NY

Sen. Charles Schumer urges tech diplomas

ALBANY — U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer proposed an initiative Wednesday to create two high school diplomas with a focus on math, science and vocational studies. The diplomas would prepare students for local jobs in high-tech industries in upstate New York.

Schumer said the goal was to increase high school graduation rates and connect New Yorkers with jobs in manufacturing, nanotechnology and biosciences by training them to fill positions in the emerging fields.

“The local workforce does not have the skills needed to fill these jobs,” Schumer said during a conference call with reporters. “A high school graduate with proper training could easily fill these positions.”

The Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) diploma would provide further education for fields in high-tech industries and the Career and Technical Education (CTE) diploma would focus on the education needed for technical skills and manufacturing jobs, Schumer said.

The STEM diploma would include an advanced calculus course or extra science course for an advanced degree in technology. The CTE diploma would have students participate in specialized training programs, which could replace an elective or core course.

Some possible CTE substitutions for students to learn technical skills include a Federal Aviation Administration certification, a Cisco Certified Entry Networking Technician certification or a National Occupational Competency Testing Institute Job Ready Assessment, Schumer said.

“Creating these new diplomas and skills will help encourage students to graduate, get jobs right out of high school and also encourage students to pursue jobs in science and engineering,” Schumer said.

The state Board of Regents must approve the two proposed diplomas, and Schumer said the board would work with education organizations to determine how to incorporate the new curriculum into the education system.

Dennis Tompkins, a spokesman for the state Education Department, said the board would review Schumer’s proposal, and he commended the Democratic senator’s suggestions.

 

source: http://www.democratandchronicle.com/article/20121114/NEWS01/311140039/Charles-Schumer-workforce-education


Youngsters compete to program robots that aid seniors

About 140 youngsters ages 9 to 14 put themselves and their robots in senior citizens’ shoes on November 10.

The FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Lego League 2012 Twin Tiers Robotics Challenge at Corning Community College challenged 18 teams to propose solutions and program and operate robots to solve daily problems faced by seniors.

Participants had eight weeks to consult with the elderly to find out what challenges they face and then apply robotics and problem-solving skills to pose technological solutions.

“I learned a lot because they’re really active, but they still have so many challenges,” Harry Craig, 10, a member of “Russel’s Army,” said of the seniors he interviewed.

Robots were programmed to solve such issues as regulating medication, navigating uneven ground, lifting heavy objects, turning on/off appliances, reaching very high or low objects, and more.

Tournament director Roe Hemenway said this year’s theme was one of his favorites because it’s not just about technology, but about the interaction among generations.

Teams were judged on the construction and technical mechanics of the robot, core values shown by participants, research and presentation of solutions, system engineering, and scores earned during the robot game, a timed challenge. More than 20,000 teams worldwide were playing the same robot game.

“This is like the Superbowl for my son,” said Cheryl Boychuck, of Corning. “I’m thrilled that there’s an opportunity for kids who aren’t sports-oriented to take advantage of all the team-building skills.”

Six teams will advance to the regional competition at the University of Rochester: “LEGO da Vinci” from Ithaca, “IRS (Innovation for Retired Seniors)” from Ithaca, “Bots of the Round Table” from Trumansburg, “Team K-9” from Corning, “Team 1” from Horseheads and “The Cult of Skaro” from Corning.

 

 

source: http://www.stargazette.com/article/20121110/NEWS01/311100034/Twin-Tiers-youngsters-compete-program-robots-aid-seniors


At Technology High School, Goal Isn’t to Finish in 4 Years

Flakes of green paint are peeling from the third-floor windowsills. Some desks are patched with tape, others etched with graffiti. The view across the street is of a row of boarded-up brownstones.

The building and its surroundings in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, may look run-down, but inside 150 Albany Avenue may sit the future of the country’s vocational education: The first 230 pupils of a new style of school that weaves high school and college curriculums into a six-year program tailored for a job in the technology industry.

By 2017, the first wave of students of P-Tech — Pathways in Technology Early College High School — is expected to emerge with associate’s degrees in applied science in computer information systems or electromechanical engineering technology, following a course of studies developed in consultation with I.B.M.

“I mean, in 10th grade, doing college work?” said Monesia McKnight, 15, as she sat in an introduction to computer systems course taught by a college professor. “How great is that?”

Many with four-year degrees are facing a transforming economy where jobs require less generalized types of education and more of the skills that many college graduates lack, in science, technology, engineering or math.

Into this breach, school systems around the country have been aiming to start new high schools like P-Tech. Officials in Chicago were so taken by New York’s school that they opened five similar schools this year with corporate partners in telecommunications and technology. Besides New York and Illinois, education officials in Maine, Massachusetts, Missouri, North Carolina and Tennessee have committed to creating such schools, and the Obama administration has recommended that Congress provide more money for vocational education — the preferred name is career and technical education, or C.T.E. — to promote this approach.

A year from now, New York City plans to open two more schools just like P-Tech, focusing on other growing industries in the city, possibly including health care. A fourth one is planned to open in September 2014. The State Board of Regents is also trying to develop assessment exams for this type of school, perhaps one that could be substituted for one of the usual Regents tests.

“When we view high-quality C.T.E. programs, we see how engaged those students are and what clear aspirations they have for their future,” said John B. King Jr., the state education commissioner. “Unfortunately, that’s not always present in some of our struggling schools.”

P-Tech, which began last year with a ninth grade and now has a 10th grade, is inside Paul Robeson High School, which is being phased out because of poor performance. Students attend from 8:35 a.m. to 4:06 p.m., in 10-period days that intersperse traditional classes like math and English with technology and business-centric courses like “workplace learning,” which teaches networking, critical thinking and presentation skills. Second-year students are offered physics and global studies as well as the business courses and college-level courses in speech or logic and problem solving — or both. There is also a six-week summer academy for geometry.

The objective is to prepare students for entry-level technology jobs paying around $40,000 a year, like software specialists who answer questions from I.B.M.’s business customers or “deskside support” workers who answer calls from PC users, with opportunities for advancement.

Stanley S. Litow, the president of I.B.M.’s International Foundation, the company’s philanthropic arm, and a former deputy schools chancellor in New York, said that the P-Tech curriculum was mapped backward: I.B.M.’s own employees were analyzed to learn what skills a student would need.

Each student also is paired with a mentor from the company, as is the principal, Rashid F. Davis; students take trips to I.B.M. facilities to learn such things as how computer chips are made; the company helped train the school’s 18 teachers, and it provides a full-time liaison based at the school to work with faculty from the New York City College of Technology and the City University of New York, which also helped develop the course work. Mr. Litow said that while no positions at I.B.M. could be guaranteed six years in the future, the company would give P-Tech students preference for openings. They would also be well-trained for other information technology jobs, Mr. Litow said.

“Because that is the problem,” he said. “Too few kids have these skills.”

P-Tech students are chosen by lottery, with academics not factored in, said Josh Thomases, the Education Department’s deputy chief academic officer. Mr. Davis said that 52 percent of last year’s ninth graders scored below proficiency on their math and English eighth-grade exams. But he noted that 76 of those 102 pupils had already passed the English and Integrated Algebra Regents exams. He said 16 took a college class over the summer at the New York City College of Technology, and since school began this year, they and 34 others are enrolled in at least one college class that is taught at P-Tech by one of three professors from the college.

“At the center of all this is the notion that there are young people who have as much potential to learn what we think of as basic academics as anyone, but whose learning style, whose interests and preferences are for doing things where they can see: ‘What does this mean? Why am I doing this?’ ” said Stephen F. Hamilton, a professor of human development at Cornell University who has studied the success of Germany’s apprenticeship programs.

“Right now,” he added, “I think what P-Tech is trying to do is laudable.”

There were 600 applicants for the second freshman class, or about six times as many as for the first.

This is despite the school’s threadbare appearance. Mr. Davis said he pours most of his resources into academics — even using Robeson’s beat-up desks to save on costs.

“You have to know where to place your priorities, and our priorities are in the intellectual capital of the people that we hire,” said Mr. Davis, who added that 88 percent of his students were poor enough to qualify for free or reduced-price lunch (the citywide average is about 75 percent).

Whether the school is worth the investment depends on how it is compared. Since most vocational schools finish in four years — Mr. Litow said some P-Tech students could “be on a fast track” to finish in four — the six-year program costs the city more. But most of the jobs the students are aiming for require at least a two-year associate’s degree as well. Absent financial aid, New York City’s community colleges charge $3,900 a year in tuition.

“And what is the return on the individual student?” Mr. Litow said. “It is the difference between a low-wage job with no career and the solid wages and skills to have a productive middle-class job.”

Several students at P-Tech said they felt the school was giving them a new start in academia, by appealing to their passions for learning something that moved them. Some were already looking beyond the prospect of an I.B.M. job, like Eketa Roberts, 15, who said she wanted to be a lawyer, possibly in technology; Cierra Copeland, 15, who wants to be a cardiac surgeon; and Clifton McDonald, 15, who wants to create technology that improves on prosthetics, and also write fiction. Clifton has already written five chapters of a novel about a boy with amnesia, “who woke up in a world that he doesn’t completely recognize.”

Another, Lamar Agard, 14, noted the practical realities, too.

“I’m getting an associate degree,” he said as he sat in his ninth-grade math class. “It’s giving me the opportunity of getting my college degree without having to pay for it.”

Recently in Dan Berkley’s 10th-grade physics class — which was being taught in part by Brian Lewis, a math teacher — the students were well dressed and some even had briefcases. Amare Lewis, 15, said he never wore a tie to school until now.

“If I’m going to take these classes, and be part of I.B.M., I feel like I want to dress well,” he said.

