Looking Ahead to STEM Solutions 2012

This event will focus on science, technology, engineering, and math education.

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Later this month, I will be in Dallas to attend U.S. News STEM Solutions 2012, a new event sponsored by U.S. News in partnership with more than 40 corporations and key organizations representing industry and education. STEM stands for science, technology, engineering, and math.

This very important event will focus on the critical shortage of STEM skills in the American workforce and how to stimulate students toward careers in these same disciplines. It's expected that hundreds will attend, including many experts from all levels of government, industry, and associations, as well as educators, top policy makers, and members of the media.

The discussions will center on all aspects of STEM—including the many STEM workforce shortage issues impacting the current and future growth prospects of the U.S. economy, the need to engage middle and high school students in STEM education, and how technology can better align educators with job creators and the skill sets required for those roles.

At the conference, I am going to be on a panel, "Implementing the New STEM Standards in U.S. Schools." The panel will discuss the Common Core State Standards Initiative's math standards, the new science standards, and the redesign of the Advanced Placement (AP) science courses as part the national effort to expand the pipeline of students that are prepared for STEM majors and careers. Part of the session will address how these new standards focus on helping students obtain a deep understanding of key STEM concepts and hands-on applications of these concepts inside and outside the classroom.

The panel is expected to provide an overview of the new standards, the efforts underway to implement them, and how these new standards will go about addressing the need for a larger and more diverse workforce.

The other speakers on this panel will be:

• Diane J. Briars, Ph.D.: immediate past president, National Council of Supervisors of Mathematics

• Auditi Chakravarty: vice president, AP curriculum, instruction, and assessment, The College Board

Stephen L. Pruitt, Ph.D.: vice president for content, research and development, Achieve

Susan Bodary: partner, Education First (moderator)

I plan to discuss some of the implications of U.S. News's new rankings of Best High Schools for STEM in regard to the new Common Core State Standards Initiative.

The Common Core State Standards Initiative is a state-led effort to establish a shared set of clear educational standards for English language arts and mathematics that states can voluntarily adopt. The federal government was not involved in the development of the standards.