HD4 - Executive Summary of the Joint Subcommittee to Study Science, Math, and Technology Education in the Commonwealth at the Elementary, Secondary, and Undergraduate Levels (HJR 90, 2008)

    Executive Summary:
    The joint subcommittee established by House Joint Resolution 90 to continue the work of the two-year House Joint Resolution 25 (2006) joint subcommittee studying math, science, and technology education concluded its one year study after its third meeting on November 17, 2008.

    During its three meetings of the 2008 Interim, the joint subcommittee received presentations from the Department of Education, Career and Technical Academy Directors, Virginia Tech, the University of Virginia, the Education Research Center's Director of Editorial Projects, the Equal Footing Foundation, the Virginia Math and Science Coalition, the Virginia Community College System, the Virginia Children's Engineering Council, principals, and teachers. The main purpose of the presentations was to provide an adequate background in the Commonwealth's public education system, and specifically, how it incorporates math, science, and technology education in order for the joint subcommittee to determine where to focus its efforts.

    Prior to the final meeting, staff compiled a list of potential recommendations for consideration by the joint subcommittee and identified several options that were presented at the final meeting. Listed below are the final legislative recommendations endorsed by the joint subcommittee:

    1. Add section requiring the Center for Innovative Technology to survey Virginia's technology industry every two years on the demand for graduates in STEM fields and report findings to institutions of higher education, the General Assembly, and the Joint Commission on Technology and Science.

    2. A resolution recognizing the seven new Career and Technical Education Academies and encouraging local school divisions to consider establishing an academy based on the Board of Education criteria for establishing a Governor's Career and Technical Education Academy.

    3. A resolution endorsing and supporting Project Lead the Way and recent efforts on the part of the Department of Education to provide four start-up grants in 2008 for schools to implement Project Lead the Way.

    4. A resolution recognizing the efforts of UVA and the Virginia Community College System, specifically Central Virginia Community College, to collaborate in establishing an engineering partnership that offers students the ability to earn an Associate of Science in Engineering (or equivalent) degree and become eligible to enter into the UVA Engineering undergraduate program. Students can ultimately earn their Bachelor of Science degrees in engineering by successfully completing a mixture of on-site and distance learning courses.

    5. A resolution encouraging school systems to use existing intervention, remediation, and at-risk funding to hire K-8 mathematics teacher specialists as an effective means to improve the performance of low achieving students and to support K-8 mathematics specialists who have earned the Virginia Board of Education's licensure endorsement. Mathematics specialists would provide targeted mathematics intervention and remediation.

    6. A resolution directing the Board of Education to study the need for creating either a STEM teacher specialist endorsement, a science teacher specialist endorsement, or a combination of the two, and to report to the General Assembly by January 1, 2011.

    In addition to the recommendations listed, there were numerous suggestions and recommendations generated by the joint subcommittee with an eye toward an improved economic landscape and all of such recommendations will be highlighted in the Final Report. The Joint Subcommittee intends to submit a final report of its findings and recommendations to the General Assembly and the Governor for publication as a House Document.

    All materials and presentations from the HJR 90 study are available on the joint subcommittee's website, located at http://dls.state.va.us/TechEd.htm.