 

source: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/22/nyregion/pathways-in-technology-early-college-high-school-takes-a-new-approach-to-vocational-education.html?ref=education&_r=4&pagewanted=all&


Cornell NYC Tech unveils part of campus design

The Cornell NYC Tech campus, currently residing on the third floor of Google's Chelsea headquarters, officially begins its long march to a permanent home on Monday with the start of the city's land use review procedure. Images of the 12-acre Roosevelt Island project and its first academic building, along with an environmental impact statement, are being posted online Monday, and Cornell University officials expect to be discussing the plans with the local community board in the coming weeks.

They're ambitious plans. And the school has not been shy about making that known. At a press briefing at Cornell's Google location Oct. 11, the school showed off sketches of the first building's design by star architect Thom Mayne of Morphosis Architects.

Aside from meeting the school's requirements for a flexible interior space, the structure aims to use no more energy than it produces. If it succeeds, the four-story, 150,000-square-foot building would be the first academic building anywhere to do so, thanks to solar panels atop the structure and geo-thermal wells underneath it. The futuristic-looking building will be part of the first phase of construction, scheduled to be completed in time for the campus' opening in the summer of 2017.

Introducing the plans, Dan Huttenlocher, dean of Cornell NYC Tech, described the institution as a new kind of applied sciences school. Other graduate research schools, including Cornell and its academic partner in the new venture, the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, have all come out of the industrial age. The Roosevelt Island campus will be born of the digital era.

"It's the first graduate research institution where somebody's trying to design it from the ground up in the information age," Mr. Huttenlocher said. In this new age, research and practical applications happen simultaneously, in contrast to the old model in which research came first and practical uses followed.

He did not mention SUNY's College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering, which has bridged the worlds of business and applied science since it was established at the University of Albany in 2001.

Mr. Huttenlocher said achieving innovation in the digital age requires a campus where there are places for everyone to collaborate.

"A key part of the overall campus plan and of the plans for the first academic building is to have people from companies, people from nonprofits, making active use of technology, and students and faculty really working together [with them]," he said. There will be "a lot of co-mingling of these groups of people who until now have been pretty separate."

The overall design aims to act out those ambitions.

A "tech walk" thoroughfare will run down the center of the campus, creating a "north-south pedestrian spine" onto which all the buildings will open, according to architect Colin Koop, from Skidmore Owings & Merrill, which designed the master plan.

"We want to create a hive of activity," he said at the briefing. (In another example of the forward-looking plan, the buildings will be set 19 feet above sea level to prevent damage from floods that are considered more likely because of global warming.)

Across the tech walk from the academic building will be a "co-location building," to be built in partnership with a private developer, where companies and nonprofits will lease space for proprietary research, Mr. Huttenlocher said.

Scott Lee, a senior architect at Morphosis, described the academic building as designed for "interdisciplinary" use, with "walkable" open spaces that will encourage interaction between groups. There will be only six classrooms, with a lot of flexible space for teaching and research.

"As the goals and as the research changes some of these spaces have to be able to change," Mr. Lee said.

The first class at Cornell NYC Tech, which will consist of just "a handful" of students, Mr. Huttenlocher said, will arrive in January.

Once the project gets through the seven-month approval process, Cornell will begin demolition of the Goldwater Hospital that now stands on the site in early 2014, said Andrew Winters, director of capital projects and planning for Cornell NYC Tech.

 

 

source: http://www.crainsnewyork.com/article/20121014/EDUCATION/121019947


SUNY Oswego’s Fall Technology Conference to attract hundreds

SUNY Oswego will host the 73rd annual Fall Technology Conference on Oct. 25 and 26, offering hundreds of technology education professionals and students more than 50 workshops and a showcase for technological and teaching innovations.

Billed as the largest of its kind in the Northeast, the technology symposium debuted in 1939.

Among the attendees annually are many alumni of SUNY Oswego’s well-known technology programs.

This year’s theme, “Technology Education for All: K-16,” could attract 50 to 60 presentations from those attending, according to Dan Tryon, a SUNY Oswego technology department faculty member and conference chair.

Titles of some of those scheduled so far include “Computer-Aided Design and Drafting: The Wave of the Future,” “This Was Not a Vacation! Teaching Sustainability in Afghanistan” and “Enhance Your Classroom with LEGO Robotics,” among many others.

“We’ll also have a handful of two-hour activity-based workshops,” Tryon said.

Program chair Mark Springston of the technology faculty said the conference also provides SUNY Oswego students an opportunity to gain knowledge about emerging technology and to gain an understanding of expectations for technology education experts in today’s workforce.

“It is their first chance to see professionals doing what they are going to do,” said Springston. “Our students get to see firsthand a little bit more about the profession they’ve chosen.”

The conference will include the second annual Technology Innovation Showcase, giving high school and college technology teachers a chance to demonstrate innovative projects they are doing with their students.

Springston’s teaching methods class, for example, is researching available iPad apps that can assist K-16 technology teachers in vividly conveying lessons to students.

“We haven’t been doing this Innovation Showcase for very long but it just gets rave reviews, because there is something there for everybody,” Tryon said.

For more information about the Fall Technology Conference, visit www.fallconference.com

source: http://oswegocountytoday.com/?p=99007

 


New York U. Turns to Free Site to Help Teach Computer Programming

A department at New York University is beginning to use a free online service to help teach computer-programming courses.

The department of media, culture, and communication in NYU’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development recently announced a partnership with Codeacademy, a free site that started last year and has quickly gained a following in the computer-science field, to provide a 10-week programming course this semester.

Fifty undergraduates will participate in the pilot program, which includes a weekly class and monthly lectures from technology-industry leaders. If all goes well, the course may be incorporated into the department’s curriculum.

Students will learn to code programming languages like HTML, Javascript, and Python using Codeacademy’s free platform at their own pace, and they will use class time to address problems and ask questions.

Marita Sturken, the department’s chair, said the idea of working with Codeacademy had been sparked by the rapidly changing work environment and the high demand for college graduates familiar with programming.

“Part of what we’re trying to do is teach them to be flexible thinkers,” she said. “Coding is a sort of grammar they need—they’re very likely, no matter what profession they go into, to need and draw on these skills and to understand digital literacy.”

Codeacademy’s offices happen to be across the street from the NYU campus, which made the partnership easy to arrange, said Liel Leibovitz, a visiting assistant professor who is teaching the course along with the coding instructor David Hu.

Codeacademy provided its platform free, and the two parties have not discussed plans to collect revenue through the partnership, said Zach Sims, Codeacademy’s chief executive, in an e-mail interview.

Plans for similar arrangements with other colleges are in the works. “Tons of universities have reached out to us to extend Codecademy to their students, and we’re actively working with a bunch of them,” he said, though he declined to name potential partners until the arrangements were made final.

 

 

source: http://chronicle.com/blogs/wiredcampus/new-york-u-turns-to-free-site-to-help-teach-computer-programming/40372


University of Rochester joins nationwide online STEM women mentoring program

The University of Rochester joined the ranks of Pomona College, Princeton University and Yale University and began its participation in the WitsOn! (Women in Technology Sharing Online) program for women interested in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

The six-week pilot program — sponsored by software company Piazza and Harvey Mudd College and open to colleges and universities nationwide — connects students with women mentors currently working in STEM fields. As of Oct. 1, any UR student could enroll and find a guide that can offer assistance and answer questions.

Though the percentage of women enrolled in engineering programs at UR is much higher than the national average — 30 percent compared to 18 percent — the University hopes to assist what it considers an underrepresented demographic of aspiring female engineers by providing them with support and access to role models.

Lisa Norwood, assistant dean at the Hajim School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, described WitsOn! as a way to “give students a leg up.”

Norwood explained she understands that women engineers face additional struggles that their male counterparts do not. While she had the approval of her father, a computer programmer, and several friends who were also pursuing degrees in geomechanics, Norwood knows not all students are as fortunate. She hopes that the program will lend similar support to women in these discplines so they “can follow their passions and talk across boundaries.”

UR students have responded well to WitsOn!, according to Norwood. In fact, the University originally chose to enroll after an undergraduate student brought it to Norwood’s attention.

UR also aims to help, advise and mentor all students along their career path, not just those interested in STEM.

“Mentors are a critical part of professional development and such efforts can further our efforts to increase the number of women who pursue degrees in engineering,” Dean of the Hajim School of Engineering Robert Clark said.

source: http://www.campustimes.org/2012/10/04/ur-joins-nationwide-online-stem-women-mentoring-program/ 


U.S. Patent Office Opens First Branch on University Campus

 

Cornell’s New York City Tech campus will be the first university to have a direct partnership with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, giving future students access to resources and expert advice as they look to bring ideas and innovations to market.

The university made the announcement on Tuesday morning at its temporary campus in New York’s Chelsea district, office space donated by Google. The first class of about 20 students will begin classes in January 2013 while construction proceeds on the main campus on Roosevelt Island, scheduled to open in 2017.

The partnership marks the first time the USPTO, part of the Department of Commerce, will have an office at a university with permanent staff. The idea is help bridge the worlds of technology, education and government, educating students on the importance of patents and intellectual property while providing them with the means to ensure their innovations are protected — and ultimately help fuel the economy.

 “The Department of Commerce will establish a one-stop innovators resource center to make it even easier for New York’s tech entrepreneurs to start business and bring ideas to market,” said Cornell President David Skorton. “This will be a resource not just for the tech campus but for the entire new york city tech community.”

Several politicians (including U.S. Senator Charles Schumer, shown above) and civil servants appeared at the announcement to give their blessing to the new partnership, which is part of New York City’s ongoing effort to become the Silicon Valley of the East Coast.

“We need a patent office for the 21st century, where ideas move at the speed of Google,” said Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney. “The patent process will become more accessible and less daunting. Anyone with a novel idea should be able to gain the protection of a patent without being tied up in red tape for long periods of time.”

