Last week, David Burns from Battelle joined a delegation from Ohio to the Idaho legislature. The topic: How to foster STEM? You can read about the visit in detail in this piece for the Idaho Statesman by Bill Roberts. We asked what he’s thinking after returning home to Ohio.

So, this is how it starts.

David Burns from Battelle on Idaho's readiness for STEM schools

David Burns from Battelle on Idaho’s readiness for STEM schools

Everyone understands strong STEM education and STEM schools are a good idea. But, how do you move from idea to action? Whether you’re talking about Ohio in 2008, Tennessee in 2010, or Idaho today, it takes three elements.

First, you need a state legislature that’s engaged on the issue. Legislative support can be the cornerstone that advocates, businesses, and educators gather around. Representative DeMordaunt and Senator Nonini are serving that role.

Second, you need a foundation ready to seed innovation. This was one of my questions as we headed to Idaho. While STEM schools can build sustainable financial models for the long-haul, they do often need more in start-up capital. After a number of conversations last week, I’m convinced the right foundations are ready in Idaho.

Third, you need someone who knows what to do. I’ve seen too many educational innovations built on good ideas and plenty of funding that end up failing. This kind of work requires a blend of tested experience and flexible creativity that can be hard to find. But, it does exist. In fact, that’s exactly what I think STEMx offers. As a national platform for sharing ways to turn the idea of STEM into real impact, STEMx can provide whole package Idaho needs to move forward.

Idaho has some key resources already in place. Anne Seifert and her STEM educational outreach at Idaho National Labs and the Idaho STEM Action Center are just two examples of organizations deeply committed to STEM. Connecting these resources with the national STEM conversation will only accelerate the state’s work to do more for students.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *