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Utah Governor Promotes 'STEM' Education in Address

Proponents of enhancing "STEM" education have a new ally in the ranks of the nation's governors, it seems.

In his very first State of the State address, Gov. Gary R. Herbert of Utah last night vowed to "protect" public education funding from cuts amid the difficult budgetary times, and made a special plea to residents of the Beehive State to join him in promoting STEM education.

As is often the case with politicians, the Republican leader wrapped his call in the language of "global" competition.

"We owe it to our students, and to the future of our state, to provide an education that prepares our youth to compete in the global marketplace," said Herbert, who took office last August after his predecessor, Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr., resigned to become the U.S. ambassador to China. "This will not happen, however, without renewed and sustained emphasis in the areas of science, technology, engineering, and math. Indeed, many of the jobs available today—and those our students will seek in the future—already require these skills."

He added: "I call upon students, caregivers, parents, educators, and business leaders to join me in addressing the critical need to immerse our students in these fields of study."

Of course, promoting STEM education is by no means a partisan affair. President Obama has been talking about the issue lately. It'll be interesting to see if it earns a spot in his State of the Union speech later this evening.

UPDATE: Yes, indeed, President Obama did reference math and science education in his State of the Union address (though he avoided the beloved STEM acronym). In highlighting the Race to the Top initiative, he noted, among other things, that the federal competition "inspires students to excel in math and science." He also praised China, Germany, and India for "putting more emphasis on math and science."

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