Friday, June 12, 2009


Gov. Bill Ritter addressed a gathering of almost 200 education, business, and policy leaders in the State Capitol this morning during a launch event of the Colorado STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) Network, a math and science non-profit organization intended to highlight the importance of STEM fields and strengthen STEM education in Colorado.  Gov. Ritter was joined by STEM Network board members Gary Barbosa and Dr. Carole Basile, as well as Lt. Gov. Barbara O'Brien, Commission of Education Dwight Jones, and CU Denver chancellor M. Roy Wilson.


"I am thrilled to be here today to reflect on the impressive accomplishments we have made in STEM education, and to look ahead at the incredible opportunities before us," Gov. Ritter said.  "Bold reform is underway, and it's not enough for one organization to lead the charge.  All of us in this room — business leaders, educators, and advocates — must sustain the state's STEM agenda."


Gov. Ritter further stated the that case for STEM is apparent, saying one in four kids who start 9th grade do not graduate, two-thirds of high school graduates do not go on to college, one-third of college freshmen need remedial training, and commented that we are producing a generation of young people that will actually be less educated than their parents' generation.


"It is important the Colorado STEM Network continues to work with the bold reforms taking place," said Lt. Gov. Barbara O'Brien.  "With the help of STEM, a foundation is set to allow our Race to the Top effort to get under way.  Because of the work already provided by STEM initiatives and the Department of Education, Colorado is in a good position to compete for Race to the Top funds."


Two years ago, Colorado was one of six states selected to receive a grant from the National Governors Association, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and the Intel Corporation to create STEM education initiatives in their states. With the help the University of Colorado Denver, Colorado was able to submit a proposal that outlined two chief priorities: to create a sustainable, influential P-20 Council, and to create a network of "grassroots-level" STEM compacts, or regional organizations.