 

 

source: http://mashable.com/2012/10/02/cornell-nyc-patent-office/


NASA Selects Teachers To Fly Student Experiments In Reduced Gravity Aircraft

Teachers from six NASA Explorer Schools (NES) have been selected to receive the 2012 School Recognition Award for their contributions to science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education.

The teachers selected are from Woodrow Wilson Middle School, Glendale, Calif.; Franke Park Elementary School, Fort Wayne, Ind.; Mountview Road School, Morris Plains, N.J.; Corpus Christi Catholic School, Chambersburg, Pa.; Fairport High School, Fairport N.Y.; and Forest Lake Elementary Technology Magnet School, Columbia, S.C.

In April 2013, three teachers from each school will travel to NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston. There they will have the opportunity to fly aboard the agency's reduced gravity aircraft and conduct experiments designed by their students. The experiments will examine the acceleration and inertia of objects, how fluids with different viscosities behave in microgravity, and how the absence of gravity affects mass and weight.

"Congratulations to the NES teachers selected for this innovative NASA experience. The reduced gravity flights allow teachers to conduct scientific investigations in a microgravity environment, similar to how experiments are conducted on the International Space Station," said Cecelia Fletcher, acting program manager for primary and secondary education at NASA Headquarters in Washington. "This experiential learning opportunity helps to spread the excitement of STEM education with teachers and students throughout the NASA Explorer School network."

A team of NASA personnel reviewed many applications before selecting these six schools for their exemplary classroom practices and innovative uses of NES resources to engage a broad school population. These schools were chosen from more than 470 schools that are registered participants in the NASA Explorer Schools project.

The NASA Explorer Schools project is the classroom-based gateway for students in grades 4-12 that focuses on stimulating STEM education using agency content and themes.

For more information about the Explorer Schools Project, visit:

http://explorerschools.nasa.gov

To watch a four-minute video that provides project information and shows previous winners aboard the reduced gravity aircraft, visit:

http://go.nasa.gov/pjy29I

For more information about NASA's education programs, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/education

source: http://www.marketwatch.com/story/nasa-selects-teachers-to-fly-student-experiments-in-reduced-gravity-aircraft-2012-09-20

 

 


Schumer to introduce own STEM visa bill

U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), who is chair of the Senate's Immigration, Refugees and Border Security subcommittee, is introducing his own STEM visa bill to challenge a similar Republican bill in the House.

Schumer's bill, which is expected to be announced Tuesday, will provide 55,000 green cards for foreign students who graduate with advance degrees in the so-called STEM fields: science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

In that one respect it's similar to the House bill that U.S. Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas) is introducing. Smith's bill, the STEM Jobs Act, may be brought up for a vote on Thursday.

But Schumer's bill, which has many of the features of U.S. Rep. Zoe Lofgren's (D-Calif.) STEM visa legislation, announced Friday, is also being used as a vehicle to attack Smith's bill for allowing for-profit schools.

The big political issue for law makers, however, may be the visa lottery. Democrats keep the diversity or green card lottery, which issues 55,000 visas annually to lottery winner. The Smith bill repurposes the 55,000 diversity visas to the STEM green cards, eliminating the lottery.

A vote this week on the Smith bill will give lawmakers an idea of the willingness of Democrats to support the Republican approach to STEM visas.

The Smith bill is expected to be raised on the suspension calendar requiring two-thirds vote for approval, which means 290 votes, including at least 50 votes from Democrats.

Congress is planning to recess Friday for the election, ensuring that any STEM visa bill, should one emerge for the president's signature, will occur during the lame duck session.

Schumer, in a summary explaining his legislation, attacks the Republican STEM bill. The Senator says that unlike the STEM Jobs Act in the House, the Brains Act, short for the Benefits to Research and American Innovation through Nationality Statutes Act of 2012, "does not outsource America's high-skilled immigration system to special interests by allowing for-profit colleges and online institutions to reap massive profits by gaming America's immigration laws to attract unqualified foreign student consumers."

The Brains Act doesn't allow non-profit schools or online institutions to participate in the STEM visa program, a move it says "will ensure that only the most qualified of students will be given access to scarce green cards."

The Republican bill allows for profit schools, but sets restrictions, requiring that the schools be doctorate-granting universities "with a very high or high level of research activity." In regard to online training, it requires students to be physically present in the U.S.

Smith, in a request for comment about Schumer's criticism, sent this response by email: "The STEM Jobs Act narrowly defines what constitutes a research university to ensure STEM green cards are only given to the top foreign students graduating from American universities."

"The STEM Jobs Act does not discriminate against for-profit or online schools but does contain stringent criteria for universities wanting to participate in the new green card program. Universities are only eligible for the program if they have been classified by the widely-respected Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching as doctorate-granting institutions with high levels of research activity or classified by the National Science Foundation as having an equivalent level of research activity," Smith said. "This helps ensure that STEM green cards are not just a golden ticket for those wanting to come to the U.S."

Daniel Costa, an immigration policy analyst at the Economic Policy Institute, said, "If the Smith bill would have left the school requirement as only doctorate granting universities with a 'very high or high level of research activity' as determined by Carnegie, that would have been a little bit better than what's actually in the bill."

That amounts to a total of 207 schools, which "way to too many in my opinion to be the elite homes of the best of the brightest," said Costa. But the Smith bill "inserts a loophole" that allows a school to apply to the National Science Foundation for a waiver. A waiver can be granted if the NSF finds the school to have "equivalent research activity to those institutions" that Carnegie has designated, he said.

While Costa believes "it's unfortunate [the] Smith Bill doesn't explicitly exclude for-profit schools" and online programs, he is not sure that it includes them as Lofgren's fact sheet claims. None of the schools among the 207 are private, for-profit schools, but the question mark will be over the NSF waiver process and what that allows, he said.

The Schumer bill also says that any unused STEM visa green cards will be used "to reduce the backlog for employment-based green cards that exists for highly-skilled STEM advanced-degree graduates from foreign universities."

All sides had been in talks about the possibility of compromise and a bipartisan bill, but those talks broke down last week.

Both parties broadly support a STEM visa. But Republicans are opposed to the idea of raising legal immigration, which made the STEM visa swap with the diversity visa lottery appealing.

The Democrats are less willing to trade-off the diversity lottery. The tech industry is also opposed to constraining immigration, but may nonetheless support Smith's bill when it comes up for vote.

source: http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9231377/Schumer_to_introduce_own_STEM_visa_bill?taxonomyId=70&pageNumber=2

 

 


IBM’s New High School Opens in New York

In September, a new high school opened its doors in Brooklyn, New York. Like many high schools in the country, the curriculum focuses on science and technology. But P-TECH is different than most of those schools. It will not only offer a high school education but will certify its graduates in a high-tech field. Students will also be able to obtain their associate degrees — for free — as part of their studies. And finally, graduates will have first crack at a job at IBM upon graduation.

That’s because “Big Blue” helped design the school — a collaboration with it, the New York City Department of Education, and the City University of New York. IBM helped develop the curriculum; it chose the principal; it’s committed funding and resources to equip the school with computers; and it’s offering 130 IBM mentors — one for each student at the school as well as for the principal.

The principal is Rashid Davis, who leaves his position at the Bronx Engineering and Technology Academy to head the newly formed high school. Although Davis was part of a grade-tampering investigation when he was the assistant principal at another school, his tenure at the Bronx Engineering and Technology Academy has been stellar, and the school has received much praise — an A from the New York Department of Education and silver medal from the U.S. News & World Report.

Last week, 130 freshmen started at P-TECH, and as the cadre moves through their high school and college careers, the school will add subsequent grades. IBM is working to match these students with mentors from all over the company; they’ll communicate regularly and help support the students in the “workplace learning curriculum.” Although it’s aiming at a six-year program for the students, school officials says it will be flexible about the number of years they’ll actually attend.

Of the incoming class, more than 80% come from low-income families, according to a Wall Street Journal article. In a recent blog post, Davis makes an argument for importance of the type of education and type of opportunity that P-TECH will offer his students: “Young people from difficult circumstances must overcome the dual challenges of getting an education and navigating unfamiliar waters to move from poverty to meaningful, long-term employment. My job is to make that happen.”

But the tight relationship between a school and a major corporation raises a lot of questions. As The Wall Street Journal points out, “it’s not the first time a business has partnered with the city to open a school. In the early 1990s, Goldman, Sachs & Co. joined with the city to open Metropolitan Corporate Academy. Initially, the company invested $500,000 for tutors, advisers and a program officer to coordinate internships. But as that support tapered off and test scores sagged, the school board voted earlier this year to close the school.”

At the outset, IBM’s involvement in P-TECH is hands-on, in terms of shaping the school’s curriculum, providing computer equipment, offering professional development and mentorship, and helping with job placement upon graduation. Indeed, the STEM-focused education promised by P-TECH is aimed at helping meet the growing needs for highly skilled, high-tech workers. And while the job prospects are good in STEM-related fields, it’s too soon to tell whether P-TECH will provide the model by which more schools and companies will educate students and future workers.

 

source: http://blogs.kqed.org/mindshift/2011/09/ibms-new-high-school-opens-in-new-york/

 


Rep. Hanna sponsors bill for STEM education tax deduction

Only about 17 percent of all U.S. degrees are awarded in science, technology, engineering and math, nearly 10 percentage points behind the global average.

At the same time, STEM jobs are expected to increase at a rate of 17 percent a year while non-STEM jobs are expected to decline by 10 percent — one of the reasons employers can’t find the workers they need even though unemployment is high, Rep. Richard Hanna, R-Barneveld, said Thursday during a visit to Broome Community College.

Hanna and Rep. Steve Israel, D-Long Island, are sponsoring the STEM Education Opportunity Act, which would provide tax benefits for those paying for higher education in a STEM field, whether students, their parents or a benefactor such as a company.

