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One of the pillars of Change the Equation’s work is effective STEM advocacy—promoting proven state policies and research-based practices that lead to student mastery of and interest in STEM disciplines. This month, we released nine principles that will guide our STEM policy advocacy efforts. The very first principle is a call to action: Support adoption and implementation of both the Common Core Mathematics Standards and Next Generation Science Standards. Our April STEM Salon showcased this principle in action.
CTEq’s more than 100 CEOs are deeply committed to high academic standards across the states, whether through the Common Core movement or state standards that are just as rigorous. They fully realize that implementing the Common Core will take more than lip service. While more than 40 states have adopted the standards—a feat unto itself—the hard work is just beginning.
Now, CTEq companies are putting their collective weight behind advocacy for the Common Core. ExxonMobil, for example, took advantage of the riveting Masters Golf Tournament this month to air a compelling public service announcement, “Let’s Solve This,” to mark its support for the Common Core.
CTEq companies are mobilizing and engaging with educators to embed the Common Core into instructional practice as well. As we reported last month, GE is investing $18 million over four years to support teachers, create new assessments and develop curriculum and publishers’ criteria. This month, GE’s Bob Corcoran, head of the GE Foundation and an engineer, urged other corporate leaders to join GE in making sure the Common Core succeeds. As he told an overflowing crowd at the CTEq April STEM Salon: “Business people have complained for decades about education. What we have now is a chance to raise the bar for all children.” If we fail, it could be another 30 years before we get another chance.
For educators, implementing the Common Core at scale means nothing less than “reimagining education,” according to Josh Thomases, deputy chief academic officer for the New York City Department of Education, who also spoke at the April STEM Salon. “It requires every teacher in this country relearning their job.” With a five-year, $17.9 million grant from GE, which is part of the foundation’s separate Developing Futures™ in Education STEM initiative, New York City is ramping up its efforts to transform practices in 1,750 schools, with the futures of 1.1 million students at stake.
Anyone who thinks that implementing the Common Core will be a cakewalk is gravely mistaken. If ever there was a time for corporate advocacy and public–private partnerships to achieve better STEM results, it is now.
To that end, CTEq will continue to support effective corporate advocacy and investments grounded in data, so we know where we are and where we need to go. In May, CTEq will move more deliberately into advocacy by hosting teams of state leaders to talk about how their state plans support widespread STEM literacy and can benefit from CTEq’s forthcoming state-by-state Vital Signs reports on the condition of STEM learning.
Linda P. Rosen
Change the Equation
Change the Equation puts STEM learning at the center of education improvement and economic growth. We hope you’ll follow our progress in this monthly e-newsletter. We invite you to join our movement and connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and RSS feeds.
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Linda P. Hudson
CEO and President
BAE Systems, Inc.
In our industry, STEM literacy isn’t just about being able to innovate and compete—it’s a matter of national security. It may sound dramatic, but it’s absolutely true.
Science, technology, engineering and math are the lifeblood of BAE Systems. But our engineering workforce is aging. At the same time, the number of youth pursuing STEM-related degrees and careers is not keeping up with demands. That’s not just a problem for our company, but for our competitors and country as well. It is an equation that cannot hold.
While STEM education is a major thrust of BAE Systems’ philanthropic giving, our efforts alone cannot begin to address a problem of this magnitude. As the CEO of a single company I can only make a small dent in the problem of STEM literacy. But through CTEq, allied with 100 like-minded CEOs, I can make a big difference.
At BAE Systems, Inc., we invest more than a million dollars per year in K–12 education. It is my responsibility to ensure that every investment my company makes is a wise one. Tools like CTEq’s Design Principles for Effective Philanthropy have helped me do just that.
CTEq’s work was instrumental in helping to identify two key programs at the core of our elementary education STEM efforts. Most recently, we have launched a partnership with Reach Out and Read—a program that works with pediatricians in underprivileged and military communities to “prescribe” reading to ready children for elementary school. In addition, we support the National Math and Science Initiative (NMSI) in its efforts to develop educational curricula to better equip educators to teach STEM in our nation’s high schools.
We also invest heavily in higher education, largely through our recruitment efforts. But unless we can instill a passion in students for science and math at a young age, there can be no pipeline of engineering graduates from which to recruit.
