Posts Tagged ‘STEM’

Third Race to the Top Competition Focused on STEM Education

Monday, November 21st, 2011

The U.S. Department of Education has announced a third round of Race to the Top grants, this time specifically targeting STEM. Grants will total $200 million during this competition, but only nine states are eligible to apply: Arizona, California, Colorado, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and South Carolina. These states were the runners up in the last round of grants. Grants will range in amount from $12 million to $49 million, depending on state population.

The application process will have two stages. First, states will submit a portfolio of assurances confirming their commitment to comprehensively reform education in their state, including funding for education and efforts to enhance data systems, raise academic standards, and improve evaluation systems. Next, states will submit a detailed plan and budget explaining how their proposal will impact student learning and improve STEM education.

Applicants must submit part one by November 22, followed by part two by December 16. Awards will be announced in late December.

Nancy Conneely, Public Policy Manager

By Nancy in Public Policy
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Leaders Focus on Closing the Skills Gap and Increasing Innovation

Monday, November 14th, 2011

Leaders concerned with America’s growing skills gap met last week in Washington to focus on solutions to this national problem.

The Atlantic, a literary and political magazine, hosted the event to brainstorm how America can regain its competitiveness in the global economy. U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison kicked off the event by stressing the importance of teaching science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields as early as middle school. She also expressed her support for Career Technical Education (CTE) and emphasized the need for technical jobs and training to fulfill the country’s “responsibility to show that some of the best jobs in the world [require] technical degrees.”

A panel featuring higher education, government, and manufacturing experts described their various initiatives aimed at closing this gap.  Jay Timmons, President and CEO of the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) described current progress as slow, but he also stated that the nation is set to make great strides in the long-term.  From a higher education perspective, Bob Templin, President of Northern Virginia Community College, agreed that a larger number of high school graduates are not ready for postsecondary training. However, he also noted that secondary and postsecondary schools and business and industry are actively teaming together to create solutions.

View the entire event and additional resources here.

Kara Herbertson, Education Policy Analyst

By Kara in News
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Legislative Update: ESEA, Bills Introduced

Friday, October 21st, 2011

Senate Marks Up ESEA

The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee met on Wednesday to begin markup the draft Elementary and Secondary Education Reauthorization bill introduced by Senator Tom Harkin (IA) last week. The markup was threatened with delays when Senator Rand Paul (KY) objected to the Committee meeting longer than two hours after the Senate convened on Wednesday. This is a procedural rule, rarely employed in the Senate, that is almost always waived. Senator Paul was concerned that no hearing had been held on the bill this session (10 were held last session) and he felt there was not enough time to review the bill before the markup. On Thursday, Senators Harkin and Enzi (WY) reached an agreement with Senator Paul that in exchange for dropping his objection, the Committee will hold a hearing on the bill on November 8.

The Committee reported the bill last night by a vote of 15-7. Three Republicans, Senators Enzi, Lamar Alexander (TN) and Mark Kirk (IL), joined all Democrats in voting for the bill. Senator Harkin hopes to bring the bill to the floor for debate and a vote before Thanksgiving.

During the markup, Senator Richard Blumenthal (CT) introduced an amendment to expand internships and apprenticeships, with the goal of alleviating dropouts and providing skills training. Because the amendment would require locals to use the money for this purpose, several Senators opposed it, but said they would support it if it were an allowable use of funds. Blumenthal agreed to withdraw the amendment and change the language, but wants to be sure that there are strong incentives for locals to use funding for internships and apprenticeships.

Bills Introduced

Teachers and First Responders Back to Work Act

This week Senators Menendez (NJ), Reid (NV), Harkin (IA), Stabenow (MI) and Casey (PA) introduced S. 1723, Teachers and First Responders Back to Work Act.  The bill contains the provision of the American Jobs Act that provides $35 billion to create or protect education jobs, as well as jobs for police officers and firefighters.  The jobs supported in this bill are not just teachers, but any public school K12 employee.

However, last night the Senate failed to invoke cloture on the bill by a vote of 50-50. All Republicans voted against it, as did Senators Lieberman (CT), Nelson (NE) and Pryor (AR). As result, the bill will not be voted on.

