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Ocala Star Banner: Letter to the Editor: Invest in STEM

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Higher education is more crucial to the success of our children and our state than ever before, but recent reports reveal that Florida students struggle to succeed with difficult subject matters, particularly in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math).

According to the Florida Board of Governors, job growth in the next decade will necessitate twice the number of STEM graduates that Florida’s universities are currently projected to produce.

Additionally, the recently released 2012 Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) reveals that Florida students are scoring lower than their international peers in both math and science.

The results from both reports show the need for improvement and advancement in Florida’s K-12 education system, which we must invest in for the future success of our children and Florida’s economy.

The University of Tampa has attempted to bridge this gap in STEM education by partnering with the Florida Independent College Fund, the Florida Department of Education and many school districts around the state to bring the ScienceMathMaster program to educators.

The ScienceMathMaster training program provides teachers with the opportunity to increase their subject knowledge and improve their day-to-day methodology in biology and geometry. The idea behind the ScienceMathMaster program is a “trickle-down” effect in education: better educated and more highly-skilled teachers will lead to more knowledgeable, more engaged students.

The program employs a variety of teaching tools, including face-to-face workshops, online lesson plans and curriculum resources available at no cost, 24/7. STEM-focused partnerships like the ScienceMathMaster program develop skilled teachers, who in the long term contribute to the success of countless Florida students and ultimately the prosperity of the state.

We should be investing in more programs such as this if we want to increase the number of science graduates and meet the needs of our growing economy.

Ed Moore

President and CEO

Florida’s Independent Colleges and Universities


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