“Unemployment for STEM workers is half that of the regular population and the pay is higher,” said James Brown, executive director of the STEM Education Coalition.

The federal tax deduction would be equal to a student’s higher education expenses. The payer may claim the deduction in the same year the expense is incurred, or carry it forward until the taxpayer’s allowable deduction exceeds taxable income. Businesses and individuals also could receive a tax credit for donating computers, lab equipment, microscopes and other needed resources to elementary and secondary schools, as well as training, field trips and internships.

The bill also would require a study by the Government Accountability Office to analyze whether it was successful in increasing higher education enrollment in STEM fields as well as the impact on the cost of such education.

The bill has been introduced to the House and given to Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-New York, for review. The Congressional Budget Office has been asked to review the cost, although Hanna said he considers it a long-term investment.

“I don’t expect it to be an easy sell in this Congress,” Hanna said.

Dan Lamb, the Democrat vying with Hanna for the seat representing the newly drawn 22nd Congressional District, countered that Hanna voted to cut STEM education funding in the past. In particular, Hanna voted in February 2011 for H.R. 1, the Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act, which included significant federal spending cuts, including those for education programs.

As part of the bill, the Mathematics and Science Partnership — a grant program that supports projects to improve math and science education — would have been cut by $180 million. The bill was never signed into law.

“It takes some brass to say you support something that you’ve voted to cut,” Lamb said. “One of the first votes Richard Hanna cast as a member of Congress was to cut STEM funding by $180 million.”

 

source: http://www.pressconnects.com/article/20120906/NEWS01/309060073/Hanna-sponsors-bill-STEM-education-tax-deduction?odyssey=nav%7Chead

 


New labs at SUNY Oswego set stage for technology education’s future
 
OSWEGO — Two space-age, state-of-the-art manufacturing laboratories and a new classroom opened Aug. 27 to SUNY Oswego technology students for fall classes in a $5.8 million addition to Wilber Hall.
The new spaces, like the construction and renovations surrounding them, represent an investment in preparing students to survive and thrive in an evolving world, said Dan Tryon, a technology education faculty member helping guide Oswego’s School of Education renewal projects.
 “We have vastly superior equipment and facilities than we had last semester, and it will only get better,” Tryon said. “People know us from our historical strength, and this keeps us competitive. This lets students experience, learn and develop skills that are current and even future technology.”
SUNY Oswego’s technology programs for 125 years have sought to prepare professionals to serve as technologically literate educators and managers. Tryon said the new laboratories, the multimedia classroom and renovations to come in two existing labs — polymers and metals processing — position the college for today and the future.
The manufacturing labs host such modern machines as a 3D printer that can use computer-assisted designs to turn out working thermoplastic models ranging from new mechanical inventions to chess pieces. A laser cutter-engraver, fast becoming a standard in industrial shops nationwide, can do its work from computer-generated designs on objects up to two by three feet.
More to come
Tryon said other equipment would arrive during the first half of the semester, including a four-axis computer numerical controlled router, industrial robots, modern milling machines and more.
The new adjacent labs, with their story-and-a-half ceiling, have been designed for flexibility and energy efficiency, Tryon said. Machines are on wheels for easy reconfiguration, power outlets and air hoses hang from the ceiling, a dust-extraction system keeps the air clean and a smart-room system automates equipment and utility operation and shutdown.
The biggest adjustment for faculty and students promises to be software, Tryon said. Computer numerical controlled machines, additive manufacturing, robotics and computer-aided design all require a high degree of software literacy. Tryon and fellow technology education faculty member Richard Bush have spent the summer learning such programs as Mastercam with a goal of earning certification as teachers of the software.
“The way you design, the way you build, the way you print changes everything,” Tryon said. “It means a dramatic step forward in terms of our technological tools and abilities.”
The other major portion of the 13,700-square-foot Wilber addition, a new field placement office for the School of Education, will open in fall 2013, according to Tom LaMere, director of Facilities Design and Construction.

 

 

source: http://oswegocountytoday.com/?p=95882


Seton Catholic Central Introduces a Pre-Engineering Program Affiliated with RIT
 
This fall Seton Catholic Central is introducing a pre-engineering program affiliated with the Rochester Institute of Technology. Seton is the first Catholic school in New York State to host the curriculum known as Project Lead The Way.
 
“National and state educators continue to express serious concern over the chronic shortage of mathematicians, scientists and engineers in the United States,” said Richard Bucci, principal. “This course of study will center on the fundamentals of engineering and highlight the diverse careers that have it as a foundation.”
 
Project Lead the Way was recently cited by the Harvard Graduate School of Education as a model for 21st century career and technical education.
 
“We’re committed to offering a comprehensive curriculum that adequately prepares our students for the realities of the 21st century global economy,” said Bucci. “That necessitates a strong focus on science, technology engineering and math.”
 

 

source: http://www.newschannel34.com/content/developingnews/story/Seton-Catholic-Central-Introduces-a-Pre/TGat1xqxH0itNML74us-Xw.cspx


SUNY receives $2.95 million grant from for high-need school districts
ALBANY, N.Y. - SUNY, the New York Academy of Sciences, and SUNY Empire State College have been awarded a $2.95 million grant from the National Science Foundation, SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher announced Tuesday.
According to Zimpher, the grant will help bring to scale an afterschool program in which SUNY graduate students and postdoctoral fellows mentor middle school students from high-need school districts in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).
“The Academy’s Afterschool STEM Mentoring Program has had a profound impact on New York City’s youth, and the expertise offered by SUNY graduate students has the potential to greatly improve science and math literacy among middle school children throughout New York State,” said Chancellor Zimpher, who also chairs the Academy’s Board of Governors. “We are grateful for the support of the National Science Foundation and thrilled to have the opportunity to bring this program to children statewide, particularly in New York State’s urban and rural communities.”
Academy President and CEO Ellis Rubinstein said, “As New Yorkers, we are fortunate to live in a hotbed of academic talent at the graduate level, and yet, our secondary school students in the very same areas are underperforming in STEM fields. STEM skills are critical not only to students’ educational success, but to their future job prospects and, vitally, the country’s ability to sustain a knowledge economy. The Academy is thrilled to extend its successful Afterschool STEM Mentoring Program to include SUNY’s tradition of academic excellence, matching outstanding graduate student resources with the needs of our middle school students.”
The grant will enable SUNY and the Academy to introduce the program in urban and rural communities throughout New York State over the next three years. Initially, it will be implemented by SUNY Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn, the University at Albany College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering in the Capital District, and SUNYIT in Utica and Rome. The campuses were selected for their geographical diversity, STEM-focused degree programs, and existing partnerships with community-based organizations.
The project will create a foundation and model from which additional pilot sites can be fostered nationally. It will be carried out in three stages:
·         Together, SUNY and the Academy will implement a comprehensive, systemic science education initiative to recruit scientists-in-training (graduate students and postdoctoral fellows) studying in the STEM disciplines at pre-identified colleges and universities to serve as mentors in high-need middle school programs.
·         The scientists-in-training will participate in a new credit-bearing online course, designed with STEM content-specific subject matter and worth three graduate-level academic credits. Faculty from SUNY Empire State College will partner with the Academy and each participating campus to prepare the mentors using the new course.
·         SUNY campuses will partner with community-based organizations to place mentors in afterschool programs, serving middle school students in high-need, low-resource urban and rural communities.
Zimpher said the SUNY/Academy model is unique in that it involves the creation of a scaling mechanism to allow for maximum local innovation and adaptation, while retaining the core elements of the program. It also utilizes an online platform to deliver the content-based mentor training and to provide support to the young scientists/mentors statewide.
By the end of the third year, a best practices guide will be produced by the SUNY/Academy team to help interested universities determine capacity for implementing similar programs at their campuses. Additional campuses will be selected in subsequent years using a Request for Proposals (RFP) selection process.
The project is one of several comprehensive efforts that SUNY is leading to help students successfully transition through the education pipeline, from early childhood, through K-12 and college, and ultimately into the workforce.
 SUNY Senior Vice Chancellor for Community Colleges and the Education Pipeline Johanna Duncan-Poitier said, “At a time when there is an increased demand for more graduates in the STEM fields, the National Science Foundation has provided SUNY with a powerful opportunity to systemically strengthen the education pipeline for our state’s future. We are so pleased to be partnering with the New York Academy of Sciences and our campuses to bring this outstanding program to scale throughout New York.”
Academy Director of K12 Education Meghan Groome said, “Research continues to show that role models are vital in helping kids become the next generation of scientists and STEM-literate citizens. At the same time, young scientists need opportunities to learn how to teach and become better mentors as they pursue their scientific research. We are grateful to the National Science Foundation for giving us the opportunity to research how to bring this program to the students and scientists across New York State.”

SUNY Empire State College Acting President Meg Benke said, “Teaching and learning through mentoring is the cornerstone of Empire State College’s education mission and by adding our strengths in curriculum development and online delivery we can help to bring the Academy’s Afterschool STEM Mentoring Program to a statewide scale. Training SUNY graduate students and postdoctoral fellows to be better teachers means middle school will be better students and more likely to succeed in class. I am very pleased that the National Science Foundation is recognizing the value of what SUNY, the Academy, and the college offers.” 

