SOE facilitates STEM discussion with White House advisor
The VCU School of Education recently facilitated an informal discussion with Dr. Jeff Weld, senior policy advisor and assistant director of STEM Education in the Executive Office of the President of the United States. The meeting yielded valuable insights that can be applied to Weld’s new Federal STEM Education Plan, as well as ideas for a Virginia leadership group that is informing state-based STEM plans for the commonwealth.
Led by Dr. Al Byers, visiting scholar in STEM Education, attendees included several colleagues from VCU, Virginia Tech, the Virginia Community College System and the Virginia Department of Education.
Dr. Weld is leading the December release of a five-year Federal STEM Education Plan that will provide the strategy for implementing STEM education across the U.S. (STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and math.) The plan will be a culmination of insights gained from federal agencies, educators and industry representatives, among other stakeholders and policymakers, and will serve as a guidepost for future state and locally based STEM college- and career-based initiatives.
STEM education for K-12 and post-secondary opportunities (college and career) has significant implications, down to even the upper elementary grades. Research shows that during these formative years, students develop a STEM “identity” and acquire a passion to pursue more arduous STEM pursuits later on. These same students will be asked to make STEM-informed decisions in the future on issues as varied as clean water, halting the spread of infectious diseases, and the vulnerability of the internet.
As SOE and our Virginia partners begin crafting our own state-based STEM education plans, the insights gained from this meeting will prove invaluable in charting an efficient, effective road map and timeline for our students.