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Eye On Boise

Posts tagged: stem

Idaho grad requirements for math, science now don’t cover computers, engineering; rule change in works

It turns out that when Idaho increased its high school graduations for math and science to require three years of each, the definition of classes that qualified didn't include advanced engineering or computer science classes. As a result, students who wanted to take those classes only got elective credit, and didn't fulfill their math and science grad requirements. Now, state Superintendent of Schools Tom Luna and the Idaho Technology Council have partnered to propose changes to the state rule to define dual credit engineering, dual credit computer science, or Advanced Placement (AP) computer science as eligible for the math and science credits.

The State Board of Education gave the rule change initial approval at its meeting in Pocatello yesterday; now, it'll go out for public comment, then return for final approval in November. It still would need legislative review, and wouldn't take effect until the 2014-2015 school year. Jay Larsen, president of the Idaho Technology Council, said it makes sense to encourage students to take these courses in high school to prepare them for future careers in STEM fields. Luna said, “Often, students have interest in STEM courses, but are not willing to give up electives to take these classes. By expanding our math and science requirements, we will open up a world of high-tech opportunities to every high school student.” Click below for Luna's full news release on the proposed rule change.

Research will seek answers on why students don’t choose tech disciplines

With fewer U.S. students going into key technical areas - a decline that’s raised major concerns about the nation’s future competitiveness - the University of Idaho today announced a new grant to study just why Idaho students aren’t choosing to study science, technology, engineering and mathematics.     ”This is not just unique to Idaho, although I think it’s more acute in Idaho,” said UI President Duane Nellis. “It is a real concern, and it’s very revealing and fairly graphic, the decline of students tracking in this area.”

The Micron Foundation gave the UI a $1.2 million, four-year grant to research the issue. The project will include focus groups, surveys, interviews with students, teachers, parents and school administrators, a statewide dialogue and more aimed at identifying why students don’t choose the STEM disciplines or don’t succeed in them.     ”We will be able to identify those exact factors that influence a student’s ability to excel at STEM education,” said Dee Mooney, Micron Foundation executive director. “We look forward to learning all about the results.” UI officials said the research should help guide STEM programs not only in Idaho but across the nation; you can read my full story here at

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Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.

Named best state-based political blog in Idaho for 2013 by The Fix

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