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Begich to Introduce “STEM” Education Legislation

Address to Society for Technology in Education highlights priority

In his ongoing effort to overhaul the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) and better prepare Alaska's students for the future, U.S. Sen. Mark Begich today announced he is reintroducing his education legislation designed to promote science, technology, engineering, and math. Speaking to the Alaska Society for Technology in Education (ASTE), at the Hotel Captain Cook in Anchorage, Begich emphasized NCLB does not work for Alaska.

"The one-size fits all model of No Child Left Behind needs to be overhauled," Begich said. "In too many cases it has tied teachers' and principals' hands and punished schools when they needed help the most."

In speaking to the conference, Begich announced the reintroduction of The Effective STEM Teaching and Learning Act (STEM). Designed to prepare American students for a global economy the STEM Act establishes competitive grants to help states develop comprehensive STEM strategies. Only 16% of America's undergraduate degrees are in STEM-related fields, which compares poorly to other nations: China 52 %, Japan 64%, South Korea 41%.

"Graduating from high school prepared for college and careers in this new economy means having a solid grounding in STEM," Begich said. "But those subjects are not just for future scientists and engineers. A STEM education is essential preparation for all students - in order to help them succeed and keep our nation competitive."

Begich also emphasized the need to bring high speed broadband to all of Alaska's schools, saying we must be able to connect both at school and in our homes to assist our children's educational experience. Begich said he is a co-sponsor of the E-Rate program which is the discount that schools and libraries will receive for the acquisition of telecommunication services.

ASTE is an affiliate of the International Society for Technology in Education organization, which is the premier organization supporting schools around the world in using technology as a teaching and learning tool. ASTE carried Sen. Begich's speech live on its website at http://aste.org.

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