afterschool or informal programs into separate sectors risks “soiling” those efforts from formal education, he said.
Bevan pointed to the importance of funders, noting that the convocation marked the first time that multiple funders with an interest in the issue had gotten involved in the conversation. “That’s really important and exciting,” she said.
Martin Storksdieck, a staff member at the National Research Council, emphasized the importance of including policy makers in the conversation. Private funders are important, but they cannot fund the entire agenda themselves. One way to involve policy makers is to link STEM education to other objectives, such as healthy and livable communities, he said. On that note, Honey pointed to the formation in Congress of a bipartisan STEAM caucus—for science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and design/art—that shares the same concerns as the people at the convocation.1
Finally, Storksdieck pointed to the analogy between learning systems and the United Nations’ Agenda 21 action plan,2 which has been ongoing for more than two decades. This movement has produced considerable experience with changing complex systems that could benefit educators and education policy makers.
The critical importance of teachers and other educators was another major topic of participants’ comments.
Joan Bissell, director of teacher education and public school programs in the California State University Chancellor’s Office, urged that pre-service internship placements in an informal science environment or an afterschool environment become the norm. “That’s something we can do institutionally, but it also requires changes in the way certification agencies consider field experiences and clinical placement,” she said. In addition, it requires that experts in informal and afterschool science join university faculties in clinical positions. “That’s a major transformation,” she said, “and it recognizes that expertise resides in many individuals.”
Frank Pisi, director of the California AfterSchool Network, noted that the network focuses on joint professional development between school-day and expanded learning programs. The network also can influence school board members and superintendents, creating a consistent mes-
1More information is available at http://stemtosteam.org/events/congressional-steam-caucus [June 2014].
2More information is available at http://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/index.php?page=view&nr=23&type=400 [June 2014].