Virginia STEM Education Commission created

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RICHMOND, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- A new executive order has established a commission that will develop a state science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM, plan.

Governor Ralph Northam signed the executive order for the Virginia STEM Education Commission this week.

According to a release, it will develop a plan to create a unified statewide vision and set of shared goals to strategically inform how students are prepared for the STEM jobs of the future.

“As a pediatric neurologist, I recognize the importance of having a strong STEM background, and have made enhancing the Commonwealth's STEM education a top priority of mine since day one,” said Northam. “Our ability to remain one of the best states for education, innovation and business depends upon how well we prepare our next generation for 21st-century jobs. With its focus on addressing the evolving workforce needs and the persistence disparities in our education system, this commission will play a key role in ensuring we give all our students an opportunity to succeed in STEM-related fields.”

First lady Pamela Northam will chair the commission, which will include state and local representatives for early childhood, K-12, post-secondary, our-of-school, informal and environmental education programs as well as workforce development, business and industry partners.

The release says the commission will seek to address the educational inequities that often limit access to advanced courses in STEM disciplines, credentials and work-based learning for many of the most vulnerable and under-represented students.

It will also support state efforts to close the achievement opportunity gapes in such fiends, meet the growing economic demand for STEM-prepared employees, and help the Commonwealth maintain its position as the best state for business.

The release adds the commission will also encourage collaboration among government and non-government entities on collective goals to support efforts to track state data and outcome metrics, reshape future curriculum and courses, and inform state and local policy.

On top of that, it will evaluate and recommend ways to optimize and align public-private partnerships and local, state and federal resources to enhance programs and services for children and their families across Virginia, especially those who are at higher risk.

The commission will issue a written report on its findings and recommendations by July 1, 2020.

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