All Maryland high school graduates would be prepared for college-level math and science courses, and the state’s universities would triple their production of teachers in those fields, under a five-year, $72 million plan unveiled Aug. 6 by a state task force appointed by Gov. Martin O’Malley, reports the Baltimore Sun. The plan also calls for a 40-percent increase in the number of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) graduates produced by state universities and for a sweeping effort to convert research and development into job-producing industry. "Our goal should be to make Maryland no less than the Silicon Valley of the 21st century," said William E. Kirwan, chancellor of the state university system and co-chairman of the task force. O’Malley convened the panel last year in hopes of receiving a plan for keeping Maryland’s work force competitive in a global economy. The report recommends new university programs to recruit and certify STEM teachers, the development of economic incentives for those teachers, and administrative support programs to help keep them in their jobs. It also recommends a summer fellowship program for STEM teachers, a task force to update standards for preparing STEM teachers, and the certification of math and science specialists at lower grade levels. That last piece is important, because many students–especially girls and minorities–become discouraged with math and science as early as elementary school…

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