Merkley Unveils Legislation to Promote Education in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)

Portland, OR – Oregon’s Senator Jeff Merkley today visited Hillsboro High School to announce his education legislation designed to increase student access to courses in STEM education subjects and provide additional resources to recruit, train, and support teachers of these subjects.

“Standing here in the heart of the Silicon Forest with all this science and technology surrounding us is a reminder of the importance of STEM education to the global economy and what kind of role we’re going to play in it,” said Merkley. “The link between STEM education and the future of America’s competitiveness is why I will be introducing legislation that makes STEM education a key component of our nation’s education policy.”

The legislation that Senator Merkley unveiled today will help improve student achievement in STEM education by improving instruction in STEM subjects. The legislation aims to:

  • Improve student engagement in, and increase student access to, courses in STEM subjects;
  • Recruit, train, and support highly-qualified and highly-effective teachers in STEM subjects;
  • Close student achievement gaps, and prepare more students to be on track to college and career readiness and success in these subjects.

Senator Merkley was joined at today’s event by Morgan Anderson from Intel and Savannah Loberger, a junior at Hillsboro High School who organized an all-girls summer technology camp to teach young girls about science and technology subjects and interest them in taking more science and math classes or participating in afterschool STEM activities. Don Domes, a Hillsboro High School engineering and technology teacher, was also on hand today to talk about the importance of STEM education and the work that Hillsboro School District is doing to encourage kids to pursue STEM subjects.

“If you look at high schools in 1961 and you look at high schools in 2011 you will see predominately similar programs over the last 50 years.  If you look at the town of Hillsboro, Oregon in 1961 and you look at Hillsboro, Oregon in 2011 you will see enormous change,” said engineering and technology teacher Don Domes. “The need for our students to be able to compete in the global economy requires more emphasis on STEM education.”

Merkley said that he has discussed the legislation with Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Chairman Tom Harkin (D-IA), and will seek to include the bill in the committee’s re-write of the No Child Left Behind Act later this year.