 

source: http://www.wktv.com/news/local/SUNY-receives-295-million-grant-from-for-high-need-school-districts-168466626.html


Education Technology Innovators Sought for Incubation Program at the 2012 SIIA Ed Tech Business Forum
The Education Division of the Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA) is accepting applicants for its Innovation Incubator Program. Selected developers of promising new technologies in the K-12 and postsecondary space will be invited to participate in SIIA’s Innovation Incubator program at the 11th annual SIIA Ed Tech Business Forum in New York, Nov. 26-27, 2012. The deadline to apply for the Innovation Incubator program is Sept. 26, 2012.
SIIA’s Innovation Incubator program identifies and supports entrepreneurs in their development and launch of innovative learning technologies. The program began in 2006 and has helped dozens of companies enrich their efforts to improve education through the use of software, digital content and related technologies. The Innovation Incubator program uniquely employs a peer-review process to identify the most innovative and most likely to succeed products. Successful industry leaders and peers also provide one-on-one mentorship to support the growth and success of identified innovators.
“SIIA has showcased over 100 innovative new technologies in 10 full Innovation Incubator cycles,” said Karen Billings, vice president of the Education Division at SIIA. “Our SIIA members are among the first in the industry to witness these innovations; each cycle brings a new group of exciting companies and products that each have the potential to shape the future of K-12 and postsecondary education.”
All education technology companies are encouraged to apply, from start-ups to established innovators. A panel of industry professional judges will then select finalists and alternates to present their products during the Ed Tech Business Forum. One winner and one runner-up will be awarded in the “Most Innovative” and “Most Likely to Succeed” categories.
Past Innovation Incubator winners include:
Filament Games, developer of education games designed to increase students’ interest in science
Language Express, creator of interactive multimedia products that teach social and life skills
 
For more information about the Innovation Incubator Program or to apply, visit http://siia.net/etbf/2012/incubator.asp.
Media Contacts

• Laura Greenback, SIIA Communications, 410-533-1943, lgreenback@siia.net
• Lauren Rothering, C. Blohm & Associates, 608-216-7300 x23, lauren@cblohm.com 

News Corp. to launch tablet-based education pilot
In a further expansion into the ed-tech market, News Corp.—Rupert Murdoch’s media conglomerate that owns FOX News and the Wall Street Journal, among other properties—on July 23 unveiled its new K-12 education business, called Amplify, and said it was partnering with AT&T to fund a pilot project that aims to put tablet computers in students’ hands in the coming school year.
AT&T will provide tablet computers that work on its 4G and Wi-Fi networks. None of the schools selected to participate will have to pay for the program. The company did not say which schools would take part or how they’d be selected.
The idea is to put tablet computers into the hands of students for use at school and at home. The system tracks their progress and is meant to tailor lessons to each student’s level.
Amplify is being spun off from News Corp. along with newspapers in a planned reorganization of the company. It brings together the student assessment software business Wireless Generation with a new curriculum it is developing.
News Corp., based in New York, announced in November 2010 that it would take a 90-percent stake in Brooklyn, N.Y.-based Wireless Generation, a creator of software tools for educators, for $360 million. Last summer, New York’s comptroller spiked a $27 million deal with Wireless Generation because of the fallout from Murdoch’s phone hacking scandal in Great Britain.
Former New York City schools chancellor Joel Klein, who joined News Corp. in January 2011 to head up its education initiatives, will lead the company’s Amplify division.
Wireless Generation founder Larry Berger said the pilot project was not just meant to convert participating schools into future customers. He said it was a way to improve the system and prove it works.
“There’s no way to do high-quality research and development without working in schools,” he said. Once the pilot project is complete, the company hopes to market its services to as many schools as possible.
Wireless Generation says it currently provides mobile assessment and instructional services to more than 200,000 teachers and 3 million students in all 50 states. It supports different ways of paying for tablets. Sometimes parents pay for them, sometimes schools pay for them, sometimes school districts lease them, and sometimes schools rely mostly on students to bring whatever mobile device they have.
Klein said News Corp. aims to be a major provider of educational services and said the U.S. education market exceeds $600 billion annually.
He said that school districts spend money on computers, connectivity, textbooks, and professional development and hoped that Amplify would be among the things schools spend money on.
“If we have the impact that I hope we’ll have, people will find room in their budgets to support the work,” he said.
Amplify is organized around three key areas of business that aim to raise student achievement through 21st-century products and services, the company says:
Amplify Insight. This segment of the business focuses on educational analytics and formative assessment throughthe services delivered byWireless Generation. Its products help teachers and administrators assess learning progress throughout the year, differentiate instruction, and adapt curricula to meet individual students’ needs.
Amplify Learning. Amplify is creating new digital curricula that “reinvent teaching and learning,” the company says, beginning with English language arts, science, and math. These new classroom-based products, which will combine interactive experiences with analytics that align with the Common Core State Standards, and will be driven by adaptive technologies that respond to individual students’ needs as they evolve, are being developed by a team at Wireless Generation along with partners such as the Lawrence Hall of Science at UC Berkeley.
Amplify Access. In collaboration with AT&T, the company will offer a tablet-based platform, which bundles curricular and extracurricular content with sophisticated analytic capabilities and 4G connectivity to facilitate personalized instruction and enable anywhere, anytime learning.

 

 


Mobile App Competition Engages High School Students in STEM
By his own admission, Andrew Rothstein, curriculum director at the National Academy Foundation, has a steep learning curve where technology is concerned.
"I can't even keep up with what was, let alone adapt to what is, or even imagine what will be," Rothstein said to a room full of educators and students last week at the foundation's annual conference.
The former teacher's lack of technical expertise illustrates why high schools need to leverage industry expertise when trying to determine what to teach young adults about information technology.
"You can imagine the challenge of being the architect of something about which you know nothing," he said. "I've never downloaded an app. But fortunately I have a safety net."
For the National Academy Foundation, that safety net was Lenovo, a computer company that manufactures PC laptops, desktops, and tablet computers.
NAF and Lenovo launched a competition at the start of the spring 2012 semester, challenging high school students to develop Android-based mobile applications using Lenovo's ThinkPad Tablet. The foundation piloted the program in five NAF academies: Grover Cleveland High School in New York, Apex High School in North Carolina, Pathways to Technology Magnet High School in Connecticut, Downtown Magnets High School in California, and A.J. Moore Academy of Information Technology in Texas.
The National Academy Foundation builds curriculums focused on bridging the gap between education and business communities. The foundation’s network includes more than 500 career academies that serve more than 50,000 students. Schools must submit proposals and an application to become a career academy or start one on their campus.
Lenovo provided the tablets and the focus—mobile technology—but left the structure and implementation up to the teachers and administrators at each high school.
The competition succeeded at getting students, teachers, and the foundation excited about STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math). Students developed business plans and built apps from scratch—everything from a note-taking program with voice-to-text capability to an app stocked with Dominican food recipes.
The NAF-Lenovo competition also highlighted the logistical challenges of implementing this type of program on a larger scale.
Three of the five schools ran the programs as an after-school or enrichment option due to restraints in their curriculum, and Grover Cleveland High School was the only one able to dedicate the class time needed to take their students' apps from concept to completion.
The mobile app class at Grover Cleveland was allotted a double class period, giving the 40 seniors participating in the project enough time to complete their mobile apps, and students used an app-building program to assist them with the coding and design. Of the 20 apps created by the students, 17 are available for download on Google Play, the Android App store.
In contrast, Robert East and Pete Baus, seniors at A.J. Moore Academy, estimate they only had 24 hours of class time over 12 weeks to devote to their note-taking app. The time constraints and the duo's limited coding knowledge made it difficult to pull together a functional program, they said at the conference.
While NAF plans to take what it learned from the partnership and revamp what its career tech academies look like, JD Hoye, president of the NAF, said it will take several years to revise and roll out a new curriculum to all of its schools.

 

source: http://www.usnews.com/education/blogs/high-school-notes/2012/07/23/mobile-app-competition-engages-high-school-students-in-stem 


Hommocks Science Teacher Took Part in Siemens Fellowship Program

This fall, Lawrence Perretto, a teacher at Hommocks Middle School, will return to his classroom with a deeper understanding of the practical implications of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) concepts after spending part of his summer break engaged in an immersive research program at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) in Oak Ridge, Tenn. 

Perretto worked with a team of scientists and fellow teachers to look at the biomass that could lead to improved biofuel production as part of an elite fellowship program arranged by the Siemens Foundation, Discovery Education, Oak Ridge Associated Universities and the College Board.

He was one of just 20 teachers from across the country selected to participate in the research project at ORNL through the prestigious Siemens Teachers as Researchers (STARs) fellowship program. STARs is part of the Siemens STEM Academy, a premier online professional development community for STEM educators empowering and celebrating excellence in STEM education.

The Siemens Foundation, Discovery Education and their partners developed the STARs fellowship to invigorate teachers by immersing them in authentic research alongside some of the country’s brightest scientific minds. The hope is that these teachers will bring the experience back into their classrooms and inspire their students to pursue STEM education and careers.

"We hope that Lawrence’s experience at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and the experiences of all of his cohorts, will help inspire their students to become our country’s next generation of scientists and engineers," said Jeniffer Harper-Taylor, president of the Siemens Foundation. "We see the STARs program as a key part of the Siemens Foundation’s broad effort to improve our country’s competency in STEM education and are honored that Lawrence was able to participate.”

At the ORNL, Perretto and his colleagues worked with Barbara Evans of ORNL’s Chemical Sciences division to research the structure of lignocellulosic biomass, such as switchgrass, and how they are processed for use in the production of biofuels.

“The Siemens STARs Fellowship is a rare opportunity to grow professionally and to make world class science research accessible to students,” Perretto said. “I am honored by the privilege of this selection.”

In addition to their research, Perretto and the other STARs fellows were involved in a number of facility tours and seminars aimed at helping them effectively incorporate research into their classrooms. Each teacher also received a grant to purchase equipment and/or supplies for their classroom.

Following the programs, the fellows will serve as ambassadors in their schools and communities as they continue working together on various STEM projects and empowering their peers with the tools and knowledge gained at the STARs program. The hope is that these teachers will then bring the experience back into their classrooms and inspire students to pursue opportunities in STEM related fields.

