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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation
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Encouraging Innovation in Our Schools: The Nation's Governors Step Up for Education

Diane Demee-Benoit

Former Director of Outreach at Edutopia

The nation's governors, who met in Washington, DC, in February, voiced their support for educating our students for a globally competitive world. Here's what the recent National Governors Association newsletter reported.

"A central focus of the meeting was NGA chair and Arizona governor Janet Napolitano's Innovation America initiative. A recent survey conducted for the NGA found most Americans believe the nation's governors should lead the way in encouraging innovation in our schools and the economy.

"Governors welcome the charge, but they also recognize they face a great challenge in preparing students and workers for increasing globalization and international competition. During the meeting, governors focused on enhancing our competitive capacity by strengthening science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education, making worker training more flexible and applicable to regional needs, and creating incentives to encourage states to develop regional hubs that build on existing strengths.

"Governors concluded the meeting by reaffirming their commitment to creating highly skilled students and workers, higher-paying jobs, and a more vibrant economy."

The Innovation America initiative talks about increasing student proficiency in STEM. We've been hearing that for some time. But then it goes on to say something about "modernizing the teaching force, benchmarking academic standards, and aligning assessments and creating new models for math and science education."

As part of this initiative, the NGA has assembled a bipartisan task force made up of governors, business leaders, and university presidents. (What! No K-12 education teachers, administrators, researchers, students?) If you were on this task force,

  • how would you envision a modern teaching force?
  • what would twenty-first-century STEM teaching and learning look like?
  • what would you say?

Diane Demee-Benoit

Former Director of Outreach at Edutopia
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