Students who find themselves experimenting with smartphone apps, tinkering with software design or developing new ways to recycle will soon have the chance to test their innovation on a national scale.
On Thursday, House Administration Chairman Candice Miller, who represents Michigan's 10th congressional district, including Shelby Township, and Ranking Member Robert Brady (D-PA) announced a bipartisan committee initiative to establish an academic competition that promotes innovation among students in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields.
The competition will be modeled after the Congressional Art Competition, which allows students to submit various artworks to their respective House representatives for consideration. Winners are recognized in their district and at an annual awards ceremony in Washington, D.C. and their works are displayed for one year at the U.S. Capitol.
"Today’s global economy is increasingly reliant on STEM research and innovation," Miller and Brady said in a joint statement. "Unfortunately, fewer than one-third of eighth graders in the U.S. are proficient in science and mathematics and only nine states allow computer science courses to count towards graduation requirements."
According to recently released 2012 MEAP results, Utica Community Schools saw its greatest gains in third and fifth-grade math, where the number of proficient students climbed more than 10 percentage points and far outpaced the state average. However, science scores continued to be the district's weak spot, with fifth and eighth-grade scores dropping slightly from 2011, although they remained significantly above state averages.
- See a breakdown of results by grade and subject
"If America wants to remain competitive in this field, we must encourage and embrace innovation, which is why we are proud to announce the bipartisan academic competition," the representatives' statement continued. "Encouraging greater innovation and participation in STEM fields will help our students and our nation succeed in the future.
“We want to thank House Leadership for their support with this important initiative and look forward to the opportunity to bring this bipartisan resolution before the House.”