The Wasted opportunity to improve STEM

The White House has announced the 85 names of Outstanding Math and Science Teachers! Yes! This is wonderful.

No it isn't.

What it really is — a missed opportunity to truly improve STEM education by networking. By letting you SEE what they are doing.

What they should have included? 

  1. A twitter list of those who twitter. Already made for you.
  2. Every name should be hyperlinked. Every name. We should be able to find their school and information and even their classroom without having to search.
  3. Links to their application and portfolio.
  4. An RSS feed that allows you to follow all of them with a click whether through a reader or something like Flipboard.

Dead Links Kill Progress
As it is, this lovely press release which is making the rounds is dead.

It is a list of names of living breathing teachers doing amazing work but dead because it has no living hyperlinks to enrich us.

I should think better coming from an administration that is so tech savvy.

And yes, I teach my students about dead text. Dead text where it should have useful, contextual links is irritating and rude. This list BEGS for more. As a matter of practice, all lists of people should include hyperlinks.

That is, of course, a person doesn't want to have a link and chooses to opt out.

Awards should be intended to reward best practice and disseminate it further.

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7 thoughts on “The Wasted opportunity to improve STEM

  1. Although the White House doesn’t do any of the networking you’re calling for, the organizations for recipients more than pick up the slack. I’ve been a member of the Council of Presidential Awardees in Mathematics since it were formed back in the 80’s and they are very active in connecting members to each other and to the larger community of educators teaching math. I’m not as familiar with the equivalent group in science but I have heard they are doing similar work.

    Frankly, I think it’s better that this kind of work comes from the grassroots rather than from the government. That’s the only way to achieve lasting change.

  2. Of course it comes from the grassroots! It is great to hear from you!

    The point remains that to get a hyperlink from each recipient during the applications process would be simple and should be a standard Pr practice. Many of us aren’t part of those organizations and should be able to easily follow the work of these amazing educators. I bet this one press release receives a lot of hits. The hyperlinks alone to the blogs of recipients would increase their authority on the web and be a gift in themselves.

    So, even if you are doing great work, the missed opportunity is still there! This is STEM and a press release about it should exemplify the “T.”

    Vicki Davis
    Sent from my iPad

  3.  I think there are significant benefits to STEM.  However, politicians and CEOs have trouble putting their money where their mouths are.  The ongoing reduction in education funding at the state and federal levels are prime examples.  We have had some outstanding academic success in my diverse high school.  I recently wrote an open letter to Secretary Duncan about this (see link below).  Many of the programs mentioned in the letter will be impacted by the reduction of Perkins funding. (

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