Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education has long been thought to be one of the critical pieces toward addressing skills gap issues in the American labor force and education system. States have been working through ways to improve STEM education with mixed success. The Common Core standards were included as a means of improving the level of problem solving required for better STEM education, however the idea of those standards has been heavily politicized.
New Hampshire Governor Maggie Hassan is taking the issue on herself, issuing an Executive Order creating the Governor’s Task Force on Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Education. The Governor’s Task Force includes members with relevant experience in STEM education in kindergarten through 12th grade, the Community College System of New Hampshire, the University System of New Hampshire, and New Hampshire’s private colleges and universities, as well as representatives from New Hampshire’s innovative businesses and a parent of three children who attend New Hampshire public schools.
The Task Force will be chaired by Dr. Ross Gittell, Chancellor of the Community College System of New Hampshire who is also the co-founder and co-director of the Green Launching Pad, an innovative business incubator that connects entrepreneurs and private industry with technical, scientific and business faculty and students throughout the state.
Members will make recommendations to ensure that New Hampshire’s kindergarten through 12th grade STEM education is rigorous and extensive enough to prepare students to compete in the global labor force. The task force will also examine existing science and math education standards to ensure they meet at least national best practices and find ways to integrate more science and technology curricula into the school day. Creating academic pathways for students considering STEM careers, along with building interest in STEM careers will also be considered.