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More Than 600 Participate in Summit Focusing on Accelerating Student Progress in Science, Technology, Engineering, Math

Educators, Policy Makers and Civic Leaders Convene for Fourth Annual STEM Summit to Boost Student Interest and Performance in Science and Technology-related Fields

Sturbridge, MA- Just two days after the Massachusetts Department of Education released the results of last spring's MCAS science and technology/engineering tests, showing that between 58 percent and 72 percent of 10th graders passed each of the four tests, several  hundred education, civic and policy leaders convened today in Sturbridge, Massachusetts to discuss ways to encourage more Massachusetts students to be interested in and prepared for science, technology, engineering and math [STEM] careers.

Keynote speakers Johanne Kaplan, Vice President, Immunotherapy, Genzyme Corporation, former U.S. Congressman and new University of Massachusetts Lowell Chancellor Martin T. Meehan underscored the critical role that science and technology fields will continue to play in the Commonwealth's and the nation's economic future. They were joined by several hundred pre-K-12 teachers, scientists higher education leaders, senior business and technology executives, public officials and education policy experts who convened for policy sessions, curriculum, instruction, planning and a program called 'wingspread' which provides practitioners with promising, exemplary and replicable ways to start, scale and sustain robust STEM programs in their school districts.

Chancellor Meehan's remarks highlighted the national and international landscape and the critical nature of the issue, "This year is the 50th anniversary of the launching of Sputnik by the USSR. That tiny craft streaking across the night sky set off an international space race, but, more importantly, it got America in gear. All of a sudden it was a matter of national security to be at the top of our game in science and technology. Today, it's a matter of national economic in-security when you look at how fast India, China, and other nations are wearing down our edge in research, technology, inventions, and development of talent."

He highlighted programs at UMass Lowell and called on Massachusetts to implement robust planning and partnerships to develop a state strategy, "In Massachusetts we need a plan to coordinate our efforts, accelerate STEM learning, improve STEM teaching, and reap the maximum benefit from the investment. We must sustain our commitment and keep our eyes on the long-range goal. Nothing less than the future of our children and grandchildren is at stake."

Senior education leaders including Acting Massachusetts Education Commissioner Jeffrey Nellhaus; Paul Reville, Chair of the Board of Education; Patricia Plummer, Chancellor of Higher Education; Frederick Clark, Chair of the Board of Higher Education and University of Massachusetts President Jack M. Wilson also offered remarks and participated in the conference.

The STEM Summit has numerous supporters - the most current list can be viewed at www.massachusetts.edu/stem/stem_summit_sponsors_2007.html

The University of Massachusetts has taken a lead role in organizing the STEM Summit in recent years as part of its ongoing efforts to improve student performance in key math and science areas. For more information, go to: http://www.massachusetts.edu/stem

 

10/17/07

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