Stark County's Focus on Math and Science Education Drives College Plans
"...we are arguably producing too few college STEM majors. If the global competitiveness race turns into a numbers game, we're in trouble absent dramatic improvements..." - Andrew J. Rotherham, TIME U.S.
In the midst of magazine articles and major national reports calling for more science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) majors, Stark County's ongoing focus on math and science education is paying dividends.
Forty percent of the 3,279 Stark students taking the ACT test in 2011 say they plan to major in STEM related disciplines in college. Latest national estimates are about 15%. Stark's top choices are:
Stark's county-wide focus began in 1992 when the Stark Education Partnership formed a Math and Science Working Council that later secured a $3 million dollar National Science Foundation (NSF) grant for elementary science.
This was followed by the development of the SAMM Program initiated by the Timken Foundation that continues to provide high tech science equipment to Stark's school districts.
Two successive NSF grants of $8.5 million to the Stark County Educational Service Center for middle school and high school math and science have also brought on board the county's higher education institutions and further enhanced teacher training. Local matches for these initiatives have been met by the districts themselves and the Paul and Carol David, Deuble, Hoover, H.W. Hoover, Stark Community and Timken Foundations.