The National Science Board (NSB) of the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Governors Association (NGA) held a joint briefing on Capitol Hill on 26 April 2007. The briefing introduced the NSB’s national action plan for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education and the NGA’s initiative, “Innovation America.” The initiative is a partnership with the NSB intended to strengthen the nation’s competitive edge in a global economy through innovation.

Speakers at the briefing included, Dr. Steven C. Beering, Chairman of the National Science Board, Dr. Elizabeth Hoffman, Executive Vice President and Provost at Iowa State University, Dr. Jo Anne Vasquez, Director for Policy and Outreach at the Center for Research on Education in Science, Mathematics, Engineering and Technology (CRESMET) at Arizona State University, and Ms. Joan Wodiska, Director of Education, Early Childhood and Workforce Committee in the Office of Federal Relations at the NGA.

Speakers from the National Science Board highlighted goals of the STEM education plan including instituting a coordinated system of STEM education, where if a student changes schools (different cities, counties, or states) they are guaranteed to receive the same training for higher education or for joining the nation’s workforce and having highly effective and well-supported teachers. The NSB emphasized the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) role in STEM education stating that NSF, through Math Science Partnerships, is to promote a diverse and well-prepared workforce of STEM professionals and educators, disseminate findings to the science and education community, and to promote a public understanding of science. Other recommendations made includes suggesting the creation of a new office to coordinate efforts in the Department of Education, proposing that the National Science and Technology Commission coordinate programs scattered among agencies for a consolidated effort.

Ms. Wodiska of the NGA, argued that if we do not innovate today, our children will be left behind in the global economy. According to Wodiska, “…today’s students are tomorrow’s biologists, engineers”.

 


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