Members of the House and Senate Education Committees learned more about the FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) organization today. FIRST advocates were on hand to ask lawmakers to ensure Idaho students have an equal footing in becoming future science and technology leaders. They specifically requested funding to allow students to compete in FIRST programs, ensure FIRST is recognized as a PTE Student Organization, support for an Idaho FIRST regional competition, and develop a grant program that will ensure continued support and growth for the program.
Lawmakers learned that FIRST alumni are 50% more likely to go on to college and twice as likely to pursue engineering and other STEM careers. Children ages 6 through high school can take part in the FIRST program by joining a FIRST team in their area; there are currently a dozen Idaho high school teams competing. Several current FIRST team members and one FIRST alumna shared their passion for the FIRST program with legislators.
Education Committee members also began reviewing a packet of rules governing K-12 and higher education on Monday. Committee members were informed last week that the SBE rule regarding Tiered Certification, a rule requiring students to successfully pass the SBAC in order to graduate, and a rule outlining the collection of student data would not be considered until after all other rules had been reviewed.
As we honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.-Idaho Human Rights Day, we remember his words, “Education must enable one to sift and weigh evidence, to discern the true from the false, the real from the unreal, and the facts from the fiction. The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically.”—Martin Luther King Jr.