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Senator Spilka Applauds Inaugural Meeting of Governor’s STEM Council

January 29, 2010

Building on the Commonwealth’s commitment to education in Massachusetts, the first meeting of the Governor’s Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) Advisory Council was held Thursday, January 28 at the Museum of Science in Boston.  Senator Karen Spilka (D-Ashland), the Senate Chair of the Joint Committee on Ecomonic Development and Emerging Technologies, was appointed to the Council earlier this month.

“As a long-time advocate of STEM education, I applaud Governor Patrick and Lieutenant Governor Murray for convening this council and I look forward to working closely with them to realize concrete results in this vital area,” stated Senator Karen Spilka, Senate Chair of the Joint Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies and a member of the Goddard Council.  “From scaling-up successful STEM programs to coordinating our STEM efforts across the state, this council will advance our goal of providing companies with the workforce of tomorrow, ensuring our economic strength and furthering the promise of well-paying jobs close to home for our young people.”

Upon signing the Executive Order creating the council in October, Governor Patrick said “the STEM disciplines are essential building blocks of a cutting-edge highly skilled workforce.  This effort to bring together the very best resources and ideas the Commonwealth has to offer around these areas of study means that today’s students will be ready for tomorrow’s jobs.”

As part of the agenda for the inaugural meeting, Lieutenant Governor Murray announced that the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative will provide $500,000 in funds to support the Patrick-Murray Administration’s budget proposal for investing in STEM resources through the STEM Pipeline Fund.  The fund will provide resources to the seven regional STEM networks across the state, which will fund STEM education and teacher development programs as part of the administration’s efforts to increase student interest in STEM fields.

“Investing in and improving STEM education will help us continue to build a highly skilled workforce in Massachusetts,” said Lieutenant Governor Murray.  “As we focus on retaining and attracting businesses that need employees trained in the STEM fields, we must simultaneously promote STEM education and STEM careers for our young people who will be the future leaders of the Commonwealth’s innovation economy.”

The Governor’s STEM Advisory Council will work to increase the number of STEM programs in schools in Massachusetts, advise the Governor on the creation of a statewide STEM Plan with clearly defined goals and objectives for the next five years, and provide recommendations on a campaign to build public support across the Commonwealth for the STEM disciplines.

Education is a top priority for the Patrick-Murray Administration. On Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, last week, Governor Patrick signed historic legislation that will turnaround underperforming schools, promote innovation and choice and eliminate achievement gaps that persist despite the successes of the state’s landmark Education Reform Act of 1993. The single biggest change to education law since 1993, the bill includes new rules, tools and supports for the state and superintendents to act decisively in areas on underperformance; employs a “smart cap” lift on charter schools in the state’s lowest performing districts; and grants new local authority to school committees to approve Innovation Schools allowing them to operate with greater autonomy to promote excellence in teaching and learning.

The education law also strengthens the state’s ability to compete for the federal Race to the Top program for which Massachusetts has the potential to receive up to $250 million or more to help implement the policy changes.

“Building interest in the STEM fields provides new and exciting opportunities for students to achieve academically while at the same time acquiring the skills they need to become leaders in our global economy,” said Education Secretary Paul Reville. “Our task as adults is to inspire students’ interest and ensure that they have the confidence as well as ready the access to high quality STEM programming. The Advisory Council will play an integral role in that work.”

“We work across agencies to develop sound programming and opportunities in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math for our current and future workforce,” said Secretary of Labor and Workforce Development Joanne Goldstein. “STEM is an important component of the Commonwealth’s jobs portfolio, and we look forward to helping students become more knowledgeable so they can choose careers that have a promising future.”

Today’s inaugural meeting of the council, which serves as a central advisory body, convened public and private sector stakeholders involved with STEM planning and programming, all with the goal of increasing student interest in, and preparation for careers in STEM.

“With the commencement today of the Governor’s STEM Advisory Council, the Governor and Lieutenant Governor are laying the groundwork to strengthen our economy for years to come,” said Senator Tom McGee.  “Over the next decade most new jobs will be in STEM industries, and this administration is ensuring that our students will have the skills necessary to fill those jobs.  I look forward to working with the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, and other council members to ensure STEM instruction remains a cornerstone of both education and workforce development policy.”

Representative Daniel Bosley said, “I applaud the Patrick-Murray Administration and the Advisory Council members for their commitment to the further advancement of STEM in the Commonwealth.  It is vital to our future that we maintain our competitive advantage in education and continue to build the pipeline of STEM learning in all of our institutions.”

“I am honored to be appointed by Speaker DeLeo to the STEM Advisory Council,” said State Representative Thomas Conroy.  “In Massachusetts and across the country we need more engineers, scientists, and mathematicians to compete successfully in the global economy, and I look forward to helping formulate a path with other Council members toward achieving that goal.”

Recognizing the large task at hand, the Council’s charter has organized six sub-committees within the Council.  The sub-committees include:

  • Public Awareness Subcommittee: Creating and Maintaining Student Interest
  • Teacher Development Subcommittee: Training, Recruitment, and Retention;
  • Infrastructure Subcommittee: Grants, Strategic Partnerships, and Sustainability
  • Data Collection Subcommittee: STEM Metrics, Indicators and Evaluation
  • Curriculum Framework and Standards Subcommittee: Alignment and Upgrades
  • Diversity Subcommittee: Improving the Achievement Gap and Pursuing Additional STEM Opportunities for Women and Minorities.

“As a scientist and as an educator, I am very pleased to serve on a council that is focused on the critical issue of encouraging greater numbers of students to dedicate themselves to the study of science, technology, engineering and mathematics,” University of Massachusetts President Jack M. Wilson said.  “For many reasons, it is crucial to our success as a Commonwealth that more students pursue careers in the STEM fields and Governor Patrick and Lieutenant Governor Murray are displaying astute, visionary leadership in placing a real emphasis on this issue.  All of us understand that today’s students must possess high-level science, technology, engineering and math skills if they are to succeed in the global 21st century economy. I commend the Patrick-Murray administration for making STEM an essential component of the state’s education agenda and I look forward to serving on this important council.”

Ioannis Miaoulis, President of the Museum of Science, who hosted today’s meeting, stated: “The Museum of Science is honored to host the inaugural meeting of the Governor’s Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) advisory council. The Museum’s renewed mission to transform the nation’s relationship to science and technology and to strengthen technology and engineering standards and curricula in K-12 is perfectly aligned with the Governor’s vision to further enhance our state’s leadership in technology workforce development and to inspire future generations of engineering leaders.”

Last October, Senator Spilka joined Governor Patrick, Lieutenant Governor Murray and other elected officials and community leaders to sign Executive Order # 513 establishing the Governor’s STEM Advisory Council.  The Council, chaired by the Lieutenant Governor, will meet as a full council quarterly and as sub-committees more frequently.  Membership of the Council consists of a diverse cross-section of STEM leaders from across the Commonwealth.  To learn more about the Governor’s STEM Advisory Council and for a complete listing of council members, please visit:


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