Please visit http://www.siemensstemacademy.com for a full list of STARs fellows and additional background.

source: http://larchmont.patch.com/articles/hommocks-science-teacher-took-part-in-siemens-fellowship-program

 


Calling NY STEM Teachers!
For almost sixty years a high-quality public education has been a fundamental right -- a right guaranteed by the state and entrusted to the men and women who have dedicated their lives to teaching.
Study after study has proven that teachers are the most important in-school factor when it comes to learning. The impact of a good teacher is even greater for disadvantaged students, who often struggle mightily with personal problems at home and carry those problems with them to the classroom.
So the bottom line is this: for students to succeed, we need to support teachers. This is especially true in the ever evolving fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Known as the STEM disciplines, these subjects offer America our best hope of prosperity in the 21st century -- a century that will be defined by the ability of our greatest innovators to solve our greatest problems in the quickest and most efficient way possible.
To help teachers gain critical skills that will keep them in control of every aspect of their students' learning, the New York State Education Department (NYSED) and the College Board recently announced a new $4.8 million teacher training initiative. The program provides Pre-AP and AP professional development training for up to 1,500 NY teachers in the STEM disciplines throughout New York State.
The program began this summer with 5-day Summer Institutes in Math and Science held at Medgar Evers College in Brooklyn. The institutes focus on aligned curriculum through vertical teaming, and offer additional training opportunities with blended face-to-face and online professional development.
Thanks to this program, eligible math and science educators -- that is, any teacher from a district with at least one school in Improvement Status -- are learning effective strategies for building a curriculum of rigorous, aligned instruction. All the workshops are free, and participation will enhance teachers' knowledge, skills, and ability to prepare students for college and careers -- the ultimate goal of any public education system.
So far, there has been an incredibly strong response throughout the state, but there are still hundreds of spots available in New York City alone. There is no deadline -- teachers are allowed to sign up at www.collegeboard.org/NYSTEMPD until the last remaining training sessions begin during the week of July 30 -- but we expect the slots to fill up quickly.
Research shows that students who took AP math or science exams were more likely than non-AP students to earn degrees in physical science, engineering and life science disciplines -- the fields leading to the cutting-edge careers that can help preserve America's competitiveness. This correlation is particularly strong among female, African American and Hispanic students.
That's why I highly encourage all eligible New York State high school math and science teachers to apply for this ground-breaking program, which represents the first ever statewide STEM professional development program for Pre-AP and AP teachers.
In New York, only 37 percent of 2010 high school graduates earned scores on their Regents exams indicating that they were ready to take on the rigors of a STEM degree or career. Many of them required remediation once they arrived at college just to get up to speed with their peers.
The College Board works with science and math educators across the country to implement AP courses in these subjects as a way of expanding the pipeline of students prepared for the rigors of STEM course work in college.
In the coming years, we will be forced to address long-simmering problems like climate change, pandemic illness, and energy production, but will also surely be met with those unforeseen that require every ounce of our imagination and skill. For this, we will need to be at our best and our brightest. That means a dramatic improvement in STEM education and a dramatic increase in the number of students choosing STEM careers.

 


With Google, Facebook, IBM Aboard, New York Looks Like Next Tech Hub

Quick—where are some of the biggest tech breakthroughs coming from?

Would you guess New York City?

The Big Apple is increasingly becoming a tech hub—in 2008, Google moved into a huge space in the Chelsea neighborhood, and Facebook is set to open a massive engineering office in the city later this year. That's because Mayor Michael Bloomberg has placed a huge emphasis on promoting STEM in the city, according to Robert Steel, Bloomberg's deputy mayor for economic development.

"We're trying to make new things happen," he said. "Companies have moved to New York and others are just starting. Google is taking up a million square feet in Chelsea. Well, the employees there will have new ideas, and they'll want to start their own companies in New York."

The city is also trying to change the education system. P-Tech, which opened in September with help from IBM, is a six-year high school. When students graduate (in "grade 14"), they'll leave with a high school diploma as well as an associate's degree from the CUNY—New York City College of Technology, and they'll be first in line for a job at IBM, according to Stan Litow, vice president of corporate citizenship and corporate affairs at the company. Four more grade 9-14 schools are set to open in Chicago this year, and Litow said the development could usher in a new educational paradigm.

"People think we've always had high school as a mandatory—but 50 years ago, a relatively small population completed high school. You could argue that making high school mandatory and the GI bill were two things that fueled economic growth," he said. "Well now, we have a challenge. If you get a high school diploma, you'll earn $15 an hour. If [P-Tech] graduates can hold these high-paying jobs [at IBM], it could be the same game changer as making high school mandatory."

Steel says the city is counting on new ideas from P-Tech graduates and other up-and-coming STEM graduates in the city.

"We're in the first few decades of an information economy, and the skills that make you successful in that are different than the ones that made us successful in the past," he said. "It wasn't clear we had the skills that would make us a global winner … we have to prepare New York City for the future."

 source: http://www.usnews.com/news/blogs/stem-education/2012/06/28/with-google-facebook-ibm-aboard-new-york-looks-like-next-tech-hub?s_cid=related-links:TOP

 

 


Rep. Richard Hanna editorial on the middle class, STEM

We hear a lot these days about the plight of the middle class in America — and it's real. The middle class is disappearing and it's a trend that needs to be reversed. Why? Because this nation was built by the middle class. By those who believe in the American Dream. We can't let that dream slip away.

 

As our economy continues to recover from the Great Recession, it is imperative we focus on improving how we educate our children so that they will have the opportunity to build their lives and thrive here in New York.

 

That's why one of my top priorities in Congress is to make our education system as strong as possible. The simple fact is that education is the only way to rebuild the middle class, create solid jobs, maintain our standard of living over the long term, and compete in the growing global economy.

 

I have been a strong advocate for fostering an increased interest in the STEM fields — science, technology, engineering and math. Did you know that in 2009 the average wage for STEM occupations was $34,420 above that of non-STEM occupations? These numbers tell us that in an increasingly high-tech world, a highly-skilled workforce needs to be a national priority.

 

But first must develop students in elementary and secondary schools so that they're ready to do well in college and the workforce. That means giving local schools the resources and flexibility they need to do their jobs.

 

I am working on two bills to reform the problematic "No Child Left Behind" law and refine the federal government's role in education. The Student Success Act would provide new flexibility to school districts in allowing them to use federal funds to meet their unique needs. The Encouraging Innovation and Effective Teachers Act would support parent choice and involvement, allowing New York parents to make decisions in the best interest of their own child's education.

 

A "one-size-fits-all" solution is rarely to the benefit of our children or our teachers. That's why I believe that teacher evaluation systems should be developed based on input from parents, school leaders, and teachers at the local level — not in Washington.

 

As we reform No Child Left Behind, it is also crucial that we maintain emphasis on those subjects that we know are most in demand in the 21st century job market.

 

If we allow science testing to fall by the wayside, as some have proposed, it would send an untimely message to our schools, public, and marketplace that science is no longer a priority. Schools would shift limited resources away from science classes, less time would be devoted to science, and professional development for science teachers would suffer. Economically disadvantaged schools and districts would be hit hardest because tight budgets mean that funding is already spread so thin that little goes for science education.

 

Adequate science testing and standards help prepare our students to go on to study and work in the STEM fields. We know that students entering an occupation in those fields earn more and will earn more and are less likely to be unemployed.

 

That's why we need to stand up for education and continue to challenge our students. Because it means good jobs for our kids, and maintaining the American Dream for theirs, right here in the Southern Tier.

 

source: http://www.pressconnects.com/article/20120624/VIEWPOINTS02/206240306/Guest-Viewpoint-Rebuild-Tier-s-middle-class-through-STEM-education?odyssey=mod%7Cnewswell%7Ctex 


The University of Rochester joins national effort to improve undergraduate STEM education

 

The University of Rochester is joining a national effort to develop a new generation of college-level science and engineering faculty.

 

The Center for the Integration of Research, Teaching, & Learning (CIRTL), which began in 2003 with a handful of universities, was recently expanded to include 25 of the nation's top educational institutions.

 

Supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF), and headquartered at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, CIRTL's mission is to improve the teaching of science, technology, engineering and mathematics at colleges across the country.

While college-level science instructors traditionally come from the ranks of graduate students, their preparation for the classroom typically consists of a few semesters working as teaching assistants, often with little mentoring.

 

"CIRTL approaches teaching in the same way educators approach research," said Wendi Heinzelman, Dean of Graduate Studies at the University of Rochester. "It comes down to solving problems."

 

A foundational CIRTL concept is that improving one's teaching boils down to the key question, "What have my students learned?" That question, said Robert Mathieu, a University of Wisconsin-Madison professor of astronomy and co-founder of the center, can be addressed in each classroom by the experimental method familiar to scientists: hypothesis generation, experiment, observation, analysis and improvement. Mathieu calls it "teaching-as-research."

 

As a CIRTL member, Rochester will have access to the teaching and learning innovations of other network members, as well as a platform for sharing its own successes, including: 1) the peer-led workshop model, which actively engages students through small-group problem-solving; 2) the WeBWorK online homework tool for math and science; and 3) diversity-oriented approaches for creating an inclusive environment on campus.

 

Diversity is considered both a challenge and opportunity for college-level science teachers. As graduate students become faculty, they will increasingly encounter students from diverse racial, ethnic, national and educational backgrounds, whose learning experiences may vary widely. One goal of CIRTL is to create college faculty who are able to use student diversity to enhance the education of all students.

 

The Rochester CIRTL program will be housed at the University's Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL), which promotes educational excellence through a range of programs for faculty, graduate students, and undergraduate students.

 

The growth of the CIRTL network, Mathieu said, will give the program a much larger national footprint and the ability to influence many more of the nation's future science faculty.

 

Click here for to learn more about CIRTL at the University of Rochester, including how to participate.