As a girl growing up in Central Florida in the sixties, I got my inspiration by watching Mercury, Gemini and Apollo launches from my yard. I loved science and math back when girls were supposed to prefer home economics. I wanted to be a pilot and an astronaut in an era when there were no female pilots and astronauts. A very important teacher changed my life by introducing me to engineering. That was when I realized that even if I couldn’t fly planes, I could design them.
Change the Equation will help our company change thousands of lives, just as that teacher changed mine.
But I do worry. What are we doing today to inspire the next generation to pursue defense, security and aerospace as a career? We often forget that some of the greatest innovations of our time stemmed from technologies developed with government R&D funds and from massive government programs like our mission to send a man to the moon.
We need to build the exciting STEM-related career paths that help college students choose science and math when declaring their majors and look to aerospace and defense after receiving their degrees. We need to get kids excited about technology-related careers early in their lives. That is an equation we must change.
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Google Gives Back—and Makes Learning Magical
That same spirit of curiosity that drives tens of millions of people to Google Search every day also inspires the philanthropic investments of CTEq member Google, which last year gave $115 million to education—much of it STEM-related.
Google’s giving is as wide and deep and innovative as its famous search engine and many other products. The company’s education initiatives focus on three key areas:
“We want to make sure we are encouraging and growing young scientists and their teachers,” says Google’s Cristin Frodella, head of education marketing. Capturing students’ imaginations when they are young is critical to Google—and it dovetails with the early learning experiences that led many of its employees to STEM careers. “An employee survey found that 98.3 percent of Google engineers had been exposed to computer engineering before they went to college. And many of them had participated in science fairs starting when they were in fifth or sixth grade.”
So in 2011, in one of its signature STEM programs, Google made the allure of the science fair an international sensation. More than 10,000 students in 90 countries competed in the first Google Science Fair, which challenged them to be curious, investigate a burning question and compete for big prizes, including a trip to Google’s Mountain View, CA, headquarters for finalists to present their projects. The grand prize award featured a $50,000 scholarship, a 10-day trip to the Galapagos Islands with partner National Geographic Explorer, Chromebooks for the winner’s entire class and an internship at Google or other sterling science fair partners, CERN or LEGO. This year, partner Scientific American will award $50,000 and a year’s mentoring for further research with a special Science in Action prize. With these lucrative prizes, Google is demonstrating that young STEM stars deserve the same kind of recognition and rewards as top athletes and rock stars.
The spoils of victory for last year’s finalists and winners had a long tail. Winners met with President Obama in the Oval Office, returned to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue to share their research at this year’s inaugural White House Science Fair and met “tons of scientists,” Frodella says. And Google marvels at an unanticipated benefit of the Science Fair: the finalists bonded and now stay in touch, building social capital as an international community of up-and-coming STEM talent. This year, Google translated the science fair application into 13 languages in an effort to broaden the international competition.
Google sponsors other competitions for students as well, such as:
The company’s STEM programs extend to teachers as well. Google supports the 100Kin10 initiative—the push to increase the supply of excellent STEM teachers—with a recognition program for the top 5 percent of STEM teachers nationwide. CTEq also is a partner in this initiative to train 100,000 STEM teachers in 10 years. Google’s in-person Teacher Academy and online Code University help educators learn how to use the newest technologies.
Through these and many other initiatives, Google in Education expects more students to discover the same magic in STEM learning that has launched so many Google careers.
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Ready or Not
Only 30 percent of 12th-graders who took the ACT test are ready for college-level work in science. In math, only 45 percent met ACT's benchmark for college readiness. Read more >
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Two major CTEq events are on tap for May. Our Vital Signs Forum will bring together 42 state teams for a preview of the condition of STEM education in each state. Our STEM Salon on May 23 will highlight a pioneering new vision for college and career readiness. And before you consider new ways to support STEM learning, check out CTEq’s new Principles for STEM Policy Advocacy.
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Vital Signs Forum—This May 3–4 forum in Washington, DC, is shaping up to be a high-powered event, with 42 state teams, made up of more than 200 government, corporate, non-profit and education leaders, in attendance. CTEq will brief the state teams about the August 2012 release of the state-by-state Vital Signs on the condition of STEM learning. One of the indicators will be released during the Forum.
