California public schools to incorporate more STEM education

Lyanne Melendez Image
Monday, June 30, 2014
California public schools to incorporate more STEM education
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson presented his final STEM report and how it will shape California schools.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- California public schools will begin to look a lot different in the next few years, as new STEM programs will begin to take shape. STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and math.

Two years ago, a task force was formed to take a look at STEM education in California schools. They came up with ideas, recommendations and what they hope will be a blueprint for great schools.

A class in robotics is typically taught outside of the classroom as an extracurricular activity, but California now wants to make it and other STEM programs a necessity.

The superintendent of schools presented his final STEM report at the San Francisco Exploratorium. The recommendations were given by 54 people who are teachers, school administrators, business leaders and lawmakers.

Among the recommendations were to increase the number of computers in the classroom and improve Internet capability. The money has been approved by the legislature.

"We have a billion and a quarter dollars last year and $400 million additional dollars this year to invest in Internet connectivity," State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson said.

Some of those dollars will also go toward training teachers to do more hands-on instruction.

Torlakson said the average California classroom will operate more like a college using more software applications. He said, "On Google docs, four students on a team can be working in the classroom simultaneously on the same document shaping the report and then at home or on the weekends they can continue their work and communicate with each other."

A key point in this report is the need to include businesses with the intention of eventually recruiting these students.

Linda Galliher from the Bay Area Council said, "Then if we reach out to schools and develop relationships with them, we bridge that gap and make it more robust."

For Kabrea Fields of San Francisco, being exposed to STEM programs at her school has made a difference in her life. She told ABC7 News, "It allows you to get more in touch with yourself because it's not just about making things, it allows you to think how you make something, how it is also going to contribute to the world."

The superintendent thinks most of these ideas can be implemented within the next five years.