The Missouri Mathematics and Science Coalition connects business, education, government and community stakeholders working to ensure Missouri citizens are equipped with knowledge and skills in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, and to prosper in a global economy.
What is the mission of the Missouri Mathematics and Science Coalition? The mission of the Missouri Mathematics and Science Coalition is to oversee efforts to improve student performance in STEM and increase public awareness of the related issues facing the state's employers and employees. The organization also serves as a collaborator to bring business, education and community groups together to work on solving problems, and to extend the reach of effective STEM programs across the state.
Our mission statement:
“To foster collaboration among business, education and government to ensure Missouri citizens are equipped with knowledge and skills in mathematics, engineering, technology and science to prosper in a global economy.”
Why is STEM important?
Missouri is in a serious competition, with 49 states and 196 countries for goods and services, where knowledge and human capital is the new commodity to growth and success. Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) plays a significant part in our ability to effectively compete in this new age. This is why investing in STEM education at all levels from early childhood to postsecondary education, specifically targeting advancement in student engagement and preparedness is paramount for having a high-skilled workforce ready to compete and thrive in the 21st century global economy.
Currently, the US ranks 25th for mathematics and 17th for science in the world by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) on the international assessment study- Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA). Studies indicate that American fourth-grade students score high in math and science when compared to their global peers, but by twelfth-grade our students score at the bottom. Missouri students mirror this statistic, which leaves many of our students losing interest in these subjects and less prepared to enter the global workforce. Missouri student test scores on the ACT also reflect a dramatic decrease in achievement when compared to other areas of the test. In 2012, 75% of Missouri high school graduates took the ACT college preparation exam. Of those, 46 % met college readiness benchmarks in Mathematics and only 33% met college readiness benchmarks in science.
Missouri’s ability to compete in a global society is being hampered by our lack of preparation, dedication and achievement in the STEM fields. The Missouri Mathematics and Science Coalition seek solutions to change the equation and place STEM education and workforce development as a top priority in Missouri.
What are our strategies?
IMPROVING THE PERFORMANCE OF ALL PRE-SCHOOL THROUGH GRADUATE SCHOOL STUDENTS - The Missouri Mathematics and Science Coalition calls for the revision of Missouri’s Grade Level Expectations and assessments for pre-school through high school students, while ensuring that these revisions work hand in hand with collegiate standards as well. Expectations and assessments for pre-school through high school students, while ensuring that these revisions work hand in hand with collegiate standards as well. In addition, we support the adoption and implementation of the Common Core and Next Generation Science standards in order to align districts in one effort- to improve student achievement.
EXPANDING THE POOL OF STUDENTS MOTIVATED TO PURSUE STEM CAREERS - The Missouri Mathematics and Science Coalition recommends improving academic and career counseling, so more students know what career opportunities exist and how to achieve in those careers. The report also suggests exposing students to real-world experiences through partnerships with businesses, laboratories, museums and zoos or internships and fieldtrips. The Coalition recommends initiatives to celebrate and reward students who excel in STEM studies and activities.
EXPANDING THE POOL OF QUALITY STEM EDUCATORS - Missouri is facing a severe shortage of STEM educators in our public schools, so the Coalition recommends that the state provides incentives to recruit and retain quality math and science teachers. The plan also calls for innovative approaches to help people working in STEM fields to also have the opportunity to teach their areas of expertise to students, opening a resource that is currently untapped in Missouri.
ESTABLISHING A TECHNOLOGY PLAN TO SUPPORT STEM EFFORTS - An important initiative of the Missouri Mathematics and Science Coalition is the establishment of a standard technology suite for all schools, including a strong teacher-training component that will ensure Missouri educators maximize the investment in this critical teaching tool. Standardizing technology across all Missouri institutions will also give Missouri an economy of scale, and will make it easier for educators to collaborate teaching methods across the state. The Coalition also calls for creating an online portal that schools across the state can use as a resource for sharing best practices.
