Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Colorado's STEM Program

So, I had an opportunity to attend the CTA's Industry Breakfast this morning. The topic of discussion was the Governors’ STEM Action Plan. Being heavily vested in this topic, I was excited to attend this event and listen to Senator Mike Johnston and the Accenture Foundation’s Scott Fast as they discussed education reform and more specifically the STEM Action Plan. Although I am entirely convinced that the need for more STEM graduates is absolutely necessary, I was less than convinced that the government has an actionable plan to address these needs. It seems they might be putting the cart before the horse by asking for a significant tax increase this fall prior to having a detailed plan as to how we produce more STEM workers. Now in all fairness, the government might have a more detailed plan and simply did not have enough time to share during the breakfast, but I would certainly want to see the details of such a plan before I voted in favor of a 27% increase on the state income tax. I would be more in favor of a voucher plan that allowed the parents the option of enrolling children in STEM centric charter schools or private schools and allowing the free market greater participation in possible solutions. The biggest areas of improvement that I have recently seen in addressing the shortage of STEM workers have been generated in the free market. Technology schools such as the gSchool and RefactorU are popping up to meet the demand for more technology workers. These types of free market solutions are exactly what is needed in helping the workforce adapt to the needs of the 21st century. I appreciate the fact the government is concerned about a shortage of STEM workers, but I lack confidence in their ability to come up with viable, cost effective solutions.

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