Preparing Students for Success in the Global Economy Act

Senators Jeff Merkley (OR), Al Franken (MN), Mark Begich (AK), and Kirsten Gillibrand (NY) introduced S. 1675, Preparing Students for Success in the Global Economy Act. This bill aims to increase student access to courses in STEM subjects and provide additional resources to recruit, train, and support STEM teachers.

Grantees must include in their applications a description of how their activities will be coordinated with other programs and activities, including Perkins-funded CTE programs. Local subgrantees must also describe in their applications how grant funds will be coordinated with programs and activities, including Perkins-funded CTE programs.

“If we don’t train our children for the jobs of the future, we won’t be able to compete in the future,” Merkley said. “Whenever I talk to companies like Intel back in Oregon, they tell me that STEM education is key, and in far too many schools, the resources aren’t there to prepare our students for careers in engineering and science. This legislation will help address this deficit.”


Nancy Conneely, Public Policy Manager

By Nancy in Legislation
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Five New Jersey Career Technical Education Schools Rank in U.S. News & World Report Best High Schools for Math and Science

Friday, September 30th, 2011

Five Career Technical Education (CTE) schools in New Jersey ranked in U.S. News & World Report’s first-issued Best High Schools for Math and Science, including the no. 1 spot on the high-profile list.

CTE programs, which focus on delivering educational experiences that ready students with the academic and career skills for the real world, appear to have a formula needed to better poise students for high-demand jobs related to math and science. The recent ranking made by these five CTE schools shine a light on education strategies that have significant potential to prime individuals to be successful in the global economy.

The top-performing math and science school is High Technology High School in Lincroft, N.J., with 283 students. Enrollment is highly competitive, with some 300 applicants a year for 60 available spots, according to U.S. News & World Report. The other New Jersey schools ranked as follows.

To qualify for the Math and Science ranking, a school first had to be listed as either Gold, Silver, or Honorable Mention in the U.S. News Best High Schools rankings published in December 2009. That meant 598 high schools were eligible to be ranked using data from 2008 graduates. The methodology for selection is explained online.

Erin Uy, Communications and Marketing Manager

By Erin in News
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New NASDCTEc Resources: Fact Sheets on Job Growth and CTE Student Outcomes

Tuesday, September 13th, 2011

Six sectors are projected to account for 85 percent of new jobs in the United States through the end of the decade. Are current CTE programs preparing students for jobs in these high-demand sectors? Take a look at NASDCTEc’s latest fact sheets to find out, and to view other compelling reasons to support CTE!

Career Technical Education: Preparing Students in Areas of Job Growth
Career Technical Education: High Expectations, High Outcomes

Fact sheets and other resources are available in the Advocacy Tools section of the website.

Kara Herbertson, Education Policy Analyst

By Kara in Research, Resources
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Cyber Patriot Competition Promotes STEM Opportunity

Friday, September 9th, 2011

The Air Force Association (AFA) is providing a premiere national high school cyber defense competition that is designed to give hands on exposure to the foundations of cyber security. CyberPatriot is not designed to be a hacking competition, but rather the goal is to excite students about Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education.

The first CyberPatriot “games” took place in 2009, at AFA’s 25th Annual Air Warfare Symposium where seven Air Force Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (AFJROTC) teams and one Civil Air Patrol (CAP) team from the greater Orlando area competed. The event has grown since that time to include not only JRTOC and CAP units, but has expanded to include an open division that is open to teams from accredited public or private institutions or a registered home school association.

A CyberPatriot team consists of five students and up to five alternates with each team having a coach. The students must be at least 13 years old and enrolled in grades 9-12. The teams will have mentors (technical advisors) to help students prepare for the competition and the CyberPatriot program works with coaches to find mentors for their team.

The competition uses virtual machines and tests the students’ abilities to identify several security vulnerabilities within a certain amount of time. The teams successful in three rounds of competition ultimately compete in the National Championships held in Washington, DC.
Registration for the competition ends October 8, 2011. More information about the competition, the history, and the goals can be found at

Dean Folkers, Deputy Executive Director

By Dean in News, Resources
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Why Do Students Choose STEM?