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May STEM Salon—Next month’s gathering on May 23 in Washington, DC, will highlight business involvement in creating STEM-focused schools that form new pathways for students in postsecondary schooling and careers. The Salon will feature IBM’s partnership with P-TECH in New York City and Battelle’s partnership with Metro Early College High School in Columbus, OH. Register now to attend the popular STEM Salon, scheduled for 8:15 a..m. – 10 a.m. at the CTEq offices on 1101 K St NW, Suite 610, Washington, DC 20005.
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Principles for STEM Advocacy—Change the Equation is leading private-sector initiatives to help improve STEM teaching and learning—both in school and out of school. CTEq member companies are committed to working with states and local communities, which provide over 90 percent of public funding for education, to improve STEM learning. Our Principles for STEM Policy Advocacy will help clarify the vision for STEM learning, align STEM initiatives, and make public and private policies and investments more effective.
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April is Mathematics Awareness Month, and CTEq members are finding countless ways to nurture math and other STEM talent. Raytheon is celebrating with teacher scholarships and national math challenges. The Texas Instruments Foundation is partnering with a Texas school district on a comprehensive, four-year “STEM District” initiative using proven best practices, which will serve as a model for the state. And Cognizant announced a unique scholarship opportunity for students: design a hands-on project that illustrates creativity and innovation, and document the project with a video.
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This month, and every month, Raytheon’s MathMovesU® initiative aims to increase middle and elementary school students’ interest in STEM education by engaging them in hands-on, interactive activities. In April, the company is highlighting results via Raytheon’s @MathMovesU Twitter handle from its recent survey about America's middle school students’ perceptions of math. Among the survey findings, nearly half of students ages 10 to 14 said they enjoy learning math outside of the classroom and consider hands-on activities their favorite method of experiencing new subject material.
Raytheon is also showcasing its long-standing commitment to math education this month on its website and its MathMovesU Facebook fan page with a timeline, teacher scholarship programs, employee volunteerism and the company’s support of national math challenges.
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Cognizant will award 20 $5,000 scholarships each year to students who want to pursue a STEM field through its Making the Future initiative. Applicants will be judged not based on an essay or test scores, but on a video of something they’ve made (in true Maker spirit!). Margaret Honey, CEO of the New York Hall of Science (NYSCI), will chair an all-star panel of judges, with representatives from NYSCI, the Maker Education Collaborative (and the Make Team), and others to be announced—perhaps some of you! Deadline for the scholarship is May 15.
Also, Making the Future is now on Facebook! Check out the page and share the link on your own Facebook page.
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The Texas Instruments (TI) Foundation, Educate Texas and Lancaster Independent School District (LISD) announced an initiative to systemically change STEM education at all levels in the district over the next four years. The new “STEM District” model will transform the teaching of these subjects statewide to better prepare Texas students for postsecondary and workforce success.
The TI Foundation will give up to $4.8 million over the next four years to Educate Texas, a public–private initiative of Communities Foundation of Texas, which will work with LISD to implement a plan for building out a “STEM District” by using proven best practices to transform the way the STEM subjects are taught and learned across the entire district.
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In Other News
CTEq member Bayer Corporation released a new report, STEM Education, Science Literacy and the Innovation Workforce in America: Analysis and Insights from the Bayer Facts of Life Science Education Surveys 1995–2011. The report is a compilation of 15 years of Bayer Facts of Science Education public opinion research surveys, which have taken the pulse of American attitudes about timely issues related to science and technology, science education and more recently, STEM diversity and underrepresentation. In mapping the nearly two decades of research, the report reveals 15 beliefs held universally by the stakeholders polled, including Ph.D. scientists and science teachers; STEM department chairs at leading research universities; Fortune 1000 STEM company CEOs, corporate human resource directors and other business leaders; and deans of colleges and universities, as well as parents, students and the general public.
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The Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) is hosting a webinar on the Common Core mathematics standards on April 30 at 2 p.m. ET. The presenters are Bill McCallum and Ellen Whitesides, advisors for the Math State Collaborative on Assessment and Student Standards (SCASS). Dr. McCallum was also a lead writer of the math standards. The webinar will include a presentation on the concept of focus in the math standards, the work of the Math SCASS, and information on the Illustrative Mathematics Project. Registration for this webinar is open to all. In addition, CCSSO publishes a biweekly newsletter on the Common Core. Interested persons may subscribe through the CCSSO website.