Improving science and math education will help students have successful careers and benefit the regional economy, but the community will need to work together to achieve it, education leaders said.
More than 100 people are expected to gather today for a Metropolitan Toledo STEMM Education Summit to discuss coordinating education, business, and other community resources to improve math and science education in urban settings, such as Toledo.
STEMM stands for science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and medicine.
As Toledo's economy changes from industrial to careers in fields such as alternative energy and health care, education is increasingly necessary for high-paying jobs, said Charlene Czerniak, professor of science education at the University of Toledo.
"We know more than ever that science and mathematics and technology now are important for most jobs," she said. "It really has changed that we need to be more dependent on a knowledge-based economy."
UT's college of education, the UT3 program, which prepares and supports science and math teachers, and the Coalition for Advancing Teaching and Learning in STEMM, known as CATALyST, are coordinating the discussion of urban educational reform.
Today's summit is from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. in the Toledo Hilton Hotel, 3100 Glendale Ave.
Focus groups of educators, parents, business people, and others have met the last few months.
They looked at what they should continue doing, what's been done for generations that doesn't work, and what new ideas should be tackled, said Carla Johnson, associate professor of science education at UT and director of CATALyST.
Those discussions have been whittled to six areas of greatest need, including the placement and retention of teachers and strengthening community partnerships.
"We know what we want to work on, and at the summit we're going to figure out how we're going to work on that," Ms. Johnson said.
Steven Steel, president of the Toledo Board of Education, who plans to attend the summit, said it's important not to neglect liberal arts education, but coordinating science and math instruction throughout the community only can help children.
"The goal is to move away from the scattershot approach of you learn a little here and learn a little here and it will all fit together somehow," Mr. Steel said.
Ben Brown, vice president of Brooks Insurance Agency, who plans to attend the conference, said everyone should be concerned with local education.
Plans call for monthly updates of the action groups while they implement the changes discussed during the summit and for a similar event next year to evaluate progress, Ms. Johnson said.
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