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STEM Policy for the 21st Century: National and State Priorities. Arkansas STEM Policy Summit April 10, 2012 Tom Arrison Senior Staff Officer Policy and Global Affairs Tel: 202-334-3755 Email: Overview. A little background Gathering Storm report/response

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stem policy for the 21st century national and state priorities

STEM Policy for the 21st Century: National and State Priorities

Arkansas STEM Policy Summit

April 10, 2012

Tom Arrison

Senior Staff Officer

Policy and Global Affairs

Tel: 202-334-3755


  • A little background
  • Gathering Storm report/response
  • Some global and national trends
  • Pipelines or pathways?
  • A critical area: undergraduate STEM
  • K-12 STEM challenges and approaches to addressing them
  • Translating STEM capabilities into jobs
  • Possible questions/themes
national academies background i
National Academies background - I
  • The National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, and Institute of Medicine are private, non-profit, self-selecting membership organizations of eminent scientists, engineers, medical professionals
  • A primary role of the National Research Council is to be a trusted adviser to the federal government on public policy issues with significant technical and scientific components
  • Core values: (1) Impartiality and objectivity, (2) Technical excellence, (3) Clarity in presentation
  • Operating modes: Consensus studies, convening activities (workshops, roundtables), operational programs (fellowships, etc.)

National Academies background - II

Membership NAS Members 2,136

Foreign Associates 400

NAE Members 2,224

Foreign Associates 193

IOM Members 1,722

Foreign Associates 97

NRC Volunteers 6,477

NRC Committees 614

Staff 1,253

Total Budget $302M (80% federal agencies)

Regular Program $188M

Reports 234

Figures for 2010

rising above the gathering storm
Rising Above the Gathering Storm

2005 Congressional request for “top 10 actions…that federal policymakers could take to enhance the S&T enterprise so that the United States can successfully compete, prosper, and be secure in the global community of the 21st century,” plus implementation strategy

