Re the Dec. 4 article Florida students below global peers in math, science: Education is critical to the future success of our children and, ultimately, our economy. According to the recently released 2012 Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) results, Florida students scored lower than their international peers in math and science. An additional report by the Florida Board of Governors shows that Florida’s universities are producing merely half of the STEM graduates (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) necessary to satisfy the demand of job growth in the next decade. These reports highlight the continued need to focus on improving Florida’s K-12 education system, specifically in the subjects of math and science.
The ScienceMathMaster training program, a partnership between the University of Tampa and many rural districts around the state, attempts to bridge this gap in Florida classrooms. The program is founded on the idea that more knowledgeable teachers will lead to better-educated students. ScienceMathMaster uses a variety of techniques, including face-to-face workshops, online lesson plans and curriculum resources available at no cost 24 hours a day to provide educators with an opportunity to increase their subject knowledge and hone their teaching methods. The partnership provides online materials for teachers statewide. The website is always available and includes videos, coursework examples, and demonstration ideas.
Professional development programs like ScienceMathMaster strengthen Florida’s education system and build a vested interest in the future success of science- and technology-based industry in our state. We need more consistent focus on these areas of education to remain globally competitive.
Ed Moore, president and CEO, Independent Colleges and Universities of Florida, Tallahassee