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Photo Gallery | California STEM Summit Draws Business, Education, Policy and Philanthropic Leaders

With California in peril of losing its economic competitiveness due to the state’s lagging science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education achievement, California Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson and the California STEM Learning Network (CSLNet) convened an all-star roster of business, government, education, nonprofit and philanthrophic leaders from across the state to launch groundbreaking STEM education initiatives at the California STEM Summit 2011 (http://castemsummit.com) on October 10 and 11 at the U.C. Davis Conference Center in Davis, California.

The California STEM Summit, which is presented by Chevron, featured speakers from leading businesses such as Pixar Studios, Hewlett-Packard and Raytheon; the California Department of Education; UC, CSU and community college systems; nonprofits such as the George Lucas Foundation, the Exploratorium and the Silicon Valley Education Foundation; and policy makers including Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom, Superintendent Torlakson and State Board of Education President Mike Kirst.

Google kicked off the Summit by hosting an exclusive seminar and demo unveiling innovative approaches to integrating its cutting-edge technology and tools into the 21st century classroom. A handpicked group of star STEM students showcased their award-winning innovations at a STEM Student Showcase and reception on Monday evening, October 10 and served as ambassadors for the Summit.

“California has always led the way in science and technology, and we cannot afford to lose our edge in this competitive world,” noted Superintendent Torlakson. “STEM education – science, technology, engineering and mathematics – is the key to the success of California’s students and the future of our state. That’s why it is so important to bring business, education, government and civic leaders together at the California STEM summit.”

The California STEM Summit aims to change the trajectory of STEM education and workforce development in California.  At the Summit, a number of new public-private partnerships will be announced to bolster K – 14 STEM education and ensure that all California students receive a world-class STEM education that prepares them for success in postsecondary education, the workforce and their daily lives. 

“The education system that once helped propel California’s innovation-based economy needs to be jumpstarted,” said Chris Roe, California STEM Learning Network CEO. “The California STEM Summit is designed to launch critically-needed initiatives that will catalyze STEM education and prepare our workforce so California can maintain its position as a global leader in the 21st century. These new efforts will provide all California students with STEM experience and skills that are increasingly necessary for careers in California’s innovation-based economy and essential for an educated citizenry.”

In the wake of years of severe budget cuts to education, California now lags other states in math and science proficiency, with significant achievement and opportunity gaps among many California students. While California’s education system used to be among the nation’s best, it now ranks 43rd or lower among all states in math and science proficiency in grades 4 and 8. With over 1 million estimated STEM jobs, California has more than 13% of the nation’s overall STEM-related workforce. Despite record unemployment, however, some California employers report being unable to find qualified candidates in science, technology, engineering and math. 

More about the California STEM Summit is at: http://castemsummit.com.

About the California STEM Learning Network (CSLNet) (www.cslnet.org)

The California STEM Learning Network (CSLNet) is a nonprofit organization working to catalyze innovation in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) teaching and learning in California. CSLNet’s mission is to build a network of educators, business leaders and other stakeholders committed to establishing the world’s best STEM education system so that all California students will graduate from high school with the STEM knowledge and skills required for success in postsecondary education, work and their daily lives, and that more students pursue STEM careers and degrees. Founded in 2010, CSLNet is building California’s first statewide network focused on transforming STEM education by fostering innovation and collaboration, accelerating student outcomes in STEM and ensuring that the state’s STEM education system meets the needs of its workforce.  CSLNet is connecting and leveraging California’s numerous and unique assets to advance STEM education statewide by bringing together a diverse set of leaders and stakeholders – from formal education (schools, colleges and universities) to informal education (science museums, libraries, media), business and industry, policy, research and philanthropy – to foster innovation and help scale and sustain effective STEM teaching and learning in and out of school for all students. CSLNet’s vision is that all students in California have access to and obtain the STEM knowledge and skills required for success in postsecondary education, work and their daily lives.

Source: Deborah Schneider, Communications Strategies for Changemakers

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