AUGUSTA – Gov. Paul LePage signed into law this week legislation that will bolster Maine’s efforts to strengthen science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education from pre-kindergarten to the post-secondary level.
The new law creates a STEM council that includes teachers, state government, higher education and the private sector. The goal is to give Maine students and Maine’s economy a leg up by encouraging more students to enter STEM fields.
“We need to focus on STEM education,” said Gov. LePage. “Our economy, global and local, depends on the understanding of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Innovation leads to new products and processes that sustain our industrial base, and that innovation requires a solid foundation in these areas of knowledge.”
The Maine Department of Education has made STEM education a top priority for some time and the new law builds on that work. The Department established an internal STEM team that includes science, math, Career and Technical Education and Maine Learning Technology Initiative staff, to integrate STEM education across all content areas. The team has worked extensively with other organizations and businesses in Maine to advance STEM education.
“Ensuring that all Maine students have access to a comprehensive education in the STEM fields, though, requires that we look beyond the K-12 system, and more broadly and formally involve the higher education and business communities and other sectors of state government,” said Education Commissioner Stephen Bowen.
The 16-member council, which will include five ex officio members and 11 appointed by the governor, will meet several times per year to discuss ways to promote STEM education, including integration into all content areas, and submit an annual report to the Legislature.
Resources and more information
- Anita Bernhardt, science and technology specialist
Maine Department of Education
- STEM education in Maine