• WisBusiness

Monday, April 12, 2010

Wisconsin's 'race to the top' in education will always begin at home


By Tom Still
Wisconsin's bid for federal "race to the top" education grants got a mediocre C-minus from the reviewers at the U.S. Department of Education, who said the state's application fell short in some crucial ways. Most notably, the feds said, Wisconsin needed more robust plans for improving student achievement as well as the effectiveness of teachers.

Wisconsin will get a chance to score higher in the second round of the federal competition, but it will take lots of homework to whip the state's application into shape.

The idea of federal challenge grants to reform elementary and secondary education is commendable, given the importance of education to a secure, prosperous nation, but it's important to note Washington has historically played a limited role in how states and communities run their schools. In fact, well over 90 percent of all funding for local schools comes from the states and communities themselves -- and Wisconsin is typically ranked among the bottom five states in receiving federal aid.

In short, the "race to the top" in Wisconsin will likely be won or lost on the strength of decisions made here -- by parents, teachers, school officials, policymakers and students.

That begins with a commitment to excellence and recognition that Wisconsin needs a better educated workforce to compete in the global economy. Let's take science and technology education as an example.

A generation ago, the United States was third per capita in the world in producing engineers -- a key indicator of science and technology dominance. Today, the nation is 17th in the world. In part, that's because emerging nations are catching up. But it's also because fewer students are getting turned on to science, technology, engineering and math at an early age.

Wisconsin doesn't need a federal grant to know what works in that arena. Many school districts are revising their science and technology curricula with the help of proven private strategies such as Project Lead the Way, Science Olympiad and First Robotics. These programs are helping entire districts, schools or individual teachers do a better job of exciting students at a critical age.

Such innovation comes at a critical time -- and amid signs of some progress. National math scores released last October have risen 20 points for eighth graders and 27 points for fourth graders since 1990, according to 2009 test results. That means fourth graders knew about two-and-a-half years' more math than 1990 fourth graders. But in the most recent period, from 2007 to 2009, math scores failed to rise much, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.

There's pretty good evidence about what works. High-quality early childhood programs help many kids from falling behind. Intensive efforts in the ninth grade -- sometimes called education's "Bermuda Triangle" -- work when core classes such as math are made more challenging. Career academies and other efforts to link employers into the classroom also work, especially with science and math programs.

While Wisconsin students perform ahead of the national average in many ways, segments of the state's K-12 population are failing to gain the science, technology, engineering and math skills they need to become successful workers in a global economy. Many students, particularly young women, lose interest in science and math by the time they've completed middle school. Too many students are not exposed to careers that may not require a four-year college degree -- but which require a strong working knowledge of science and math.

Some people mistakenly believe there are only a few science, technology, engineering and math jobs out there. The state Department of Workforce Development has estimated that one in 10 Wisconsin jobs is a so-called "STEM" job. It has also predicted that STEM jobs will be among the fastest-growing occupations in the state.

The "race to the top" for education excellence in Wisconsin begins at home, no matter what transpires over time with the federal grant. The real prize is a stronger economy driven by a well-educated workforce.

-- Still is president of the Wisconsin Technology Council. In 2009, the Tech Council issued "Educating a Tech-Savvy Workforce for Wisconsin," a report on science, technology, engineering and math education in Wisconsin. Read more at http://wisconsintechnologycouncil.com/uploads/Tech-Savvy_WhitePaper_FINAL.pdf

Labels:


Comments: 6

At April 13, 2010 at 6:14 AM, Blogger LynnG said...

Tom, you've overlooked one crucial component in the preparation of students for careers in the STEM fields -- quality teachers. Wisconsin, like most states, rewards and selects teachers based on their degrees in education pedagogy. Unfortunately, degrees in education are a very poor indicator for quality teaching in the science, math, and technology fields. WI should look to its teacher certification process and make sure that people with strong backgrounds in the content areas are welcomed into the school systems.

 
At May 6, 2017 at 7:47 AM, Blogger adrian cretu said...

Thanks for taking the time to discuss this, I feel about it and love learning more on this topic. If possible, as you gain expertise, would you mind updating your blog with more information? It is extremely helpful for me.
FRIV | Friv Games | Free Online Games

 
At June 20, 2017 at 4:32 AM, Blogger allex said...

Cisco Exams offer All Cisco certification syllabus, Objectives and training programs

 
At June 20, 2017 at 4:35 AM, Blogger allex said...

Cisco 200–150 Exam Dumps Marks4Sure.com gives substantial Cisco 200–150 exam dumps questions that are checked by industry master IT specialists so that the Introducing

 
At June 29, 2017 at 11:59 PM, Blogger Thomas Driscoll said...

The present world is quick, incensed and dexterous. It is loaded with weights, targets, objectives. Things should be done on time or one needs to confront challenges. The instruction arrangement of today depends on these objectives and it is training which put the person on the correct way and gets ready people with the end goal that they can deal with circumstances of weights and difficulties.text rewriting tool

 
At August 11, 2017 at 2:54 AM, Blogger Shop hoa TPHCM said...

Cửa hàng hoa tươi https://httpflowers.top/, shop hoa tươi online tphcm, dịch vụ điện hoa online giao hoa miễn phí tận nơi FREE SHIP. Shop hoa tươi chúng tôi chuyên cung cấp hoa loại hoa tươi nghệ thuật như hoa chúc mừng sinh nhật, hoa chúc mừng khai trương, hoa chia buồn, hoa tình yêu, hoa tặng mẹ, hoa cưới

hoa sinh nhật https://httpflowers.top/hoa-tuoi/hoa-sinh-nhat/

hoa tang lễ  https://httpflowers.top/hoa-tuoi/hoa-tang-le/

hoa khai trương https://httpflowers.top/hoa-tuoi/hoa-khai-truong/

Shop hoa tươi https://hoatuoishop.net/

 

Post a Comment

Back to BizOpinion main page

: See newer blog items : : See older blog items :

BizOpinion site feed
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

wisbusiness.com Social News

Follow Us

Site Sponsors

ARCHIVE

· January 2009
· February 2009
· March 2009
· April 2009
· May 2009
· June 2009
· July 2009
· August 2009
· September 2009
· October 2009
· November 2009
· December 2009
· January 2010
· February 2010
· March 2010
· April 2010
· May 2010
· June 2010
· July 2010
· August 2010
· September 2010
· October 2010
· November 2010
· December 2010
· January 2011
· February 2011
· March 2011
· April 2011
· May 2011
· June 2011
· July 2011
· August 2011
· September 2011
· October 2011
· November 2011
· December 2011
· January 2012
· February 2012
· March 2012
· April 2012
· May 2012
· June 2012
· July 2012
· August 2012
· September 2012
· October 2012
· November 2012
· December 2012
· January 2013
· February 2013
· March 2013
· April 2013
· May 2013
· June 2013
· July 2013
· August 2013
· September 2013
· October 2013
· November 2013
· December 2013
· January 2014
· February 2014
· March 2014
· April 2014
· May 2014
· June 2014
· July 2014
· August 2014
· September 2014
· October 2014
· November 2014
· December 2014
· January 2015
· February 2015
· March 2015
· April 2015
· May 2015
· June 2015
· July 2015
· August 2015
· September 2015
· October 2015
· November 2015
· December 2015
· January 2016
· February 2016
· March 2016
· April 2016
· May 2016
· July 2016
· August 2016
· October 2016
· December 2016
Copyright ©2013 WisBusiness.com All rights reserved. | WisOpinion.com | WisPolitics.com  |  Website development by wisnet.com LLC  | Website design by Makin’ Hey Communications