Just heard on the news that Cleveland is thinking about something called STEM. STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. This is supposed to be a statewide initiative to improve schools and insure kids are ready for college. The emphasis is on critical thinking and problem solving. It is funded by the Bill and Malinda Gates Foundation. Sounds pretty encouraging. The web site is www.ohiostem.org/. This is a serious leg up for the community. What do you think?
There’s a lot of activity taking shape over STEM and it’s encouraging to see the pieces come together. Cleveland Metropolitan School District is looking to build a STEM high school. The region’s universities have banded together and our seeking state support to expand STEM scholarships. And a group of philanthropic funders are bringing together regional leaders to reimagine how we prepare our youth for the 21st century and STEM could be front-and-center in that effort. The challenge is maintaining the momentum and coordinating efforts. It is good to see the Department of Development putting an emphasis on this as STEM education is all about economic development in the long run.
We do work in educational reform and learning institutions improvement; STEM is an emerging initiative that will not only strengthen critical and creative thinking capacities – but MORE IMPORTANTLY – serve as a conduit for enabling schools to build partnerships with business and community. The aim is to create relationships that help children gain applied learning experiences and, at the same time, support companies by providing a pipeline of young resource.
However, STEM is just a conduit, in my opinion…..The current agenda that continues to push schools and communities toward a new dynamic in working together. This new culture of “school-community partnership building” is being advocated by KnowledgeWorks Foundation, the BEST Collaborative, Board of Regents, etc…
The danger in STEM is thinking that science emphasis is the solution to children’s learning potential and community economic challenge. We have to learn to support the WHOLE CHILD and his / her family system if we are to truly nurture their full potential development. All STEM initiatives, hopefully, will keep that in mind.
All in all, if we remember its core intent: linking of schools and communities — we just might be able to usher in a new age of educational value. In this exciting context — neighborhood driven regionalism (resource sharing) could really have a chance to evolve.
Our experience thus far in helping schools create STEM projects is positive: it just takes a willingness to see our RELATEDNESS TO ON ANOTHER differently.