PolitickerNJ Wire Feed
TRENTON – Legislation sponsored by Senate Education Chair M. Teresa Ruiz that would broaden access and encourage student interest in fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics was approved today by the Senate Education Committee.
“In the coming years, New Jersey will experience an increased demand for workers that are skilled in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. We have to ensure that our residents are prepared for employment in these sectors and are able to compete for the positions with their counterparts in states across the county and around the globe,” said Senator Ruiz (D-Essex). “Expanding STEM programs in our school districts and encouraging more students to study these subject areas will ensure that our students are better equipped for employment in a high-tech, 21st Century economy.”
According to a 2011 STEM jobs report by the George Washington University Center on Education and the Workforce, New Jersey will demand a total of 248,250 STEM jobs by 2018, up from 223,190 in 2008. About 93% of the predicted jobs will require postsecondary education and training. The National Science Board’s 2010 Science and Engineering Indicators report found that only 5% of American graduates major in engineering, compared to 20% total in Asia and about 33% in China. Other studies have shown that the United States ranks last or next to last in 12th grade mathematics and science scores.
The bill (S-2562) would establish a four-year "New Jersey Innovation Inspiration School Grant Pilot Program" within the Department of Education. Under the pilot program, grants would be awarded to school districts to support non-traditional STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) teaching methods for students in grades 9 through 12, support the participation of students in nonprofit STEM competitions, foster innovation and broaden interest in careers in STEM fields, and encourage collaboration among students, engineers, and professional mentors.
Through the pilot program, the commissioner of Department of Education would award a total of six one-time, up-front grants of up to $150,000 each. Two grants would be awarded to districts located in each of the northern, central and southern regions of the state. In awarding the grants, the commissioner would have to give priority to applications from districts that intend to target activities in a rural or urban school, a low-performing school, or a school or school district that serves low-income students. The districts would be permitted to use the grant funds for a period of up to four years.
The bill would also establish the “Innovation Inspiration School Grant Fund” within the Department of Education to provide grants to school districts under the pilot program. A school district that receives a grant would have to provide district matching funds in an amount equal to 25% of the grant amount. In addition, the district would have to secure matching funds or in-kind contributions from corporate donors or other private sector donors in an amount equal to 25% of the grant amount.
“We are lagging behind other nations when it comes to math and science education while countries such as Japan, China and Finland push ahead,” said Senator Ruiz. “Expanding offerings in our high schools and encouraging student collaboration with professionals in the field will go a long way to help prepare our students for the jobs of tomorrow that we know are in these critical areas. While this is an important first step, we also have to do more to engage students and encourage their interest in STEM education at a much younger age.”
The committee approved the bill by a vote of 5-0. It now heads to the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee for consideration.
NJ Senate Democratic Office
On Wednesday, U.S. Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) will officially kick-off his re-election campaign with a three-event tour across the state.Read More >
Campaign season now under way in Bergen County Politics is practiced year-round in Bergen County, and street-level campaigning has been going on quietly all summer. But both Republicans and Democrats say the Rutherford Street Fair on Labor Day signals a more intense phase of electioneering. (Ensslin/The Bergen Record) http://www.northjersey.com/news/campaign-season-now-under-way-in-bergen-county-1.1079080 ...
By MICHAEL W. KLEIN In his weekly radio address on August 16, President Obama challenged colleges “to do their part to bring down costs” and lighten the tuition burden on students. The state colleges and universities in New Jersey have... Read More >
"Governor Christie ripped President Obama this summer for failing to carve out some time during a Texas fundraising swing to visit the Mexican border, where the unprecedented flood of immigrant children from Central America had reached a crisis point. ...Yet Christie is not squeezing in a tour of the troubled border during his own three-day trade and diplomatic mission to Mexico, which is set to begin on Wednesday. The governor is planning a series of meetings with Mexican officials, including President Enrique Peña Nieto and the finance and energy ministers." - columnist Charles Stile- The Bergen Record
Press releases are submitted by PolitickerNJ users, not by staff. They do not represent the viewpoint of PolitickerNJ.com.