Magazine article District Administration

Education Empowers Opportunity: Educators Need to Embrace STEM, AP and Professional Learning to Help Students Succeed

Magazine article District Administration

Education Empowers Opportunity: Educators Need to Embrace STEM, AP and Professional Learning to Help Students Succeed

Article excerpt

Q&A with Bernard A. Harris Jr., CEO, National Math and Science Initiative

NMSI's mantra is that education empowers opportunity. How have you experienced that?

During speeches, I say, "As I stand before you, I stand as a physician, as an astronaut and as a businessman. All of that was empowered by education." When I was 13,1 saw Neil and Buzz land on the moon. It became my dream to follow in their footsteps. So I became a pre-med student and did a Mayo Clinic residency in internal medicine. This became the foundation to support my fellowship at NASA studying space medicine. In 1990, I joined the astronaut corps, wherein I spent 10 years at NASA and flew two missions. I utilized this to become a business investor in telemedicine.

How does STEM education fit into this construct?

It is NMSI's staple. In this day and age, if you are not educated in at least basic STEM skills, you will have a much more difficult time finding a well-paying job. If you look at companies like Google and Twitter, they are based in tech. In order to ensure this nation's future, we must properly prepare our children for a future in which technology is the foundation of the economy.

Why is accessibility to AP so crucial?

College presidents will say that a big issue in higher ed is that many incoming students are not prepared. This speaks to how we are educating high school students. AP and college-prep courses prepare them for the rigor of college. Additionally, we used to measure college graduation rates in four years. …

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