More than 300 high school students from 50 Iowa school districts will be in Cedar Falls today for a discussion about math and science. Joan Duea is director the the Iowa Math and Science Coalition, which is working to improve student’s test scores in the those subjects.
Today’s summit at the University of Northern Iowa will allow educators to hear directly from students about their ideas for increasing student interest in math and science. "They’re our clients," Duea says of the students, "we should be asking them what they have to say about mathematics and science education."
Duea says the changing U.S. economy will need more college graduates entering the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. She says America will probably never match Japan or China for the number of graduates in the subjects. "But there’s one commodity that we have that, usually, they don’t get out of their education system," Duea says, "and that’s not only knowledge, but creativity. We need to make sure that our students not only have the skills and knowledge, but they’re working at a higher level of thinking."
The students at today’s summit will be asked to go back to their schools and develop ideas for boosting interest in math and science. Governor Chet Culver is scheduled to address the students at 10:15 a.m. Recently, the leaders of Iowa’s three public universities requested 5.5 million dollars from the legislature to establish a math and science initiative.
UNI President Ben Allen told a legislative study committee that Iowa is losing half of it’s math and science teachers within five years on the job.