For Immediate Release - September 28, 2010

PATRICK-MURRAY ADMINISTRATION ANNOUNCES NEW STRATEGIES TO ENHANCE STATE'S ECONOMIC AND EDUCATION FUTURE IN SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY, ENGINEERING AND MATH

Lieutenant Governor Murray highlights plans at the 7th Annual STEM Summit; Summit attracts hundreds of educators, business leaders and community partners

STURBRIDGE - Tuesday, September 28, 2010 - Building on the Patrick-Murray Administration's commitment to maintaining the Commonwealth's position as a national leader in education, Lieutenant Governor Timothy P. Murray today outlined the state's first ever strategic plan for tying economic development to educational enhancement in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM). The Lieutenant Governor also highlighted funding awarded to Massachusetts that will support STEM initiatives during the 7 th Annual STEM Summit in Sturbridge.

"Our best resource as a state is our people and our best way forward is through a highly motivated and well-prepared workforce ready to tackle the challenges of the 21 st century," said Governor Deval Patrick. "Massachusetts is a worldwide leader in STEM but we must keep making progress to ensure our students are prepared for the jobs of the future. Today's announcements will ensure we maintain our leadership."

After Governor Deval Patrick signed Executive Order 513 on October 14, 2009 creating the Governor's STEM Advisory Council, Lieutenant Governor Murray charged the Council with creating a comprehensive plan to strengthen STEM by teaming with education and business leaders to develop a series of strategies that will increase student interest in STEM, training for teachers and new opportunities for learning in STEM areas.

"I hear all the time from students and their teachers as well as from our top business leaders that a sharp focus on STEM education is the key to our current and future success," said Lieutenant Governor Murray, Chair of the Governor's STEM Advisory Council. "We are the home to cutting edge companies and top notch public schools but we know that we must continue and increase our efforts to ensure innovation can thrive in the Commonwealth."

Students in Massachusetts lead the nation in academic performance on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), SAT and ACT exams. Massachusetts 8th graders tied for first in the world in science on the 2007 Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study.

Despite these successes, the rate of Massachusetts students who want to study the STEM fields in college ranks below the national average. According to the Donahue Institute at the University of Massachusetts, a key stakeholder and organizer of the annual STEM Summit, students in schools with higher STEM performance indicated less interest in continuing their studies than those in lower performing schools.

"As we move forward in these challenging budgetary times, STEM educational development is a top priority," said Education Secretary Paul Reville. "We have jobs to grow, achievement gaps to close and the challenge of inspiring our students to embrace the STEM fields which are so rapidly becoming vital to our society and to our economy."

"STEM education has become increasingly important as a means of ensuring economic security for the Commonwealth and for the nation. In Massachusetts, our top industry sectors each create high demand for well educated people in the full array of STEM fields. And, these careers are rewarding - often paying higher salaries and providing desirable career ladders," said Dr. Jack M. Wilson, President of the University of Massachusetts. "Governor Patrick and Lieutenant Governor Murray have made STEM education a top priority, understanding that facility in this area will open career doors for young people across the Commonwealth and is crucial to our state's ability to compete and to win in the global knowledge-based economy. Lieutenant Governor Murray has chaired the Administration's STEM council and has provided leadership that will provide enormous benefits to the Commonwealth and its citizens. The STEM Plan provides a critical roadmap and will lead us to greater success in an area that will help to define our future."

The STEM plan, known as "A Foundation for the Future: Massachusetts' Plan for Excellence in STEM Education," includes recommendations in five areas:

  1. Increase Student Interest in STEM 10 percentage points to surpass the national average.
  2. Increase the percentage of all students scoring proficient or advanced on the MCAS Math, Science, Technology and Engineering Assessments, with specific benchmarks established to track improvement.
  3. Increase the percentage of students who demonstrate readiness for college-level study in STEM fields by setting the ambitious goal of having all high school students take four years of math and at least three years of science by 2016.
  4. Double the number of bachelor degrees in STEM majors earned by students from Massachusetts High Schools by 2016.
  5. Increase both the number and the percentage of STEM classes in our public schools that are led by effective and passionate STEM educators.

As a result of the STEM Advisory Council's work over the last year, the Patrick-Murray Administration has helped to form partnerships with key stakeholders that have led to funding support for STEM education as the Commonwealth builds a strong foundation for future academic success.

Today, in addition to announcing the Commonwealth's STEM plan, Lieutenant Governor Murray also highlighted:

  • $6 million that will be directed to STEM from the Massachusetts Race to the Top award. The creation of the STEM Council within the Executive Branch was recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as one of the reasons Massachusetts' Race to the Top application received a 100% score on the STEM component.

  • $2.5 million in funding to vocational and technical schools, community colleges and workforce training programs in Massachusetts provided by the Massachusetts Life Science Center's new Equipment and Supplies Program. Funding is intended to purchase equipment and supplies for life science skills training and education, and will be matched by industry sponsors in the Commonwealth, with the total potential for up to $5 million in funding.

  • $50,000 in planning grants to implement the plan as a part of the new partnership between the Governor's STEM Advisory Council, the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (NGA Center) and Innovate+Educate. Over the next year, the NGA Center and Innovate+Educate will work closely with the Governor's STEM Advisory Council and state agency staff to strengthen STEM education through the sharing of best practices and through leveraging industry investments, which will highlight Massachusetts as a leader in strengthening STEM education.

"One of the most common concerns that I hear from leaders in the life sciences industry is the need for skilled workers, such as lab technicians and individuals with training in biomanufacturing," said Dr. Susan Windham-Bannister, President & CEO of the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center. "By matching funding from industry partners for lab equipment, we can better prepare students and retrain workers for jobs in the life sciences. These jobs require great skill, but not a Bachelor's or more advanced degree."

Attended by hundreds of educators from early childhood, elementary and secondary and higher education as well as partners in workforce training, economic development, the private sector and community organizations, the STEM summit provides the opportunity to focus on the state's progress and the need for improvement in expanding interest in and opportunity for growth in the STEM fields.

"Investing in human and intellectual capital is a key component of the Roundtable's strategy to improve the state's long term economic vitality," said Alan Macdonald, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Business Roundtable, an organization of leading business executives that has made STEM a priority through the release of Tapping Massachusetts' Potential: The Massachusetts Employers' STEM Agenda report. "The statewide STEM plan provides an exciting blueprint and challenge to all of us to ensure that Massachusetts is producing a pipeline of workers who can think creatively, innovate, and lead our economy to the forefront of global competitiveness. Thanks to the leadership of Governor Patrick and Lieutenant Governor Murray, in conjunction with a wide variety of STEM stakeholders, this Administration has responded to a long-awaited call to strengthen STEM education in Massachusetts."

To learn more about the Governor's STEM Advisory Council, to read "A Foundation for the Future: Massachusetts' Plan for Excellence in STEM Education", and for a complete listing of council members, please visit: http://www.mass.gov/governor/stem.