Here’s what Florida should do if it REALLY wants to improve student career readiness in math, science and computing-related fields

Tomorrow, Florida’s State Board of Education will approve new standards in computing for K-12 schools.  This is the least impactful thing the state’s K-12 system can do to promote student career readiness in computing.  But it’s consistent with what the state has done (or not done) to improve student career readiness in math, science and engineering careers.

Here are the two things Florida’s policy-makers should do to improve student career readiness in math, science, computing and engineering:

  1. Redirect the $49 million the state is spending on the ill-advised Best and Brightest Teacher Scholarship Program this year into a program to provide salary supplements to teachers who are strong in math, science and computing.  Students who are graduating with bachelors’ degrees in math, the physical sciences, computing and engineering pay a salary penalty of more than $10,000 per year – and in some cases multiples of that – to enter the teaching profession.  But we need those new graduates to improve the teaching of their subjects in the public schools.
  2. Change the requirements for Bright Futures Scholarships.  Drop the requirement of minimum scores on the racially-biased ACT and SAT tests, and instead require that students take chemistry, physics, precalculus and computer programming courses to be eligible for Bright Futures.

 

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