On Friday, the Indiana Department of Education announced its six-year plan to further implement science, technology, engineering, and math into Indiana’s K-12 schools. This push aims to prepare Indiana’s students for college and careers.
In the upcoming legislative session, the IDOE plans to request $20 million in funding to support STEM programs across the state.
Amanda McCammon, the IDOE’s Workforce & STEM Alliances chief, says helping schools overcome funding challenges and providing equitable access to STEM programs across the state will be essential.
“So that’s one piece were considering when we’re talking about equal access is for all our schools across the state,” McCammon says. “Not just the haves vs. the have-nots, but for our succeeding schools and our failing schools.”
McCammon says a common problem she sees is STEM programs being reserved for high-achieving students.
“We’ll see smaller programs within some of our schools be able to afford some of this programming for some of the STEM curricula – but not for every student,” McCammon said. “We want to make sure that, yes, those students receive it, but also our students that are meeting the mark or underachieving as well.”
Already, the IDOE has increased school districts that use STEM programming by 60 districts.
This new plan aims to improve STEM instruction by educating 100 percent of Indiana’s teachers on how to implement critical-thinking based learning in their classrooms. Of the 64 percent of Indiana schools surveyed by IDOE reported 32 percent of their staff felt prepared in STEM areas.
These same schools reported 28 percent of the weekly instructional time is focused on STEM subjects. STEM programs in schools are designed to be hands-on and project-based.
The new plan will also work to expose students to careers in the STEM industry. In the next decade, STEM jobs are estimated to grow 13 percent, a rate higher than the rest of the U.S. job market.
The IDOE hopes to accomplish its six-year plan by 2025.