CCST, CSUSB Lead STEM Task Force
Herb Brunkhorst, CSUSB, co-chairs the STEM Task Force with CCST
Executive Director Susan Hackwood.
CCST Executive Director Susan Hackwood is co-chairing the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Task Force force with Herb Brunkhorst, Chair of the
Department of Science, Mathematics, and Technology Education at California State University, San
Bernardino, in a bid to develop a blueprint on how to improve teaching, learning, and equal access
to STEM-related courses and careers for students in kindergarten through grade twelve. The resultant
blueprint will include career technical education, and newly developed national Common Core State Standards
and Next Generation Science Standards.
"This is a project aimed at providing a practical framework for the state to operate in," said
Brunkhorst. "What should STEM education look like? What resources are available? How does
professional development fit in? What model programs are out there that can be emulated? There are
many questions we hope to answer."
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson, working with Assemblymember Susan Bonilla, created the STEM Task Force to look at
how to improve learning and engage more students in scientific and technical fields, widely
considered a key to the state's economic future.
"California has always led the way in science and technology - and our future success depends on
fostering an interest in these fields among our students," Torlakson said. "Our classrooms are
filled with the leaders of tomorrow, and we need to give them every opportunity to reach their
"The state has long had a vested interest in science and math education," said Hackwood. "STEM is
a unifying framework which is frequently referenced, but rarely defined in terms useful to K-12
The task force includes over fifty experts from a wide range of stakeholders including teachers,
business, industry, legislative staff, and university academics, divided into five subgroups
examining specific areas such as curriculum and assessments.
Other task forces are examining technology in education and teaching and learning; all three are
expected to complete their work by the end of the year.
The work of the STEM Task Force complements CCST's ongoing work on digitally enhanced education,
which was identified as a key element of California's innovation infrastructure in CCST's 2011
Innovate to Innovation study. CCST has produced two white papers on digital education in 2012
and has a third in production, which have served to inform the digital education initiative being
pursued by the California Teacher Advisory Council (Cal TAC).
"Ultimately we are looking at developing an integrated vision of a 21st century school system
which encompasses every aspect of STEM, including the digitally enhanced education environment that
will allow us to improve teaching, learning, and provide equal access to STEM-related courses and
careers for students in kindergarten through grade twelve," said Brunkhorst.
CCST Spotlight is a weekly
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and technology research, applications, and policy issues in California.
The Spotlight editor is Danny DeCillis.
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