Legislator: Michigan must implement more computer science standards
State Rep. Brad Paquette, of Niles, has introduced a resolution declaring this week as S.T.E.M. Awareness Week in the state of Michigan.
S.T.E.M. education refers to the areas of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, which Rep. Paquette called “critical drivers” in today’s economy. S.T.E.M. education encourages students to learn with hands-on experiences, thinking critically and providing solutions that drive healthy, thriving communities.
Studies show that participating in S.T.E.M. activities increases engagement in education, promotes equity, supports literacy development, and fosters technologically adept and empowered students.
S.T.E.M. occupations are among the highest paying, fastest growing, and most influential in driving economic growth and innovation.
“If Michigan students become inspired by S.T.E.M. learning at an early age, they will be more likely to enter those growing career fields when they graduate,” said Rep. Paquette, a former educator at Niles New Tech within Niles High School. “S.T.E.M. education ensures our state’s workforce will be equipped for the jobs of tomorrow.”
Rep. Paquette also said computer science courses teach students to learn new approaches to problem solving, harness the power of computational thinking, and create, not just consume, technology.
“Currently only 35 percent of high schools nationally offer computer science, yet 90 percent of parents want their children to have access to computer science learning opportunities,” Rep. Paquette said. “The adoption of K-12 computer science standards is critical so that our students are competitive regionally, nationally and globally. Michigan has a unique history in chemistry, manufacturing, automation and innovation, which provides us an opportunity to light the way for our future in computational thinking by adopting and implementing computer science standards in our state.”
Rep. Paquette serves as vice chair of the House Education Committee and recently voted in support of legislation to update Michigan’s curriculum standards allowing students the opportunity to learn computer science or coding.
“The world is changing and our curriculum standards must keep up to remain beneficial to our students,” Rep. Paquette said. “I’m thrilled to support this plan and look forward to further steps we can take to provide our students with greater access to S.T.E.M. education.”
House Resolution 96 was adopted with overwhelming support.