STEM – Science, Technology, Engineering, Math – is essential to everybody and it is becoming increasingly important. However, Jay Eitner has noticed that, in this country, not enough young people are enjoying an education in the STEM disciplines. However, he is pleased to see that, at least in New Jersey, the statistics are starting to change, and young people are starting to rank better on the PISA (Program of International Student Assessment) ranking, who completed their last assessment in 2009.
Jay Eitner on the PISA Assessment
Long before the PISA assessment took place in 2009, there were already significant concerns about the lack of children interested in STEM disciplines, and the lack of teachers able to deliver STEM lessons. This is why New Jersey decided to sign up the STEM Initiative, something that Jay Eitner welcomed strongly.
The STEM Initiative is now a national initiative that enables schools to further enhance how much emphasis they place on the STEM subjects. To achieve this, schools are provided with funding from both government agencies and private businesses. These two entities both know that investing in young people now will ensure that there will be technicians, engineers, mathematicians, and scientists in the future.
Long before the STEM Initiative started, a lot of schools in New Jersey had already started to improve education in these fields. However, thanks to the new initiative, more schools were able to get more funding in order to deliver more graduates in this field. And, indeed, New Jersey is now leading the country with this.
What also set New Jersey apart was the fact that they pioneered innovative and new teaching methods. They reduced classroom sizes, ensuring all students had a computer and no more than 12 students would have to share their space. They also started to use electronic textbooks, video conferencing, Skype, and more.
Other parts of the country quickly followed suit. For instance, one program in Washington State started to provide students with high STEM scores scholarships for college. Others were given not just a scholarship, but also a job guarantee in Washington itself. These were very innovative ideas and they have made a significant improvement to education overall.
Today, schools can even become STEM-designated-institutions. This means that they meet the better teaching methods as described, but also that they have better trained teachers who have more knowledge an education on the STEM disciplines themselves. The STEM Initiative continues to be very important across the world.
For Jay Eitner, the fact that it all started in New Jersey is a matter of personal pride. He has always believed that young people here have the opportunity to make a real difference when it comes to the STEM disciplines and he is very happy to see that he was right in this. Mainly, however, New Jersey graduates are now traveling across the country and beyond, serving as role models for the next generation of young people and encouraging them to be interested in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics as well.