Ready Washington reviews the year in education; Crosscut begins series on STEM education

The Ready Washington coalition advocates effectively for 

college- and career-ready learning standards and assessments: Common Core State Standards, Next Generation Science Standards and Smarter Balanced assessments. The coalition believes all students should be better prepared for college, work and life to build the skills to compete for the quality jobs that our state has to offer.

We share their commitment and applaud their efforts, which have advanced policies we called for in our Achieve priority. For a great roundup of education advocacy and accomplishment this year, we recommend Ready Washington: A Year in Review.

Our Achieve (education) priority agenda emphasizes STEM education. So we welcome a new series in Crosscut that will take a close look at how Washington is addressing STEM. The first story in the series, Why Washington kids aren’t getting our best jobs, is well worth your time. Reporter Jaclyn Zubrzycki finds,

But despite all that action in Olympia [to support and enhance STEM education], for many young people in the state, a rigorous education in STEM is still awfully hard to come by.

Close to a third of elementary schoolers, and 40 percent of middle schoolers, did not test proficient on the state’s standardized test in science. As of last school year, just 7 percent of high schools offer a computer science class, according to Washington STEM. Some 29 percent of students entering the state’s colleges require remedial math courses.

While the state has close to 20,000 job openings in computer science, according to state lawmakers, only about 1,200 students graduated from Washington universities last year with degrees in the field. A 2014 report estimated that just 9 out of 100 kids in Washington will wind up in a STEM career.

The series is off to a good start, raising important questions and promising to find some critical answers. We look forward to the next installment.

Finally, to remind us that not all tech teachers are in STEM fields, Education Week profiles an English teacher who codes, integrates technology in the classroom and promotes STEAM education. 

Provenzano was one of the first teachers at his school to build a web page for his classroom, to replace the bulky television in his classroom with an LCD projector, and to pilot the use of iPads in the classroom…

Provenzano has made a name for himself in the ed-tech community through his blog, The Nerdy Teacher, where he shares resources and insights he’s learned in his classes. He has more than 54,000 Twitter followers.

He has also created a “maker” space in his school’s library. Initially, he was hesitant that this project was outside his subject-area domain. Then he read more about the maker movement and its emphasis on STEAM— science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics.

Sounds like a cool classroom, innovative and inspiring. Something to emulate.