A leader in science education in Missouri is calling for educators to revive childhood wonder in emphasizing critical thinking and technical skills that come along with science, technology, engineering and math curriculum. Carol Valenta recently retired as the chief scientific officer from the St. Louis Science Center. She says the solution for a viable workforce for tomorrow involves attracting students in preschool through middle school to wonder about the world around them and pushing for more acceptance and interest among female students in the traditionally male-dominated areas.
Valenta was the keynote speaker for the first Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Summit, hosted by the Kirksville Area and Missouri Chambers of Commerce in conjunction with area educators and business leaders. Speaking to the about 40 education and business leaders gathered at the Kirksville Missouri Department of Conservation Office, Valenta admitted STEM education will take a heavy emphasis and shift in how elementary school is taught, changing from a focus on the language arts and reading to critical thinking and science exploration.