Thursday, July 3, 2014

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson has released a blue print for California schools to improve education in the science. Titled INNOVATE: A Blueprint for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics in California Public Education, the blue print outlines seven major steps:

1. Public Awareness: Increase public awareness about the importance of STEM education to ensure support for these fields of study.

2. Resources: Increase support for STEM learning from government, business, charities, and communities through partnerships.

3. Access: Make high-quality STEM experiences and programs accessible to all students in and out of school, before and after school, and to underrepresented youth and girls.

4. Framework: Establish guidance for STEM teaching and learning in all grades that line up with the Common Core State Standards and Next Generation Science Standards.

5. Professional Learning: Adopt policies and standards to train teachers in STEM education.

6. Assessment and Accountability: Consider STEM in the state’s testing and accountability systems.

7. Availability of STEM Materials: Ensure that STEM programs can identify and access excellent learning resources.

STEM jobs are expected to grow 21.4 percent over the next five years, versus a 10.4 percent growth in jobs overall, and business leaders say they do not have enough skilled workers to fill these jobs. Even students who work outside the STEM fields will have to deal with complex issues that require strong science competence. They will also be consumers of increasingly sophisticated technologies.

Torlakson wants educators to attend the Second Annual California STEM Symposium on September 21–23, 2014, in San Diego as part of continuing efforts to enhance STEM education in California. This gathering will showcase STEM programs, curriculum, strategies, resources, Common Core, and Next Generation Science Standards. More than 200 presenters will share their best practices with attendees. Registration is now open. Presenters and vendors are invited to apply to showcase their STEM programs, projects, and products. To sign up, visit the Californians Dedicated to Education Web page.

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