Wednesday, September 7th, 2011

The U.S. Department of Labor projects that the U.S. will have more than a million job openings in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields by 2018; however, they also find that too few workers will be qualified to fill these positions. Microsoft released findings today from two surveys that suggest the reasons many students choose to study STEM fields during postsecondary education and how high schools can better prepare students who want to pursue these fields.

The first survey includes responses from postsecondary students pursuing degrees in STEM subjects and the second surveys parents of K-12 students.

Findings from the survey of postsecondary STEM students:

Findings from the survey of parents of K-12 students:

Career Technical Education (CTE) offers challenging courses that prepares students for these in-demand fields through the STEM Career Cluster. As the student survey shows, students feel more prepared to pursue STEM fields in postsecondary education when they have completed rigorous STEM courses during high school. Whatever a student’s motivation for studying STEM may be, CTE provides a solid background in these subjects that will prepare students to further pursue STEM through postsecondary education or a career.

Kara Herbertson, Education Policy Analyst

By Kara in News, Research
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More Career Readiness, Life Skills Needed in High School, Say Recent Graduates

Wednesday, August 31st, 2011

One year after high school graduation, most students wish they had received more life skills training and more opportunities for career readiness during high school, according to a recent survey.

The College Board, a non-profit organization seeking to connect students to college, released a national survey of high school graduates who evaluated their high school experiences based on preparation for college or careers.

Students also reported that they would have benefitted from more practical career readiness and life skills training during high school, such as managing personal finances, to better prepare for college or careers. Students also wish they had taken more rigorous high school course work in science, math and writing.

Students overwhelmingly reported that a college degree is worth the time and money, and 90 percent of respondents stated that students need to complete training or college after high school to succeed in a future career.

Career Technical Education (CTE) programs fill these gaps by combining rigorous coursework with meaningful hands-on experiences to fully prepare CTE graduates for college and careers.

Kara Herbertson, Education Policy Analyst

By Kara in Research
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Report Finds STEM Jobs Still on the Rise

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2011

The nation’s unemployment rate remains high and jobs are scarce, yet workers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields remain in high demand.

A report from the U.S. Department of Commerce shows that STEM jobs have grown three times as fast as non-STEM jobs over the last decade. Last year, the almost 8 million Americans who worked in STEM fields represented only about 6 percent of the entire labor force. Yet, the country relies on these workers to drive America’s competitiveness and innovation.

U.S. Dept. of Commerce: Recent and Projected Growth in STEM and Non-STEM Employment

The low supply of available STEM workers translates into higher wages and less joblessness than non-STEM employees. Even STEM degree holders working in non-STEM fields benefit similarly. The future for STEM jobs continues to looks bright, as the Department of Commerce projects STEM jobs will continue to grow at a much faster rate than non-STEM jobs.

STEM jobs include professional and technical support occupations in computer science and mathematics, engineering, and life and physical sciences. Career Technical Education (CTE) students in the STEM Career Cluster are prepared for further education or careers in these high-wage, high-demand fields through rigorous academic and technical training.

Kara Herbertson, Education Policy Analyst,

By Kara in News, Publications
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Study: How Much Does A College Major Impact Potential Earnings?

Tuesday, May 31st, 2011

Which college majors are linked to the highest job earnings? A report released last week by the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce analyzed 171 majors to report on median salaries in each field.

Anthony Carnevale, Director of the Center, stated that “The majors that are most popular are not the ones that make the most money.” He also remarked that, while he views attaining a bachelor’s degree as necessary, a student’s choice of major may be an even more important decision.

Not surprisingly, majors in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields take the top ten spots for salary. The highest earners are Petroleum Engineers with a median salary of $120,000. All ten of the lowest median earnings are in social science fields. Counseling/Psychology majors earn the least with an annual average of $29,000.

The report also reveals the majors with the lowest unemployment, including Military Technologies and School Student Counseling, and those with the highest unemployment, including Social Psychology and Nuclear Engineering.

Race and gender earnings gaps are present in all majors.

The huge disparities in earnings potential confirm the necessity of career guidance in secondary and postsecondary education. Career guidance is a key part of Career Technical Education (CTE), and helps students to attain postsecondary certificates or credentials in high-skill, high-wage, high-demand jobs.

By Kara in News, Research
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