Public-Private STEM Collaboration

At its annual summit of education and business leaders last week, the Chamber of Commerce hosted superintendents and CEOs to discuss the “essential role business plays in the success of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education.” The Chamber’s Institute for a Competitive Workforce released a report at the event, written by the Institute for a Competitive Workforce, entitled The Case for Being Bold: A New Agenda for Business in Improving STEM Education to outline industry’s role in innovating how America teaches its children.

The report called on leaders to “apply innovative and fresh thinking to areas of protracted debate, such as academic standards, human capital, and new school models.”  Joel Klein, former New York City Schools Chancellor and current NewsCorp Executive Vice President, suggested that school systems invest in more technology that can be used to tap into the interests and learning styles of today’s youth.  He noted that “remedies engineered to fit comfortably within today’s system will be hard-pressed to fundamentally transform STEM education… most [proposals] leave largely undisturbed the organizing assumptions of schools designed to process the masses and educate the few.”

In Memphis, the private sector and educators are collaborating to create just such a cooperative atmosphere that will encourage innovative curricula and reward schools that enrich their STEM education.  The Mid-South STEM Alliance is already “hosting summer camps and developing specific objectives and programs that can be instituted throughout the K-12 system” to encourage student interest and perfect teaching practices.  The programs aim to instill creative thinking-based classrooms with real-world applications in hopes of developing as a “STEM hub” that will attract business to the region.

Posted by: John Coit

Sources: diverseeducation.com, Institute for a Competitive Workforce, memphisdailynews.com, U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Photo Credit: Business Class courtesy of flickr user Tulane Public Relations

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