the gathering storm study
The Gathering Storm study
  • Committee chaired by former Lockheed-Martin CEO Norm Augustine, included CEOs, university presidents, Nobel laureates
  • Key themes: erosion of S&T building blocks in U.S., growing strength in other nations, “Death of Distance”
  • How can we compete when great ideas and talented people exist throughout the world?
  • Recommendations focused on K-12 education (improved STEM teaching), research, higher education, incentives for innovation
impacts and follow up
Impacts and follow up
  • Most of the recommendations included in the America COMPETES Act passed 2007
  • National Math and Science Initiative launched to implement K-12 recommendations
  • Several states commissioned studies or held convocations to explore how they could respond to the issues raised by Gathering Storm (Arkansas convocation September 2007)
national academies follow up
National Academies follow up
  • 2006 convocation on state policies
  • 2008 2-year convocation
  • 2010 Category 5 report
  • September 2011 Workshop on “Developing Regional Innovation Environments” in Madison, Wisconsin
  • Other related studies
some global and national trends is the storm still gathering
Some global and national trends: Is the storm still gathering?
  • Globalization of innovation activity and capacity continues
  • Securing high-paying jobs is the key issue for countries, regions
technology and markets are moving rapidly
Technology and markets are moving rapidly…
  • “If I take the revenue in January and look again in December of that year 90% of my December revenue comes from products which were not there in January.”
  • Craig Barrett, Intel
why pathways
Why pathways?
  • The pipeline metaphor implies a single, linear progression; once students have “leaked out” do we still need to worry about them?
  • Everyone needs STEM capability and knowledge throughout life (informed citizenry)
  • Increasing STEM requirements for non-STEM careers (e.g. factory work)
  • Growing diversity in educational and career paths (2-year to 4-year; 4-year to professional masters or specialized 2-year)
  • The pathway image encourages us to think of lowering barriers to entry or reentry in addition to minimizing “leakages” at key transition points
undergraduate stem a crucial place on the pathways of many students
Undergraduate STEM: A crucial place on the pathways of many students…
  • “A number of economic analyses suggest that if the United States is to maintain its historic preeminence in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM)…then it must produce approximately 1 million more STEM professionals over the next decade than are projected to graduate at current rates. ..
  • Increasing the retention of (undergrad) STEM majors to just 50 percent (from 40 percent) would, alone, generate approximately three-quarters of the targeted 1 million additional STEM degrees over the next decade…”
  • From Engage to Excel, PCAST (2012)
expanding underrepresented minority participation 2011
Expanding Underrepresented Minority Participation (2011)
  • The proportion of 24 year-old African Americans, American Indians, and Hispanics with first university STEM degrees is 1/3-1/2 that of whites
  • Underrepresented minority undergrads drop out of STEM at a higher rate than white students
  • Report outlines broad program, with top priority being a focused effort to increase undergraduate retention and completion
a key task improving approaches to stem teaching and learning
A key task: improving approaches to STEM teaching and learning
  • We have learned a great deal in the last two decades about how students learn science and math
  • Structure learning around major concepts and principles of the discipline
  • Less emphasis on information, more emphasis on use of ideas, inquiry processes, etc.
  • Requires different approaches to teaching, assessment
We know about promising practices and successful models for improving undergrad STEM, here is one example…
  • Colorado Learning Assistant Model discussed by Lorrie Shepard, U of Colorado Boulder, at 2011 Gathering Storm workshop in Madison
  • Outstanding undergraduate students hired as LAs
  • LAs take an education course on learning research
  • LAs and grad students lead “learning teams,” engage students in talking through reasoning
  • In addition to moving the test results curve to the right, the program has boosted recruitment of STEM majors to teacher certification
Steps are being taken to address continuing challenges in U.S. K-12 STEM education as well, this is one example…
  • The new framework for science education standards emphasizes key elements discussed earlier: experience-based learning built around S&E practices, cross-cutting concepts, and disciplinary core ideas, rather than disconnected facts
  • A group of states, coordinated by Achieve, Inc. (a nonprofit education organization), will develop standards for what students should learn at different grade levels (Arkansas is a lead state partner)
we are learning more about successful k 12 stem education approaches
We are learning more about successful K-12 STEM education approaches
  • A focus on effective instruction
  • Coherent standards and curricula
  • Teachers with high capacity to teach within their discipline
  • Supportive system of assessment and accountability
  • Adequate instructional time
  • Equal access to high-quality STEM learning opportunities
replication is a challenge
Replication is a challenge
  • “We start a pilot in one school and then we start another pilot in another. And we do pilots very well, but we don’t do scale very well.”
  • Tom Luce, Founding CEO, NMSI
  • (NMSI itself has given us a great model of replication and scaling)
a few other things going on in education
A few other things going on in education…
  • AP redesign, starting with biology in 2012, based on principles from Learning and Understanding:Improving Advanced Study of Mathematics and Science in U.S. High Schools
  • Summer institutes for undergraduate biology teaching held every year, follow up to the Bio2010 report (see
  • Also, more about the Framework for K-12 Science Education Standards, including a webinar April 17 (
Translating STEM capabilities into jobs in states and regions (examples from 2011 Madison workshop and lessons)
  • Build a culture of collaboration among business, government, and universities (CONNECT San Diego)
  • Mini-courses teach business creators how to talk to venture capitalists (CONNECT San Diego)
  • Accelerators in Medicine consortium allows smaller companies to access expensive particle accelerators, reducing technical risk (Morgridge Institute, U-W Madison, companies)
  • Ohio Third Frontier Program supports applied research, entrepreneurial assistance, early-stage capital formation, and expansion of skilled talent pool
board on step study
Board on STEP study
  • Competing in the 21st Century: Best Practices in State and Regional Innovation Initiatives will be out soon
  • Committee chaired by Mary Good, University of Arkansas, Little Rock
possible key questions and themes
Possible key questions and themes
  • How to better leverage the state’s key assets (e.g. supportive leadership, cross-sectoral understanding of the importance of STEM)?
  • Are there other good opportunities to lead/participate in national-level efforts (similar to NMSI, Achieve)?
  • Are there opportunities where Arkansas businesses, philanthropies, government, and education can come together to make a significant impact? This meeting might be a place to discuss such ideas.
  • While all errors and shortcomings are mine, I received significant help from several Academy colleagues:
  • Peter Henderson, Director, Board on Higher Education and Workforce
  • Jay Labov, Senior Advisor for Education and Communication, National Academy of Sciences
  • Martin Storksdieck, Director, Board on Science Education