JerseyCAN released a report October 4 detailing several steps policy makers and business and community leaders should take to advance education in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math.
The report highlights successful STEM programs throughout the state, including some aimed at increasing access for students historically underrepresented in STEM fields.
New Jersey placed 24th in the nation on a national eighth-grade science exam, with only 14 percent of black students and 17 percent of Hispanic students testing at or above proficient levels, according to JerseyCAN. New Jersey also has 1.4 STEM job openings for every unemployed person, and STEM-related jobs are expected to grow nearly twice as fast as other jobs, the group said.
JerseyCAN recommends the following steps:
- Creation of a gubernatorial-sponsored task force to develop a plan to improve K-12 STEM education;
- investing in STEM teachers;
- expanding access to computer science classes and career and vocational technical training; and
- leverage personalized and blended learning â€” instruction that tailors learning to a student’s interests and learning style.
Additionally, the group recommends creating a fund to support innovative STEM-learning opportunities and implementing strategies to attract women and minorities to STEM fields.
JerseyCAN was founded in 2013, as a nonprofit that advocates for equal access to high-quality schools for all students. According to their website their primary goal is to ensure that every student in New Jersey graduates from high school ready to enroll and succeed in college and their career.