Monthly Archives: January 2015

Indiana Pledges 5000 Mentors to Million Women Mentors

WASHINGTON, D.C., JANUARY 30TH – This week, Million Women Mentors, in partnership with five states is proud to announce over 40,000 commitments to mentor a girl or young woman in STEM skills. The national goal of the movement is to garner one million mentors in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) professions over the next four years, to collectively increase the interest and confidence of girls and young women in these aMWM Logocademic areas. Indiana, recognized as a national leader in the STEM mentoring movement through programs such as US2020, is joining approximately 30 states by pledging 5,000 mentors along with new states Kansas, Missouri, Ohio and New Jersey.

Building on successful STEM mentoring programs currently underway in Indianapolis, one of seven cities selected nationally by US2020 to lead the STEM mentoring movement, Indiana is well on its way to creating a strong state steering committee with commitments from many STEM and women-related organizations. Efforts are being led by the Indiana Girls Collaborative Project (INGCP) and the I-STEM Resource Network, both of which include representatives from education, government, industry, organizations, and the US2020 Guiding Coalition of Indianapolis.

Read the complete Press Release here.

Evolution, science back in Indiana Senate bill’s cross hairs

Sen. Jeff Raatz says he doesn’t have a problem if teachers who don’t see eye to eye with the science curriculum in their classrooms decide to turn the tables on what he considers any sort of “science with controversy.”

The ethics of human cloning. Climate change. Evolution.

In fact, the Indianapolis Republican said, those teachers should have the right to discuss and teach competing theories, while being defended against reprisal from the state or their districts.

Call it a back-door approach to failed attempts to chip away at state standards on teaching evolution and to bring creationism into the public school classroom, if you want, Raatz said. The bulk of the science world probably will, he figured. He considers it a call to action on critical thinking.

“As long as they do it respectfully,” Raatz asked Tuesday, “why should we be afraid of that?”

This week, Raatz and Sen. Dennis Kruse (R-Auburn) — who has made a cottage industry out of taking swipes at evolution being taught in Indiana classrooms — filed a bill crafted from model legislation built by one of the leading anti-evolution think tanks in the United States.

Senate Bill 562 wouldn’t demand that alternatives to evolution or climate change be taught. But it would protect a teacher who explored elements that are, as Raatz puts it, “open to debate” and not necessarily approved in the science curriculum.

Read the complete article here.

Blog: Vocational Education on the Right Track

It’s so rare today to hear of high schools that understand the importance of vocational education. One notable exception is Boys Town High School, which is returning to its original mission of preparing its students for careers (“Boys Town’s Rehab Vision Remains, Now Sharpening Minds and Skills,” The New York Times, Jan. 19).

Started in 1917 as an orphanage, Boys Town grew into a juvenile rehabilitation center. For years, the military was the destination for as many as half of its graduating class. But as the military became smaller and more selective, fewer and fewer students followed that route.  Prompted by a 2011 report by the Harvard Graduate School of Education recommending technical training as a way to reduce the number of unemployed young people, Boys Town decided to redesign its curriculum accordingly.

I don’t understand why more high schools don’t accord vocational education the respect and status it deserves.  The obsession with a four-year bachelor’s degree is shortchanging so many students whose interests and talents are not academic.  Manufacturers complain that they can’t find enough workers to fill well-paying jobs (“Skills Gap Bumps Up Against Vocational Taboo,” The Wall Street Journal, Sept. 12, 2014). Nevertheless, high school counselors continue to point almost all their students toward a four-year college.

Read the whole blog here.

2015′s Best and Worst Metro Areas for STEM Professionals

Technological innovation is often used as a measure of progress. And though America has historically produced one of the best scorecards in the world, competition is fiercer than ever.

But don’t expect the U.S. to relinquish its position anytime soon. According to Department of Commerce estimates, STEM — science, technology, engineering and math — professions will expand 1.7 times faster than non-STEM occupations between 2008 and 2018. That’s good news, considering the fact that about a million of such highly skilled jobs are needed to ensure the U.S. remains competitive against the world’s top innovators. In 2012, the federal government announced its plans to increase STEM jobs by as many over the next decade.

Given such high demand, STEM careers are currently some of the most lucrative in the country, earning higher salaries and facing lower threats of unemployment compared with non-STEM workers. In fact, the annual average wage for all STEM jobs was $79,640 in 2013, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported this past April. That’s 71 percent more than the national annual average wage of $46,440 for all jobs.

The Indianapolis metro area came in at 42nd, between Worcester, MA and Minneapolis/St. Paul.  This is encouraging, especially since Chicago came in at number 70.  But Columbus, OH, Louisville, KY, and Detroit all rank ahead of Indy.

Seethe complete report and interactive graphics here.

Indiana STEM Education Bill HB1222

The STEM Action Coalition has a bill introduced into the Indiana House, HB1222, to greatly expand STEM education K-12 in Indiana.  The bill has been assigned to the House Education Committee.

See the complete bill here.