statistics through professional development for teachers and developing learning material
  • Expand access to STEM classes, using data science and literacy as a catalyst for increased interest in STEM more broadly
  • Address equity gaps in access to STEM courses

“It’s essential all children leave high school able to live and work in a data-driven world,” said Donna LaLonde, ASA associate executive director, in the ASA press release that also highlighted the ASA’s guidance for pre-K–12 statistical education: Guidelines for Assessment and Instruction in Statistics Education (GAISE) and the 2022 Joint ASA-National Council of Teachers of Mathematics Position Statement on Preparing PK–12 Teachers of Statistics and Data Science.

The ASA press release also supported the case for the bill and greater data literacy. Data-driven roles such as data scientist and statistician are among the fastest-growing positions in the United States, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ top 10 fastest-growing occupation projections, which have included statisticians continuously since the 2014–2024 projection. The 2021–2031 projection estimates a 33 percent increase in employment for statisticians and—for the second consecutive time—includes the closely related occupation data scientist in the top 10 list.

In addition, the press release noted the ASA’s documentation of the rapid growth of the number of bachelor’s and master’s degrees in statistics—a six-fold increase for the former and 2.5 for the latter—and related fields awarded annually and the number of universities granting those degrees.

ASA staff and collaborators are seeking bipartisan introduction in the Senate.

Help Build Support for the Bill

While the bill’s introduction in the House is exciting, it’s a first step in the ASA’s work to promote greater statistical and data literacy. Besides having a companion bill in the Senate, the more representatives and senators who are aware of the importance of such literacy for our country and for providing access to 21st-century jobs, the better. Your outreach is critical to building awareness and securing more support for the bill, which improves its chances of influence and enactment. Here are ways to help:

  • Urge your organization/employer to show their support for the bill by signing the letter organized by Data Science 4 Everyone. (Ignore this request if you work for a federal, state, or local government or other ineligible organization.) We’d especially welcome organizations with a multi-state presence.
  • Voice your support for the bill as an individual by signing the same Data Science 4 Everyone letter.
  • Sign up to participate in an upcoming ASA Virtual Advocacy Day to urge your US representative(s) and senators to support the Data Science and Literacy Act.
  • Share news of the bill with your networks.


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