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Tom Luce Speaks To PCAST On Stem Education And NMSI Programs

Tom Luce, NMSI's Founding CEO and Chairman of the Board, delivered a speech to the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) this morning and discussed the state of STEM education, and what NMSI is doing about it. See his full remarks, below.
 
TOM LUCE TRANSCRIPT
 
There is an old saying in Washington that reports get issued; are put on a shelf to collect dust and never lead to action.
 
 I am here to dispel that myth.
 
 In 2005, the National Academy of Science issued the first volume of a landmark report titled Rising Above the Gathering Storm that recommended two proven programs, operated in one state at the time, the Advanced Placement Training and Incentive Program and the UTeach program, be replicated across the country.
 
 Choosing these two programs was a balanced approach. The AP program provides higher level, content oriented training for the existing teacher corps and provides all students in a participating school with opportunity and access to advanced courses which permit the current generation of students to become college and career ready. State longitudinal data showed that the college graduation rate of African American students who scored a 3 or more on one AP exam went from 15% to plus 60%; Hispanic students went from 15% to plus 60% and Anglo went from 35% to plus 70%.
 
 The second program chosen, UTeach, trains the next generation of teachers in a different way – graduating teachers with content degrees in math and science and a teaching certificate in 4 years. Data supplied by The University of Texas at Austin who started this program showed the 90%+ who graduated went into teaching and 85% were still teaching 5 years later.
 
 This report which urged immediate action to take these programs to national scale prompted ExxonMobil to make an extraordinary multi-year pledge of $125 million which enabled the creation of NMSI, and ExxonMobil challenged other corporations, foundations, and state and federal governments, to join them in a public-private partnership which could prove that best practices could be faithfully replicated across the country and sustained over time – the only way to change our nation’s educational decline.
 
 NMSI’s mission and strategy were clear: establish that proven programs could be faithfully replicated nationally.
 
 Then the effort received a rocket boost when both programs were highlighted in the two PCAST reports on K-12 education and higher education issued in 2010 and 2012, respectively, and President Obama and his Administration joined in the chorus.
 
 The replication results have exceeded our expectations.
 
 The AP program has spread from one state to 18 states and 462 high schools this academic year and has produced immediate and sustained results. The average first year increase in passing scores has shown to be 79%, and over three years, the average increase of scores is 137%.
 
 Replication has been quickly achieved in the UTeach program as well. Starting in one university, the program this year is now in 34 universities and as you can see this will mean 10,000 new math and science teachers by 2020 will impact millions of K-12 students. The types of universities are diverse – from Tier 1 research universities to smaller state universities.
 
 In addition, next week NMSI and a new prestigious donor will be making a major announcement of a national selection process to fund 10 more Tier 1 research universities to start UTeach programs. That will permit us to reach the 15,000 milestone by 2022.
 
 This dramatic change of the national landscape has been accomplished by a careful process:
 
 
1.Of defining what are the essential elements of success that will insure faithful replication while leaving room for the diversity of universities and innovation;
2.A close partnership internally and externally of the organizations of the program – The University of Texas in Austin and Advanced Placement Strategies formed by The O’Donnell Foundation and the dedicated NMSI staff of educator;
3.A strong national board lead by people such as Charles Vest, Norm Augustine, Bruce Alberts, Shirley Malcolm, and many others;
4.Persistent and proactive support by Director Holdren and his team at the Office of Science, Technology, and Policy; and
5.A strong donor base of corporations, foundations, and governmental agencies that has matched the contribution of ExxonMobil
6.A competitive selection process where the winners are given multi-year grants to insure sustainability.
 
So where do we go from here.
 
 We must change our STEM policy regarding funding.
 
 We must do more replication and fewer pilot programs. Neither NSF nor the Department of Education stress replication of proven programs. With funding decreasing, we must achieve the best possible return on investment of taxpayer dollars.
 
 We have a national problem of enormous magnitude. We must not only train the next generation of engineers and scientists who can help us maintain our international standing in R&D but we must train the STEM capable workforce which is absolutely necessary for our economic and national security.
 
 We are a nation with 50 plus million diverse students in our public schools. Pilot programs historically have not been measured for effectiveness and have helped (or not helped) thousands of students, not millions of students.
 
 A significant percentage of our national STEM funding must be allocated to proven programs and funded through matching grants over multiple years.
 
 In addition, the STEM higher academic community must realize and embrace the concept that they, not the Schools of Education, have the obligation to produce the next generation of math and science teachers as well as PhD students who will continue to lead the way in R&D.
 
 In closing, I hope this distinguished audience will help spread the word that our national STEM education issues may look daunting, but we now have proven they can be solved. Poverty, working conditions, lack of respect for the teaching profession, and teacher compensation have all been overcome. This is not a matter of how but a matter of national will.
 
 Higher expectations and standards for all students;
 
 Better trained math and science teachers in our K-12 school system;
 
 Vigorous support and leadership from PCAST and the Administration;
 
 And perseverance can produce dramatic results.
 
 Thank you and I will be happy to answer any questions you may have.