Categories: Office of Governor Markell
(Wilmington, Del.) – Amid the hydroponic soil-less plants that adorn the walls of the state-of-the-art laboratory at the P.S. duPont Middle School, the Delaware STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) Council today released a comprehensive report detailing the state of STEM Education in Delaware: its strengths, weaknesses and opportunities for improvement.
Created by Governor Jack Markell in 2011, the Delaware STEM Council is comprised of 26 appointed members from every corner of the State — a combination of educators, school administrators, business leaders, government officials, and students. Judson Wagner, STEM Coordinator for the Brandywine School District, and former U.S. Senator Ted Kaufman, himself an engineer, serve as Co-Chairs of the Council.
“It is critical to our national and economic interest that we own STEM innovation in the future as thoroughly as we owned mechanical innovation in the past,” said Governor Markell. “It’s our obligation to Delaware’s future leaders that we equip them with the tools, networks and opportunities that STEM can offer them to ensure their – and our state’s – strongest future.”
“In releasing this report today, we take a clear-eyed look at STEM education in our public schools and we set out an aggressive agenda for improving it,” said Senator Kaufman, Co-Chair of the STEM Council. “You don’t need a crystal ball to see what the future holds – though not all our students will pursue a STEM career, the vast majority of them will absolutely need some STEM skills to compete. Our ultimate goal is to create a seamless Pre-K-through-higher education STEM system so that our students have every opportunity to succeed, and provide the workforce to attract STEM businesses to Delaware.”
The work of the Council is divided among six committees with specific areas of concern, specified in the Governor’s executive order. They are: Advisory; Public Education; Women and Minorities; Higher Education; Business Collaboration and Communication; and Program Evaluation and Monitoring. The 20-page report released today details the challenges facing Delaware schools and is broken down by three separate parts the Council believes are critical to a thriving STEM system: PK-12 Education; Higher Education; and the Business Community.
A highlight of the report follows. For the full text of the annual report and individual committee reports, go to www.stem.delaware.gov.
Over the course of the last year, the Council found that there are numerous efforts to provide quality STEM opportunities for students in Delaware. Those efforts, however, vary across the state, and are not fully vertically integrated to assure that the needs of the workforce are communicated to higher education and the PK-12 system.
National projections show that STEM occupations will represent the greatest growth in the next decade. We must provide the foundational skills necessary to prepare students for the rigors of basic high school and college level coursework.
The recommendations of the Delaware STEM Council serve to address many of the aforementioned areas of weakness and build upon many of the positive aspects of our current educational system and business climate. (For a more comprehensive list and more detailed explanations, go to www.stem.delaware.gov)
The Council proposes to:
“Our guiding principle is simple: A solid STEM foundation in primary and secondary schools, coupled with stellar higher education STEM integration, greatly increases one’s chances of obtaining and maintaining a satisfying and high paying STEM career,” said Judson Wagner, STEM Council Co-Chair. “Though clearly we have a ways to go, we are well-positioned to become a leader in STEM education which will, in turn, attract dynamic and growing businesses to Delaware. We stand ready to face the challenges.”