“The greater Rochester area is fortunate to have 19 colleges and universities that lead the nation with their academic prowess in the fields of math and science,” said Reilich. “To some degree, our region is a few steps ahead, leading the state as an example of the success public/private partnerships yield for math and science.”
Interest in high-technology fields has waned not only in students from New York state, but from other countries, noted Reilich. “At one time, America was the choice destination for people searching for hi-tech jobs,” said Reilich. “Now, many foreign students and professionals are choosing not to come to the United States, and many of our students leave for other countries, such as India and China.”
The New Edison Project would:
- Create six regional-based high schools or programs within existing high schools throughout the state geared toward enriched math, science and engineering curricula.
- Introduce the nonprofit Project Lead the Way (PLTW) program into 100 more high schools. PLTW, now found in 200 high schools, is a four-year sequence of courses which, when combined with college preparatory mathematics and science courses in high school, introduces students to the scope, rigor and discipline of engineering and engineering technology prior to entering college.
- Establish a “celebrity media plan” employing celebrities from the sports, entertainment and hi-tech fields in an advertising campaign to promote the message that it is “cool” to excel in math and science.
- Create a New York State Science Fair with financial awards to winning high schools and scholarships for winning participants.
- Provide a loan forgiveness program for math, science and engineering majors who choose to work in New York after graduation.
- Distribute additional $500 E-TAP awards to math, science and engineering majors.
- Make grant funding available to graduate students to pursue scientific research related to their graduate or doctoral studies.
- Support Gov. George Pataki’s earlier proposals, including the Summer Institutes of Math and Science for students and the Math and Science Teacher Initiative.