INCREASING PUBLIC AWARENESS OF THE VALUE OF STEM KNOWLEDGE AND STEM RELATED CAREERS - The success of this initiative revolves around changing the mindset of students, parents, educators, business leaders and the general public about the importance of STEM disciplines not just for those students seeking to become mathematicians and scientists, but for all students’ quality of life. A public awareness campaign operating on various levels – from public service announcements to grassroots action through local chambers of commerce and other community groups – is recommended by the Missouri Mathematics and Science Coalition.
What are our accomplishments?
BRINGING TECHNOLOGY INTO THE CLASSROOM - The Missouri Mathematics and Science Coalition has secured funding to launch more than 100 model classrooms that combine the eMINTS teaching methods using technology with mathematics and science instruction. The eMINTS National Center is a non-profit, independent business unit of the University of Missouri, which provides a research-based approach to organizing instruction that can be implemented in any subject area at any level. eMINTS was recently awarded a $12 million grant by the U.S. Department of Education to bring technology and intensive professional development to more than 5,000 middle school students in 60 rural Missouri districts through a research study over the next 5 years. The Coalition will be supporting eMINTS to promote the program and distribute the results of the study.
INCREASING THE NUMBER OF EDUCATORS IN STEM FIELDS - The Missouri Mathematics and Science Coalition was a key supporter of legislation to pass alternative certification for teachers, so that professionals could go into Missouri classrooms to teach and shore up teaching shortages in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
IMPROVING STUDENT PERFORMANCE IN STEM FIELDS - The Coalition helped launch the Show- Me Scholars Initiative, which connects business mentors with students to encourage them to take more rigorous classes in high school. The program is being implemented in schools all around the state. A recent study showed that sudents that completed the rigorous courses, like the Show-Me Scholars standards, scored an average of 2.6 points higher on the ACT than their peers and 102 points higher on the SAT.
INCREASING THE NUMBER OF STUDENTS PURSUING STEM CAREERS - The Missouri Mathematics and Science Coalition helped promote a loan forgiveness program with the Missouri Higher Education Loan Authority for freshmen entering pre-engineering programs for 2007-2008. This effort reduced Stafford Student Loan balances by up to $3,500 for college freshmen entering pre-engineering programs.
RAISING PUBLIC AWARENESS ABOUT THE IMPORTANCE OF STEM FIELDS - The Missouri Mathematics and Science Coalition has built an informative website and we distribute electronic newsletters highlighting best practices in STEM education to more than 3,000 contacts each quarter. The first week of March 2010 has been designated as the week to promote science, technology, engineering, and mathematics and last year we hosted a robotics tournament in the Capitol Rotunda. Members of our Coalition have made presentations at hundreds of events and classrooms over the last four years.
Who are our members?
The strength of the Missouri Mathematics and Science Coalition rests on the diversity and dedication of its members. At the leadership level, the Coalition is supported by business executives, K-12 and higher education faculty, state department directors and legislators. The Coalition seeks to engage all sectors to leverage our strengths and perspectives to increase the level of discussion and action on STEM education and workforce development in the state of Missouri.
Dr. Ashok Agrawal, Dean of Math, Science and Engineering, St. Louis Community College
Monica Beglau, Director, e-Mints National Center
Debra Hollingsworth, Vice President of External Affairs, AT&T
Randy Maier, Public Affairs and Education Relations Manager, The Boeing Company
Dr. Vicki May, Science Outreach Director, Washington University - St. Louis
Dan Mehan, President / CEO, Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry
Dr. Chris Nicastro, Commissioner, Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
Dr. David Russell, Commissioner, Missouri Department of Higher Education
Kathy Swan, President, JCS/TEL-LINK
Dr. Carter Ward, Executive Director, Missouri School Boards Association
Jim Young, Retired-Vice President of Engineering, The Boeing Company
Rep. Rory Ellinger, State Representative (D-71), Missouri House of Representatives
Rep. Clem Smith, State Representative (D-72), Missouri House of Representatives