 

The CIRTL Network consists of the following universities:

 

Boston University 

Cornell University 

Howard University

Iowa State University 

Johns Hopkins University 

Michigan State University

Northwestern University 

Purdue University 

Texas A&M University

The University of Georgia 

The University of Texas at Arlington 

University of Alabama at Birmingham 

University of California, San Diego 

University of Colorado at Boulder

University of Houston 

University of Maryland, College Park 

University of Massachusetts Amherst 

University of Michigan 

University of Missouri-Columbia 

University of Pittsburgh 

University of Rochester 

University of South Florida 

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Vanderbilt University

Washington University in St. Louis

 

source: http://www.rochester.edu/news/show.php?id=4043


Teacher receives State University of New York Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Teaching

For her teaching skills and work on curriculum to support the awareness and development of sustainable systems and retention of students in engineering and technology, Leah Figur Akins received the 2011 State University of New York Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching.

 

Professor and head of engineering, architecture, and computer technology, Dutchess Community College, Poughkeepsie, N.Y., Akins has a particular focus on recruiting more students, especially underrepresented groups, to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) programs. She personally advises each applicant to engineering science or electrical technology about the spectrum of careers in engineering.

 

The importance of finding a proper fit in the industry mirrors career guidance she received as an undergraduate at Lafayette, where she majored in electrical engineering. In the summer after her junior year, Akins took a job as a junior engineer for New York Telephone.

 

“I didn’t care for the job at all,” she recalls. “Halfway through my senior year, I complained about my views of the engineering jobs I had seen over the summer to Professor Thomas Reilly in the electrical engineering department and told him I did not see myself in that kind of engineering job.”

 

Reilly suggested she pursue a master’s degree to access jobs that would interest her more, but Akins didn’t have the funds to continue her education.

 

“A few weeks later,” she recalls, “he approached me about becoming a lab instructor at Lafayette, which would pay for my tuition at graduate school. Within the first week of teaching engineering, I knew that was the career for me.”

 

Akins earned her master’s in electrical engineering from Lehigh and her Ph.D. in electrical engineering from Drexel University.

 

“Professor Reilly had a significant impact on me and my career,” she says. “Without [his guidance], I probably would have gone to work as an engineer straight out of college and become part of the statistics of those who leave the field.”

 

Akins began her career at DCC in 1990 as an adjunct and became full time in 1997. In addition to teaching, her responsibilities as department head include assisting with curriculum development and modification, course and program scheduling, strategic planning, faculty professional development, and faculty hiring.

 

Akins served as chair of DCC’s assessment committee and was a faculty representative on the SUNY Chancellor’s Group of 200 that helped develop the 2010 SUNY Strategic Plan.

 

“I have truly enjoyed learning about the programs and careers in all of these technical areas,” says Akins. “I love the atmosphere at a college, interacting with young people and hearing new ideas every day, and the support and camaraderie of faculty.”

 

A member of American Society of Engineering Education, she has conducted research focused on assessing students’ team-building skills to help them improve.

 

“In the electrical technology program, we developed and instituted a process of team assessment that is used in all the lab-based courses,” she explains.

 

Data from the assessment is used to help students learn and articulate their strengths and weaknesses. To “close the loop” on this process, an exit interview is required of all graduating students, conducted by members of the program’s advisory board.

 

“From this feedback, we can state that the team-assessment process has a significant impact on improving their team-building skills, acknowledging their strengths, and identifying what they still need to work on,” Akins says.

 

For the future, she plans to research the impact of focused academic advisement on retention in the engineering science, electrical technology, and telecommunications technology programs.

 

She is treasurer of the Hudson Valley executive committee of Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST) LEGO® League program, designed to interest students as young as 5 years old in the STEM disciplines.

  

source: http://www.lafayette.edu/about/news/2012/06/12/leah-figur-akins-82-receives-suny-award-for-teaching-in-engineering/


NY makes moves to improve STEM education

President Barack Obama has proclaimed that STEM education is a national priority.  STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.

New York state is looking at ways to improve the STEM education the state's children receive. This kind of education has  become more important in recent years, because that's where the jobs are. However, recent statistics show U.S. achievement in these skills lags behind much of Europe and Asia.

The issue, as New York State Education Commissioner John King notes, is that these classes can be a hard sell to kids.

"Sometimes students don't realize how fun and interesting STEM classes can be. So one of the challenges is to make sure that students see that math and science courses can be hands-on and engaging," said King.

King says one way to do that is helping teachers learn more ways to teach the material. That's what is driving a new summer professional development program for teachers this year, funded through federal race to the top dollars.  

Syracuse School Superintendent Sharon Contreras says almost two dozen city teachers have already signed up.

"Professional development in the STEM areas will result in courses that are more engaging. I believe students will be encouraged and motivated to take more science classes, technology classes, engineering classes and advance math classes,"  said Contreras.

New York state is also considering a STEM pathway to graduation that would require those students to take more STEM courses.

 

source: http://www.wrvo.fm/post/ny-makes-moves-improve-stem-education 


Grades 9 Through 14 School Model Strengthens Education-to-Work System

 

Education is not a preparation for life; education is life itself.—John Dewey

 

Only since the end of World War II has high school attendance been mandatory. Back in 1945, we understood that while college could be important, finishing high school wasn't optional—it was essential. But in 2012, the stakes and requirements are much higher. To gain access to 21st century careers, workers must be significantly better educated than in generations past. And to prepare our children to participate in the global economy, our schools must do a better job of connecting education to employment.

Sixty-three percent of American jobs will require postsecondary training by 2018, and our economy will create more than 14 million new jobs over the next 10 years for people with at least a community college degree. Workers with postsecondary training already out-earn high school graduates by 84 percent. Despite this, a startlingly low percentage of college students—30 percent at four-year colleges, and only about one in four at two-year colleges—finish their degrees. Lack of finances certainly can limit opportunities, but the biggest problems are inadequate academic preparation and the absence of a clearly delineated pathway from education to career.

 

Forward-thinking mayors like New York's Michael Bloomberg and Chicago's Rahm Emanuel understand this problem, and are exerting leadership to correct it. Starting this September, the City of Chicago will open five grades nine through 14 schools that will confer both a high school diploma and an associate degree. Each school will operate as a public-private partnership among the school system, the community college system, and a corporate employer. Students will be exposed to innovative curricula that include the development of workplace skills and will be prepared for entry-level positions in high technology and other growth industries. Upon obtaining their degrees, graduates will be first in line for jobs with their schools' corporate partners. It's a smarter approach to education, to strengthening the American economy, and to making our cities better places to live and work.

 

Chicago's initiative to connect education to employment is based on the Roadmap for Career and Technical Education created by IBM technical experts as part of A Smarter Cities Challenge grant, and on the STEM Pathways to College and Careers School Guide—developed after the opening of the Pathways to Technology Early College High School, or P-TECH, in Brooklyn, N.Y. With no special admissions requirements, the P-TECH grades nine through 14 model represents a new paradigm for public institutions that connect education to jobs.


As announced a few weeks ago, the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology has identified a need for four million STEM graduates over the next 10 years. Accordingly, President Obama's budget called for more than $100 million to prepare 100,000 new science, technology, engineering, and math teachers to help fill the STEM pipeline. And Congress has held several bipartisan hearings exploring how to more effectively prepare our students in STEM fields.

Praised by President Obama at a town hall meeting last September, the grades nine through 14 model launched by the New York City Department of Education, the City University of New York, and IBM works within existing budgets in any locale where parents, students, and the public and private sectors are open to an innovative approach to improving education and strengthening the economy. As Chicago announces its plans for five grades nine through 14 schools based on the P-TECH model, New York City is tripling down with three additional schools because of the success of the first one.

The next chapter in the success story of American education will be written when many more companies heed the calls of progressive civic and education leaders to strengthen our schools by connecting education to good-paying jobs. Companies should have strong incentives to participate, because strong schools make strong communities and businesses. But there are even more benefits, as companies that partner with public education will realize considerable business value from their collaborations. The reasons are clear: While students get the skills required to connect the dots between education and professional success, corporate partners get the talent pool they desperately need to stay competitive and grow.

With the grades nine through 14 schools model, we now have a proven method for increasing community college graduation rates, increasing wages and tax revenues, and building stable and successful communities. If the public and private sectors can work together in innovative ways to establish and maintain a new, more relevant, and more effective standard for American education, we can jumpstart our global competitiveness and look forward to across-the-board improvements in our schools, in our cities, and in our communities. The time to act is now.

 

 

source: http://www.usnews.com/opinion/articles/2012/02/28/grades-9-through-14-school-model-strengthens-education-to-work-system

 


Xerox Gives $350,000 to Support STEM Education

ROCHESTER, N.Y. – The Xerox Foundation today gave local students added incentive to explore STEM (science, technology, engineering andmath) education and careers. Joseph M. Cahalan, Ph.D., Xerox corporate vice president for communications and social responsibility and Xerox Foundation president, pledged an initial gift of $350,000 to the Monroe Community College Foundation to attract more students to STEM disciplines, expand educational opportunities and establish new scholarships at MCC. Monroe County Executive Maggie Brooks joined college and foundation leaders in thanking Cahalan and Xerox for investing in the community’s future through public higher education.

“This is a first-phase investment in what MCC is doing for STEM education,” said Cahalan. “We consider this a first step in a multi-year commitment. President Kress’ vision for MCC is extraordinary and so in sync with the times. It’s an investment and we know we will get a return on it.”

This gift will strengthen MCC’s ability to educate students in the STEM disciplines and advance partnerships with the Rochester City School District, especially the STEM High School at Edison. The gift will also fund faculty grants and support new STEM teaching methodologies. 

“Monroe County sincerely appreciates Xerox’s continued investment in the future of our community through MCC,” said Monroe County Executive Maggie Brooks. “Longstanding partnerships such as the one between Xerox and MCC are not only critical to the success of our local students, but enable our local employers to compete in a global economy.”

