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STEM Education Is A Critical Path To Success
If you read the newspaper or follow the blogosphere, you cannot help but notice that STEM education is a front-and-center issue these days, a subject resonating in the classroom and the boardroom, as well as in the Oval Office. President Obama, in his 2011 State of the Union Address, declared STEM education a national priority:
“The quality of our math and science education lags behind many other nations. America has fallen to ninth in the proportion of young people with a college degree. And so the question is whether all of us — as citizens, and as parents — are willing to do what’s necessary to give every child a chance to succeed.”
He also stated that improved investment in STEM education is a critical path to securing our nation’s future:
” …Over the next 10 years, with so many baby boomers retiring from our classrooms, we want to prepare 100,000 new teachers in the fields of science and technology and engineering and math.”
With the gauntlet thrown down, the task for all of us who care about education is to muster the support we need to prepare the next generation to effectively and efficiently pursue vital STEM careers — a challenge that will require assistants from many sectors. One key partner willing to help is the business community.
I was fortunate enough to participate in the recent MA STEM Summit 2011 where educators, business leaders, and government officials came together to discuss how collective action can contribute to improve education outcomes. It was a meeting full of terrific ideas and shared commitment, where the tone was set by the keynote speaker Dr. Linda Rosen of Change the Equation.
In her speech, Dr. Rosen spoke to the many challenges of producing a well-educated workforce capable of thriving in an innovation economy as well as the need to encourage girls and minorities to consider STEM careers. She also spoke to the need for collaboration amongst government, educators and business and the mission of Change the Equation to create broad support for STEM education as an investment in our nation that empowers us all.
You can see Dr. Rosen’s PowerPoint presentation here.
Today, there a keen national interest in support STEM learning, and we, as educators, have a real opportunity to make a significant impact on our nation’s future vitality and leadership. Business and government are willing to offer some support, but it is up to the education community to show the way. In the coming weeks, I hope we can start a discussion that highlights programs an initiatives that promote good STEM learning, while also giving voice to innovative and creative efforts by educators who are striving to make a positive impact on America’s future.
I welcome your comments and feedback.
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Solomon Menashi spent the first part of his professional life running a highly-successful, high-tech manufacturing firm. For the past 10 years, he’s been working in education — teaching, leading, and learning. He is founder and Executive Director of Mindsurfers, which focuses on building the confidence, skills and enthusiasm of underserved students in the fields of science, technology, math and engineering. Solomon holds an Ed.M from Harvard University Graduate School of Education. You can also follow him on Twitter at #mindsurfers.