As a result of a bill submitted by Governor Paul LePage and following unanimous support of the Maine state legislature’s Joint Standing Committee on Education and Cultural Affairs, both Houses of the Legislature established the Maine STEM Council in June of 2011.
The membership of this Council, detailed below, includes representatives of public and private agencies and organizations.
The major duty assigned to the Council is the development of “strategies for enhancing science, technology, engineering and mathematics education from prekindergarten through postsecondary education” (LD 1540). The Council is creating a “roadmap,” a dynamic plan that is based on policy and practice research in education and labor that will “recommend strategic directions for consideration by policymakers as they identify future investments in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics” (LD 1540). In addition, the Council is developing initiatives to promote science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education in school and out of school.
Since its inception in June of 2011, the Council, led by its chair Dr. Jerry Pieh, has a remarkable list of accomplishments:
- Brought the Council to order for quarterly meetings
- Commissioned research on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics plans in other states
- Surveyed organizations across the nation that support state-wide STEM Councils
- Assigned Council members to coordinate with STEM councils in other states and national groups
- Established three subcommittees to explore engineering education, internships, and components of a strategic plan
- Developed a draft set of indicators – a preliminary dashboard, so to speak, to accompany the road-map
- Provided testimony to the Joint Subcommittee on Education and Cultural Affairs on at least three occasions
- Sought funding from public and private sources to provide for Council work
- Hired a part-time Executive Director
Much work remains to be accomplished, however. We hope to have a STEM road-map within six months, with specific strategies, outcome targets, and assigned responsibilities and deadlines. We are planning to identify a set of indicators – the dashboard – to assess progress in achieving the targets in the road-map. A longer term goal is to obtain a large grant that will enable effective implementation of the road-map, with flexible venture capital for STEM business and industry, prekindergarten through graduate education, and cross-agency support systems.
The desired outcome of all of this work is to have a robust, innovative, exciting, and accommodating STEM business and industry in Maine so Maine people can have fulfilling lives and well-paying occupations.
§11. Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Council
1. Establishment; composition. The Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Council, established in Title 5, section 12004-C, subsection 8 and referred to in this section as “the council,” consists of the following 16 members:
A. Five ex officio members:
(1) The Commissioner of Education or the commissioner’s designee;
(2) The Chancellor of the University of Maine System or the chancellor’s designee;
(3) The President of the Maine Community College System or the president’s designee;
(4) The President of the Maine Maritime Academy or the president’s designee; and
(5) The Commissioner of Labor or the commissioner’s designee; and
B. The following 11 members, appointed by the Governor:
(1) A representative from the University of Maine, Maine Center for Research in STEM Education;
(2) A representative who teaches in elementary or middle school;
(3) A representative who teaches science or mathematics in secondary school;
(4) A representative who teaches in a technical school;
(5) A representative of public and private education partnerships;
(6) A representative of a statewide science, technology, engineering and mathematics collaborative;
(7) Two representatives from the business sector who employ workers with training in science, technology, engineering or mathematics;
(8) A representative employed in an industry related to science, technology, engineering or mathematics;
(9) A representative who teaches in an equivalent instruction program that is approved as an alternative to public school as set forth in section 5001-A, subsection 3; and
(10) A representative from the State Board of Education.”