As educators, we often joke about our wide use of acronyms in our daily speak. So ingrained is their usage in education that conversations consisting solely of acronyms are entirely possible.
“NCLB has AYP which is based on FCAT.
“FCAT 2.0 is based on the NGSSS, which helps in AP, IB and CTE preparedness.”
“The FCS has launched PERT, which replaces the CPT.”
But as confusing as this type of talk might be, these acronyms have great purpose and meaning behind them, helping to define our core mission as educators. An example of this is clearly represented in a very critical acronym that has huge implications on our nation’s standing and the ability of our children to compete with their global peers. Known as STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics), this grouping of subject fields represents the pinnacle of opportunity in today’s world.
At this very moment, the success of our economy remains dependent on our ability to produce a workforce skilled in these subject areas. Consequences for failure are simple – lost prosperity, lost world standing and lost opportunity for future generations of Americans. The good news is that we are uniquely aware of this need and our state and our country are taking steps meet it. Just a few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to recognize outstanding high school juniors in our state who are focusing their efforts on these critical fields of study, and I am hopeful that our efforts to recruit them to a Florida postsecondary institution will create untold personal success for them and a lasting benefit to our own state’s economy.
Additionally, our new mathematics Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT 2.0) and the new Algebra 1 End of Course (EOC) exam will go a long way in ensuring our students leave school prepared for the competitive world they face. These new assessments are based on a whole new set of next generation curriculum standards that avoid the “mile-wide, inch deep” standards of yesteryear. These improvements will span to other STEM fields in the coming years as science FCAT 2.0 is introduced and more EOCs are developed for other core subjects.
And in April, middle school students will have another opportunity to hear directly from professionals across the nation who work in these STEM fields during our Second Annual STEM Virtual Career Fair. What better way to learn than to experience first-hand from experts who have gone through the educational process and are now living and breathing their school experiences in their everyday jobs?
So the next time you hear an educational acronym tossed your way feel free to scratch your head and chuckle a little bit, as long as you take the effort to ask what it means. After all, it might just be one of the most important things going on in education today.