California STEM educators in grades kindergarten through grade fourteen, it's time to freshen up those rejected grant requests; the state is finally coming around to seeing it your way : the legislature has set aside a quarter-billion dollars ($250,000,000) to "fund specialists in work-based learning, as defined in Section 51760.1 of the Education code."
How can we be sure Section 51760.1 is talking about STEM ed? Well, here are the first few lines of that section:
For purposes of this section, "work-based learning" means an
educational approach or instructional methodology that uses the
workplace or real work to provide pupils with the knowledge and
skills that will help them connect school experiences to real-life
work activities and future career opportunities.
Now if that isn’t a perfect description of the inherent virtues of STEM learning for young learners, what is? What learning component is more likely to provide students with the skills they will need when they enter the future job market? Woodworking, maybe? Film? Hey, both laudable endeavors but not guaranteed the multi-million openings expected in science, technology, engineering and math in the next few years.
"Mayors just dream of these opportunities."
That’s what San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee said after he and schools Superintendent Richard Carranza met with Salesforce.com (SF) founder Marc Benioff. What they were asking for was some financial support for the city’s 12 middle schools to increase technology access. They wanted money to purchase several hundred Ipads for students and training for affected teachers. They thought their request was reasonable if expensive.
What they got was a surprise: "You have to think bigger," Marc Benioff told them. At the end of the day what Mayor Lee and Superintendent Carranza actually walked away with was the Ipads they had originally asked for and a $100,000 grant to every principal at the 12 middle schools. The total donation came to almost three million dollars!