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STEM News Roundup: The White House’s EdTech Plan Gets a Critique

STEM News Round-Up: The White House’s EdTech Plan Gets a Critique

President Obama announced a hefty commitment of federal dollars to providing computer science to all students, but is a financial commitment enough to get the job done? And is there really a lack of qualified candidates for tech jobs?

ICYMI: Obama Announces $4 Billion Commitment to Computer Science

The White House has now jumped on board to help schools across the country teach students computer science skills.

He announced this week a three-year plan to invest $4 billion in helping provide computer science for all.

The full plan will be announced Feb. 9, with big names like Microsoft expected to be partners.

Read the full story.

Obama's Multi-Billion-Dollar EdTech Plan Gets Critiqued 

Despite the increased desire to educate students in the sciences and get them into that career trajectory, The Atlantic wonders if STEM careers- particularly in the tech sector- are really that in need of more qualified candidates.

"… a loud chorus of researchers in education and labor markets question the notion that workers are unqualified for the growing sophistication of tech jobs,” The Atlantic said.

"For several years some academics have pushed back against concern the U.S. labor market has a dearth of employees for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM), citing data that shows positions in those fields aren’t experiencing spikes in wages—something economists say would need to happen in a labor shortage because it shows employers are willing to pay more to attract the talent they need.”

And even if there is a huge needs for more qualified candidates in the tech sector, is the $4 billion commitment enough?

”...the White House is urging private companies and philanthropies to do more to expand computer-science training in public schools, Microsoft’s [President Brad] Smith believes the government should be the main driver. 'We clearly need the tech sector to continue to do more,' he said. 'But there is no way that the private sector or philanthropy can fill this gap by itself. We need more public funding and we need more federal funding.’”

The Atlantic raises these questions and more in its article “The Reality of Coding Classes.”

Read more here.

Minority Women Who Paved the Way in STEM: Evelyn Boyd Granville & Tanya Moore

It’s a well-known fact that STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) fields are in need of more diversity as white males tend to dominate most. But in honor of Black History Month, Black Enterprise honors two African American females who blazed a trail for minority women in STEM.

Granville’s work as a mathematician for the National Bureau of Standards helped develop missile fuses, helped perform research on computing orbits for the Computation and Data Reduction Center of Space Technology. She worked on the Apollo Project at North American Aviation and created computer software for IBM.

Granville’s latest job was as a mathematics professor, teaching others about the importance of mathematics in education and helping others learn the way of STEM.

Dr. Moore launched "a first-of-its-kind math conference for minority women and girls, Infinite Possibilities…. a national conference for women of color in all stages of mathematics—from high school students to post-docs and women in private industry. 'I started it initially as a reunion because of the experiences I had at Spelman [College]. Now it has grown. It has created this wonderful community over the last few years.’”

Granville and Moore are just two examples of the many minority women who have proved that STEM is for everyone.

Read the full story.

U.S. Naval Academy Begins Accepting Applications for 2016 Summer STEM Program

The U.S. Naval Academy is now accepting applications for its annual summer program that is "designed to expose young people to STEM concepts and technologies and to encourage 9th-11th graders to pursue a course of study in engineering and technology throughout high school, college and beyond,” said the Missile Defense Agency.

"The 2016 STEM program showcases the latest in technological advances in a wide variety of science and engineering topics to include energy and light, infrastructure, transportation, cybersecurity, environmental challenges, flight and fluids, automation, simulation and modeling, biometrics and robotics.”

Find out more and how to apply here. 

Compiled by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor

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