Governor, coalition push science-education center

July 21, 2008

By hammersmith

[Source: Scott Wong, Arizona Republic] — Gov. Janet Napolitano took another step to boost the number of math and science teachers in Arizona, which political and business leaders see as a critical step toward diversifying the state’s housing-based economy. Napolitano told education leaders gathered at a Capitol news conference that she is teaming with a coalition of private and public partners to create the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Education Center.

STEM will be housed in downtown Phoenix non-profit Science Foundation Arizona. Its goals are to promote teacher recruitment, training and retention, generate interest in math and science among preschool through high-school students, and encourage college students to pursue degrees in related fields. The governor appointed her policy adviser for higher education and the economy, Darcy Renfro, as the executive director of the center. “It’s all about making sure our students are educated in such a fashion that they are able to succeed,” Napolitano said.

That message resonated with Phoenix-based Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc., the world’s largest publicly owned copper producer, which donated $1.5 million to help launch STEM. The seed money, along with $100,000 from the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community, will finance the center’s operations over the next three years. [Note: To read the full article, click here.]