BOSTON (SHNS) – As she helped kick off an annual student-aimed convention celebrating STEM education on Monday, Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito pointed to work that lies ahead for Massachusetts schools.
The state will need to update its “system of education,” she said, including a statewide computer science curriculum, addressing digital literacy and equity, and even changing how the physical classroom “looks and feels” by continuing to bring in workplace technology like 3D printers.
Polito said another priority will be recruiting more computer science teachers, which is “very challenging when you can make a whole lot more in the private sector.” “We can’t just be doing education the way we’ve been doing the last 30 years and think it’s going to survive the test of time over the next decades,” she said.
She and Gov. Charlie Baker spoke on Northeastern University’s campus at the opening of the fifth annual STEM Week, an event that Baker called a “party” celebrating science, technology, engineering, and mathematics that serves as a “beachhead” for educators and officials to take stock of progress on teaching those skills, and encouraging students to pursue careers in related fields.
Baker said “thousands and thousands” of internships, competitions, and other programs have come out of the event. This year, it features an “Industry Day” including chances for students to shadow people in STEM-related workplaces. “STEM is going to be part of everything,” Baker said. “It’s not just for scientists and engineers, although the very best and brightest will continue to expand the field. It’s a place where everybody’s going to have to find their place and know how to play, and be successful and win.”
STEM Week this year involves around 25,000 students in 1,000 classrooms statewide, Polito told the crowd.