Currently 8 percent of all MCC students (approximately 1,380 students) are enrolled in STEM programs. STEM disciplines taught at MCC include biotechnology, computer information systems, engineering technologies (construction, electrical, manufacturing, mechanical and optical), engineering science, general sciences (biology, chemistry, geosciences, environmental science, physics, pre-forestry, pre-pharmacy) and mathematics.

According to MCC President Anne M. Kress, Ph.D., “Many of Rochester’s future engineers, scientists, teachers and health care professionals begin their education at MCC. Xerox has been incredibly generous and supportive of our students for the past 50 years. Xerox’s continued support makes it possible for our talented, dedicated students to access and benefit from the skills sets they will bring to the new STEM and knowledge-based economy.”

“With an investment which now exceeds $7 million, Xerox is the largest corporate contributor to MCC and exemplifies all that can be accomplished with a true public-private partnership,” said Diane L. Shoger, executive director of the MCC Foundation. “We are grateful for Xerox’s leadership and philanthropy. MCC is able to provide a solid educational foundation for thousands in our community each year because of their generosity.” 

 

source: http://www.monroecc.edu/etsdbs/PubAff.nsf/HeadlineNews/028714C4AA6715A3852579F2005C2281?OpenDocument

 


STEM education leader to welcome newest SUNY Oswego alumni at Torchlight

 

OSWEGO — A leading national advocate of science, technology, engineering and math education will encourage SUNY Oswego graduates of all majors to continue pursuing discovery and innovation as alumni when she speaks May 11 at the college’s Commencement Eve festivities.

Dr. Yvonne Spicer, who received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Oswego, will be this year’s mistress of ceremonies at the Commencement Eve Dinner and Torchlight Ceremony. All graduates and faculty of SUNY Oswego are invited to participate in the annual event, one of the college’s longest-standing traditions.

 

Spicer is vice president of advocacy and educational partnerships for the National Center for Technological Literacy based at the Museum of Science in Boston. She links schools with colleges and other educational partners, speaks at conferences and leads workshops.

 

 

“I absolutely love this work, and I feel it’s making a difference across this country,” Spicer told Oswego alumni magazine last year.

In 2011, she was named a founding member of a STEM advisory committee formed by the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices to help governors develop statewide STEM agendas.

Spicer’s Gateway Project has provided intense STEM training to more than 300 educators in 65 districts in Massachusetts. She recently worked with the design team on the National Research Council’s “Next Generation,” a framework for science education.

She holds a doctorate from the University of Massachusetts at Boston.

Spicer, a 1984 and 1985 Oswego graduate, joins a diverse cast of recent Commencement Eve emcees that includes ESPN anchor Steve Levy, class of 1987; former World Wrestling Entertainment executive Donna Goldsmith, class of 1982; former New York gubernatorial press secretary and public relations executive Saleem Cheeks, class of 2001; popular Albany area television news anchor and reporter Benita Zahn, class of 1976; and 9/11 hero, Port Authority Lt. John McLoughlin, class of 1975.

With the exception of Commencement, the Torchlight Ceremony is the oldest academic tradition on campus. “The Message of the Torch” was written more than 75 years ago by Oswego faculty member Lida Penfield, for whom Penfield Library was named.

Last year, seven decades of alumni were represented in the Inner Circle. To join the group that will symbolically welcome the class of 2012 to the Oswego Alumni Association, RSVP by May 4 by calling 315-312-2258 or emailing melissa.manwaring@oswego.edu

The deadline to register for the Commencement Eve dinner is April 27; see http://www.oswego.edu/alumni/torchlight.html to register.

source:http://oswegocountytoday.com/?p=85558 "> http://oswegocountytoday.com/?p=85558

 


 

Senator Gillibrand Joins AAR and Long Island Youth to Announce New Hands-On Stem Internship for Local Students

Garden City, NY – U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and AAR Aircraft Component Services, a leading provider of products and services to the worldwide aviation industry, joined by Westbury High School students at AAR’s Garden City office, announced today a new partnership aimed to provide Long Island students with science and technology internships and access to STEM-related (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) careers.   
 

Partnering with the Westbury Union Free School District and the Cradle of Aviation Museum, AAR unveiled a new “School to Work program, which hosts Westbury’s STEM Magnet School, to provide local students internships and access to STEM related careers. This new partnership will provide students from a disadvantaged community with opportunities in STEM fields and help AAR create a pipeline for future hires. 

“With 8 of the 9 fastest growing industries requiring proficiency in STEM, we are relying on these students to be the leaders and innovators of tomorrow,” said Senator Gillibrand.  “We need to teach our third graders how to build a rocket, our fifth graders how to build a robot and our high school students how to turn those interests into successful careers.”

In 2007, the Westbury Union Free School District initiated a curriculum reform program to increase the number of students performing at advanced levels in math and the sciences and pursuing degrees in STEM.  Westbury reports that participating students are more likely than their peers to report plans to pursue a STEM degree following graduation. 

“Aviation is a high-growth industry in need of skilled workers to fill job openings today and provide a pipeline of talent for the future,” said David P. Storch, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of AAR CORP and a graduate of the Westbury Schools. “It is imperative that private industry works closely with its government representatives and academic institutions to promote education and put people to work. I commend the leadership that Senator Gillibrand and the Long Island community have shown in this effort.”

The fastest growing occupations of the last decade required expertise in the fields of science and technology, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. But less than one-third of American students are proficient in math and science, according to the National Assessment of Educational Progress.

“I want to express my appreciation to the Senator and to AAR for offering this program which supports our shared vision of fostering academic excellence and providing exciting career opportunities for our students,” said Dr. Constance Snead, Westbury Superintendent of Schools.

Andy Parton, Cradle of Aviation Museum Director, added “AAR is taking a leadership role and setting an example for other aerospace companies by raising the profile of this critical need for skilled workers and by building strong partnerships to educate tomorrow’s work force.”

Senator Gillibrand’s STEM Education Agenda

1. Strengthening STEM Education for New York Students
America is home to the best colleges and universities in the world. But our students are not leaving college prepared with the education they need for the high-tech jobs of the future.  

Just 5 percent of American college graduates major in engineering, while 12 percent of European students and 20 percent of students in Asia pursue engineering, according to the National Science Board’s 2010 Science and Engineering Indicators. The report also shows a disproportionately low amount of U.S. women pursuing engineering degrees. While women earn nearly 60 percent of all bachelor’s degrees, less than 20 percent graduate with engineering degrees, holding women back from leading in high-tech industries. 

To boost STEM education programs in America’s elementary, middle and high schools, Senator Gillibrand introduced the Engineering Education for Innovation Act (the E2 for Innovation Act),  a targeted effort to increase the number of students who choose science and engineering as a career, and maintain America’s competitiveness in the world economy.

The E2 for Innovation Act would: 

  • Integrate engineering education into K-12 classrooms by designing challenging content and curricula frameworks and assessments that include engineering.
  • Increase engineering and technology teacher preparation programs and recruit qualified teachers to provide engineering education in high-need schools. 
  • Increase student achievement in STEM subjects and knowledge and competency in engineering design skills.
  • Invest in afterschool engineering education programs.
  • Promote partnerships among K-12 school administrators and teachers, and engineering member bodies and engineering professionals. 

The E2 for Innovation Act is a three year program that would award grants through the Secretary of Education in consultation with the Director of the National Science Foundation for the planning and implementation of engineering education into K-12 instruction and cirriculum. It would also provide funding for one year to the Institute of Education Sciences for research and evaluation grants to assess the effectiveness of the funds used for planning and implementation.

2. Increase Hands-On STEM Learning
To help spark more student interest in science, math and technology to boost their proficiency in these subjects, Senator Gillibrand cosponsored the Innovation Inspiration School Grant Program Act. The legislation would establish a grant program within the U.S. Department of Education to create more hands-on STEM learning experiences in our classrooms, such as robotics.

According to a Brandeis University study, 88 percent of students that participate in these kids of learning experiences go on to full-time higher education, are almost twice as likely to major in a science or engineering field, and are more than three times as likely to major specifically in engineering – putting these students on a path to promising, good-paying, high-tech jobs. 

3. Produce More STEM Teachers

America faces a stark shortage of math and science teachers to prepare our students. In fact, the U.S. will need an estimated 283,000 math and science teachers in secondary schools by 2015, according to the Business-Higher Education Forum 2006 Report.

The lack of STEM teachers is taking a serious toll on the amount of STEM students we produce. And the lack of STEM teachers in low-income schools widens racial and gender gaps among our high-tech workforce: 

  • Women represent 43 percent of our workforce, but make up only 23 percent of scientists and engineers;
  • African Americans and Hispanics together represent about 30 percent of our workforce, but make up only 7 percent of scientists and engineers;
  • Together, African Americans and Hispanics receive less than 5 percent of all doctorates in mathematics, physics, chemistry and computer science. 

To help equip all of our classrooms with the teachers we need to train more students to be the high-tech innovators of the future, Senator Gillibrand introduced the National STEM Education Tax Incentive for Teachers Act. The legislation would provide STEM teachers who work in low-income, high-need schools a tax credit to cover 10 percent of their undergraduate tuition – up to $1,000 each year. STEM teachers in schools serving in high-need schools would be able to deduct up to $1,500 each year. 

The legislation is a critical tool to attract STEM teachers to low-income schools and help increase the number of low-income students succeeding in STEM classes and pursuing careers in math, science and engineering. 

source: http://www.gillibrand.senate.gov/newsroom/press/release/with-eight-out-of-nine-of-the-fastest-growing-industries-requiring-math-and-science-proficiency-senator-gillibrand-joins-aar-and-long-island-youth-to-announce-new-hands-on-stem-internship-for-local-students