Project Lead the Way, Leading on the Skills Gap

By July 3, 2007General

Well-deserved praise in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel for the Milwaukee Public Schools and Project Lead the Way, a national educational initiative that goes a long way in addressing the nation’s “skills gap.” From PLTW’s website:

PLTW has developed a four year sequence of courses which, when combined with college preparatory mathematics and science courses in high school, introduces students to the scope, rigor and discipline of engineering and engineering technology prior to entering college.

And from the Journal Sentinel’s editorial page:

In education these days, there is a lot of talk about the three R’s – rigor, relevance, relationships. Kids need to be challenged, they need to see what’s in it for them and they need solid mentoring.

And that’s why a national program that has put down solid roots in the Milwaukee area is such a good idea.

Project Lead The Way will be in 13 Milwaukee Public Schools this fall and will serve about 2,800 students. It’s a four-year sequence of courses, much of it hands-on, that introduces students to engineering and related careers. It relies heavily on business partners like Rockwell Automation in Milwaukee. Rockwell, the Kern Family Foundation and the Greater Milwaukee Foundation are the paying sponsors. But many other companies, including Badger Meter, are providing support in the classroom.

As they should….[snip]

MPS is getting this right. The MPS branch of Project Lead the Way has been nationally recognized for its efforts to bring the STEM disciplines – science, technology, engineering and math – to minority students and for offering bilingual classes for Spanish speakers. MPS received an award recently from the Public Policy Forum for its efforts.

“Especially for us in MPS, those are the jobs that lift our kids out of poverty,” says Lauren Baker, an MPS administrator responsible for the program. “We are really interested in making sure that our kids have those skills so that they can compete for those jobs.”

And Project Lead the Way is making a similar impact all across the country, from West Point, Mississippi, to Rochester, New York. Impressive work, all the way around.

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