State of Wisconsin
Department of Public Instruction
Elizabeth Burmaster, State Superintendent
**** GUEST EDITORIAL ****
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE DPI 2008-01
Thursday, January 3, 2008
CONTACT: Patrick Gasper, Communications Officer, (608) 266-3559
Students need high quality STEM instruction
by State Superintendent Elizabeth Burmaster
Our students need quality instruction in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics
Data collected by state officials reveals that many of Wisconsin’s fastest‐growing careers, from
health care to software engineering, require training in the STEM fields. This echoes findings of
numerous researchers in recent decades. To be forward looking, and to effectively prepare our students
for life after high school, our public education system must take the lead.
The current state budget includes funding for my initiative to enhance STEM education in
Wisconsin through innovative instruction and efforts that close the participation and achievement gaps
between students of color, economically disadvantaged students, and their peers.
We are inviting school districts to apply for this funding through competitive grants that will
support work being done between March and June of this year. The funded programs will work directly
with students to increase their academic achievement in STEM.
Equally important to our students is that they be recognized for the STEM learning they have
already acquired. With the help of a statewide task force, the Department of Public Instruction has
implemented a new process to certify science‐rich agriculture courses as equivalent to science credits for
the purpose of college admissions. We are successfully working with Wisconsin campuses to ensure this
equivalency will be widely accepted. By making sure our students get appropriate credit for their STEM
training, we are helping them leverage that base of knowledge for a wider range of future possibilities.
The engineering curriculum Project Lead the Way is expanding in middle and high schools. With
state leadership provided by the Kern Family Foundation and the DPI, this exciting program prepares
middle and high school students for careers in the technical, high wage sector of engineering and
The DPI also awards Mathematics and Science Partnership Grants. Schools use the grants to raise
student achievement in STEM, by ensuring that instructors in STEM subjects receive high quality, up to
date training through partnerships with higher education institutions.
Programs like these will provide students with tools for success in today’s world. And, we must,
as a state, continue to work for new and innovative ways to promote science, technology, engineering,
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 7841, Madison, WI 53707-7841 • Street Address: 125 South Webster Street, Madison, WI 53703
Telephone: (608) 266-3390 • Toll Free: (800) 441-4563 • FAX: (608) 267-1052 • TDD: (608) 267-2427 • Internet Address: dpi.wi.gov
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and mathematics education. Undeniably, this is an integral component in preparing our students for
further studies and the 21st century workplace.
Elizabeth Burmaster is the elected state superintendent of public instruction.
NOTE: This news release is available electronically at http://dpi.wi.gov/eis/pdf/dpi2008_01.pdf.