On February 13th, new Tennessee Gov Bill Lee, announced several initiatives regarding education, which immediately begs the following questions. Should our state be funding initiatives that treat man made climate change as fact? Do we want high school students in Tennessee to be focused on how to reduce their carbon footprint?
Do we really need to start pushing STEM and computer literacy in kindergarten?
Should our state voluntarily follow federal guidelines and partner with private organizations that work from the assumption that females and minorities deserve special attention rather than treating all of our students equally?
Is there any facet of education that has not been affected by political correctness?
Apparently not and this includes STEM education in Tennessee. STEM is an acronym for Science,Technology, Engineering & Math.
And the answers to the questions above appear to be “yes” based on a recent proposal by the Lee administration.
Also on February 13, Gov Lee declared the Future Workforce Initiative that will increase STEM, (Science,Technology,Engineering& Math), training in K-12 schools as part of his first year legislative agenda. He will be requesting $4 million from the legislature for implementation.
A big part of that focus will be on computer science. On that topic Governor Lee stated “By exposing Tennessee students to computer science in their K-12 careers we are ensuring our kids have every chance to land a high-quality job.”
To better understand this, the following link provides great insight. https://www.tn.gov/governor/news/2019/2/13/gov-bill-lee-announces-the-future-workforce-initiative.html
This initiative, or in politician language “investment”, supports the Tennessee Department of Education’s “Tennessee Pathways” Certification process, as well as the STEM School Designation partnership with groups like Tennessee STEM Innovation Network and Code.org
In 2010, the Tennessee Department of Education partnered with Battelle to launch the Tennessee STEM Innovation Network. The Network utilizes Regional STEM Innovation Hubs and STEM Designated Schools across Tennessee in an attempt to attract student interest. Battelle recently completed a carbon storage project.https://www.battelle.org/case-studies/case-study-detail/battelle-successfully-completes-carbon-storage-project
Tennessee Pathways was launched last year by then Governor Haslam and Commissioner McQueen as part of the Drive to 55. According to the state web site The Tennessee Pathways Certification recognizes high schools
that have developed clear and guided pathways for their students that are built upon partnerships among K-12, post-secondary education, and employers. https://www.tn.gov/education/pathwaystn/pathways-certification.html
Wonder if that has anything to do with the Network’s emphasis on climate change and encouraging students in Tennessee to reduce their carbon footprint? Or maybe the are they just following the Tennessee Academic Standards for Science Connection. ( Humans Impact Climate by Way of the Carbon Cycle) which can be found on this link: http://www.tvastem.com/pbl/human-impact/)
These ready-made STEM project-based learning modules were created in partnership with the TVA (Tennessee Valley Authority) and TSIN all about electricity and energy. These PBLs (Problem Based Learning) were created by teachers, for teachers, in line and with the latest state standards. More information can be found by
clicking this link https://www.tsin.org/energy-pbl-module
While there is certainly nothing wrong per se with teaching our kids computer science or STEM, that can and should be done without perpetuating the man made climate change mantra that is the basis for AOC, ( Alexandria Ocasio Cortez) level insanity such as the Green New Deal!
Another issue of concern is the “kindergarten to jobs” theme found on the Tennessee Stem Innovation Network site, ( https://www.tsin.org/mision-and-vision ) especially since the new federal STEM 5 year strategic plan, released December 4, 2018 also references K-12 responsibilities and similar language. https://www.whitehouse.gov/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/STEM-Education-Strategic-Plan-2018.pdf
This author personally contacted the Tennessee Stem Innovation Network interim director last week and asked if our state STEM program was federally funded and was told that it was state funded but there were some federal grants available. I asked if Tennessee intended to follow the federal Stem Education Strategic Plan and was told yes and that the intention was to merge the state plan with the federal as well as with another from the US State Department. I have yet to find a strategic plan on the State Dept site but what I found in the federal plan is bad enough! The number of federal agencies involved in this plan should be of concern to everyone!
Coming up in part two, some examples from the introduction and the Executive Summary that show the federal governments intent to be heavily involved in STEM and how they intend to use grants to
further their objectives.