On Friday, March 4th, OSTP hosted the first meeting of the National Science and Technology Council’s new Committee on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Education. Co-Chaired by Associate Director for Science Carl Wieman and National Science Foundation Director Subra Suresh, the Committee—which is comprised of representatives from 11 Federal agencies—discussed how to lay the strategic groundwork for ensuring that the Nation’s STEM education investments are producing highly effective teachers and motivated students along with ongoing, measurable improvements in capabilities throughout the educational system.
Nancy-Ann DeParle, White House Deputy Chief of Staff, talked about how important STEM Education is to the President, and how improvements in this arena can have a transformative effect on the Nation. Tony Miller, Department of Education Deputy Secretary, emphasized that getting STEM Ed right means not only getting more students interested and enthusiastic about science and engineering but also boosting retention rates in STEM programs by keeping those interest levels high, year after year.
The group discussed how best to create a detailed inventory of STEM Ed programs and a 5-year Strategic Plan for STEM Ed, as called for by Congress in the America COMPETES Act. Members also discussed how assessments can be used to ensure the quality and cost effectiveness of programs, especially in this time of tough budget choices.
President Obama has noted that winning the future depends on being able to out-innovate, out-build and—yes—out-educate our competitors, and that the development of a tech-savvy workforce starts in the classroom. The STEM Ed Committee looks forward to supporting these important Administration goals.