Twenty-six companies, including ExxonMobil, Intel Corp., and Time Warner Cable, have signed a pledge stating they will help advance STEM education and advocate for the Common Core State Standards and the Next Generation Science Standards.
The pledge was unveiled May 16 at a two-day summit in Arlington, Va., where company representatives and STEM program leaders gathered to discuss the role of businesses in supporting education in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
[UPDATE (11:30 a.m.): Vice President Joe Biden stopped by to thank the summit participants for their work advancing STEM. "Many of you have been leaders in supporting STEM education for years, but the fact that you have come together ... is a game changer," he said. Biden praised the 26 signatories for putting their "name on the line for commitment to STEM," and urged them to continue pushing for policy changes. "There's nothing as effective as a leading CEO in that state calling the governor ... [and saying,] 'Hey, gov, Why is your state one of the 30 that doesn't allow computer science to count toward graduation?"]
The summit was hosted by Change the Equation, a Washington-based coalition of business leaders promoting STEM education.
In signing the pledge, the companies agree that they "believe in the transformative power" of the common core and and Next Generation Science Standards. The document also says: "We will join other organizations in advocating for these standards and the resources and support schools, communities, and young people need to meet them."
The pledge is notable given the increasingly heated controversy surrounding the common-core standards, which cover math and English/language arts. In March, Indiana formally reversed its adoption of the standardsthough the standards it adopted in place draw heavily on the common core. As my college Andrew Ujifusa reported, lawmakers in about 15 states have introduced legislation during their current sessions to repeal or replace the standards. Common-core opponentsand supportersnow sit on both sides of the aisle. The current number of adoption states is 45 plus the District of Columbia.
The Next Generation Science Standards, which 11 states and the District of Columbia have adopted since they were finalized a year ago, have received less pushback so farthough Wyoming and South Carolina have both blocked adoption and some experts say there is more backlash to come.
Even so, the corporations' willingness to sign the pledge is not entirely surprising. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Business Roundtable have been vocal supporters of the common standards. State chambers of commerce have largely backed the standards as well.
The pledge also states that the businesses agree to collaborate with each other "to bring strong STEM programs to all kids," encourage "ongoing data collection and research" on practices that improve STEM literacy, and will support the programs that Change the Equation has deemed effective.
Below are the 26 companies that signed, according to a press release from Change the Equation.
Carolina Biological Supply Company
Cognizant Technology Solutions
The Dow Chemical Company
Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold
Hitachi High Technologies America, Inc.
LMI Aerospace, Inc.
The MITRE Corporation
Motorola Solutions, Inc.
Sally Ride Science, Inc.
State Farm Insurance
Texas Instruments Incorporated
Time Warner Cable
United Launch Alliance
Vice President Joe Biden speaks at the Change the Equation's National STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) Summit on May 16, in Arlington, Va. Kevin Wolf/AP