Coronavirus (COVID-19) Response • Have you downloaded COVIDWISE, Virginia's COVID-19 exposure notification app? Add your phone to the fight here. For up-to-date information, assistance, and resources from across state government, click here.
RICHMOND—The Virginia Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Education Commission today presented Governor Ralph Northam its recommendations for creating a statewide vision and a dynamic set of shared goals to inform how the Commonwealth prepares students for STEM jobs of the future. The Commission’s final report outlines a path forward for ensuring equitable opportunities and access to STEM education and aligning Virginia’s efforts to the rapidly evolving needs of employers.
“The shift to virtual learning during the COVID-19 pandemic has only amplified the need to confront educational inequities and eliminate opportunity gaps across the STEM ecosystem,” said Governor Northam. “Proficiency in STEM disciplines is too often dictated by race, gender, socioeconomic status, and zip code. These recommendations will serve as a critical roadmap as we work to ensure every Virginia student has access to quality instruction and graduates with the knowledge, skills, and mindsets necessary to thrive in a technologically-advanced, global society.”
On July 17, 2019, Governor Northam signed Executive Order Thirty-Six, establishing the Virginia STEM Commission and named First Lady Pamela Northam as its chair. The Governor appointed a wide range of stakeholders to serve on the Commission, including representatives of early childhood, K-12, post-secondary, out-of-school, informal and environmental education programs, as well as workforce development, business, and industry partners. Since its formation last year, the Commission has worked across sectors and regions to develop a robust set of recommendations to make STEM education in the Commonwealth more inclusive, accessible, and collaborative.
“We insisted from the start that sustainable improvements could only be made if we included representatives from the entire birth to career pipeline from early learning to higher education, the private sector, and informal educators,” said First Lady Northam. “The Commission’s recommendations will help create a Virginia STEM ecosystem which exposes even our littlest learners to STEM concepts, encourages educators to provide students with project-based learning, and expands access to opportunity for all students, no matter who they are or where they live.”
The Commission recommends the implementation of three key elements to ensure that Virginia’s STEM ecosystem is equipped to meet the needs of every student, from early learning through higher education.
“Historic and pervasive educational disparities have limited access to advanced courses in STEM disciplines, credentials and work-based learning for many girls, students of color, and students in rural regions of the state,” said Secretary of Education Atif Qarni. “These recommendations will help Virginia improve STEM education so that it is vibrant, healthy, and representative of all people in our Commonwealth.”
The executive summary of the Commission’s final report is available here.
# # #