NEWTON, MA | April 15, 2008
To improve science education in Massachusetts schools, state government leaders should consider designating a lead agency to evaluate current programs and create a master plan to coordinate efforts at the local level. That is just one of several recommendations detailed in a recent study commissioned by the Newton-based Education Development Center, Inc. (EDC)
The Landscape Study, conducted by EDC’s Center for Science Education, focused on the status of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, commonly referred to as STEM, education initiatives in the state. EDC interviewed more than 20 key state leaders responsible for implementing science education or programming in the state’s public schools.
“This was the first time we’ve identified the resources of all the organizations involved in STEM education in Massachusetts,” said Barbara Brauner Berns, Director of EDC’s Center for Science Education who worked on the study with Judith Opert Sandler, EDC Senior Advisor. “We hope these recommendations generate discussion—and more important, action—to ultimately coordinate and improve STEM education at all levels,” Berns said.
EDC also suggested that policymakers:
- Target the age and grades where our efforts will most likely result in STEM career interest and choices.
- Identify and evaluate the best STEM teacher preparation, professional development programs, and curricula, and develop a library of what’s working.
- Ensure the equitable distribution of resources, equipment, and job placement opportunities across the Commonwealth, with attention to low resource districts.
- Align preK-12 STEM curricula to assessments and higher education and job entrance requirements.
- Extend school hours and provide enhanced programs for students, especially in low resource schools.
- Upgrade teacher preparation and licensure and professional development programs.