an excerpt from the new MassGov request for STEM public awareness services
Massachusetts has a history and tradition of invention and ingenuity in the areas of scientific discovery and technological innovation. But, given the constant change and evolution occurring in the world today, global leadership is up for grabs.
Massachusetts needs to maintain its leadership position in STEM ( science, technology, engineering, mathematics) education and career growth sectors by continuing to attract and foster ideas + capital + innovators.
The most critical factor in converting that formula into economic success is a highly educated, highly skilled workforce. To build a strong and dependable STEM pipeline, Massachusetts must increase student awareness, interest and preparation, educate parents and adults, and improve educator effectiveness.
Among these strategies, increasing student awareness and interest is paramount for attracting students to the STEM fields and for producing the number of workers needed to fill the jobs of the 21st century. Thus, the messages we craft about the importance of STEM are critical.
So too are the methodologies used to deliver these messages to the target audiences — which include students, parents, teachers, the business community, and perhaps the general public. What is most clear is that the Commonwealth cannot remain competitive in the global economy without STEM skilled workers and a citizenry literate in general STEM concepts.
Promoting STEM education is therefore of paramount importance, not only to current and future workers, but to the Commonwealth as a whole.
Within the last decade, Massachusetts has seen the creation of a formalized funding stream devoted to increasing student interest in, and preparation for, STEM majors and careers in the form of the STEM Pipeline Fund; has encouraged and supported the development of regional STEM networks made up of educators, businesses and other STEM stakeholders; has funded numerous student and teacher STEM centered programs and projects; has witnessed the creation of a 40 member STEM Advisory Council led by the Lieutenant Governor; has published a comprehensive STEM Plan released at the 2010 STEM Summit; and, has advanced the scale-up of targeted STEM programs under an initiative known as @Scale.
[ insert] DIGITS, a new brand and program created pro bono by Arnold Worldwide for MassGov introduced STEM to six-graders in the classroom . Now an all new, all encompassing brand is being conceived to carry the work further and to all ages and STEM stakeholders.
Whether, or how much, some these activities have directly affected the interest and academic performance of the students in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts is yet to be conclusively proven and documented. However, we do see two things:
(1) An improvement in Massachusetts test scores in math and science as measured by the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) and from results on national and international standardized tests such as the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP)
The full request for a proposal released in February 2013 is funded with a $45,000 budget..
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