Two educators in Colorado wanted to see stronger, more defined pathways for students in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). They put together a policy proposal, turned it into legislation, and now it’s headed to the governor’s desk for his signature.
Jess Buller and Elaine Menardi are Policy Fellows in the Colorado Educator Voice Fellowship through America Achieves, and see firsthand the impact of the Colorado Paradox, having the most highly educated population in the country, but importing more than half of STEM field workers. Colorado ranks third nationally for concentration of high-tech workers, but fewer than 25 percent of high school students there are graduating with the post-secondary training and credentials required for careers in STEM.
Their idea? A STEM diploma endorsement, which would serve as a mark of distinction for high school students who demonstrate mastery in STEM. This would give both business leaders and higher education a clear picture of students’ knowledge and skills, and it would compel public schools to increase capacity of quality STEM education for their students.
Colorado legislators and business leaders—including PIE Network member Colorado Succeeds—were onboard with the idea, and Buller and Menardi’s proposal was turned into legislation as HB17-1201. It sailed through both the Senate and House, and supporters hope that Governor Hickenlooper will sign it into law in the next few weeks.
Learn more about the STEM diploma endorsement and the Colorado Educator Voice Fellowship here, and let me know if you’d like to connect with advocates in Colorado.