On Thursday, April 27, the Louisiana senators of the Education Committee discussed plans to form a Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics council in Louisiana school systems that will create different STEM programs across Louisiana.
The proposed council would consist of 29 members that managed the finances related to the STEM programs, create an high school diploma endorsement for students involved in STEM, and spreading awareness towards career paths in STEM.
The bill was supported fully, with no disapproval. Over 15 education and STEM representatives came to the meeting to give the bill their green cards.
“You bring a bill that will bring everybody together. We need more of those as we move education forward, but the stakeholders in the room realize how important this is,” said committee member Senator Gerald Boudreaux.
Senator Sharon Hewitt began her presentation of the bill with a video called, “Not Just a Robot.” The video was narrated by a elementary school girl who explained that technology is not just a robot, but the future.
As a mechanical engineer from LSU, Hewitt proposed the bill with a desire to increase the percentage of women in STEM.
She provided statistics of the women who were interested in STEM and how many of those women pursue a degree in the field. According to Hewitt, the percentage of women in STEM has decrease and is lower than the national average. Only 10% of women graduate with a degree in the STEM program.
She also mentioned that 52% of Louisiana students are interested in STEM, but only 14% was stem ready based on their ACT score.
“I just see a need for us to continue to develop STEM graduates because the more graduates that we have and the more able-workforce we have, the more those same kind of industries want to come to our state,” said Hewitt.
The council would be funded through private companies that supported the bill.