Ivanka Trump to visit Detroit on Tuesday to promote STEM education

Ivanka in Detroit to promote STEM initiative

Ivanka Trump will be in Detroit on Tuesday, joining Quicken Loans Chairman Dan Gilbert to promote STEM education and a significant pledge from the private sector to boost computer science education.

The White House announced her visit on the same day President Donald Trump signed a presidential memorandum that directs Betsy DeVos, the U.S. Secretary of Education, to steer $200 million in funding Congress has already approved to expand STEM and computer science education in U.S. schools.

Ivanka Trump said too many of the nation's K-12 and postsecondary schools lack access to high-quality STEM education.

"Our goal is for every student across our country, from our rural communities to our inner cities, to have access to the education they need to thrive in our modern economy," Ivanka Trump said, according to the transcript of a media call.

An announcement will be made during Tuesday's  event about a private-sector commitment to help boost such programs. The event is to be held at one of Gilbert's buildings downtown. It will also  feature Hadi Partovi of Code.org, Marilyn Hewson of Lockheed Martin and other "leading members of the technology sector," according to the transcript.

"In our guidance to the Department of Education, we are asking that these programs be designed with gender and racial diversity in mind," Ivanka Trump said on the call. "The administration also recognizes and commends the private sector for their leadership in this space, and is leveraging their expertise to jump-start these programs and inspire the next generation of programmers and innovators."

Trump cited a recent Gallup poll that found 60% of K-12 principals surveyed reported having a single computer science course in their schools. She also cited statistics that show the percent of women in the   computer science workforce  declined from 35.3% in 1990 to 22.2% in 2016, "even though women represent 47% of the overall U.S. labor force."

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Reed Cordish, assistant to the president, said the $200 million is "a significant investment that does not require additional legislation."

"It references the need to prioritize the recruitment and training of teachers so that we can ensure that our students are receiving the skills and education that they need to compete in today's economy," Cordish said. "And it also references that technology is always evolving and advancing, and that this must be a continued focus for the administration and for the country."

The $200 million isn't new money. A senior administration official said during the call that the president is simply directing the federal department "to prioritize high-quality STEM and computer science. The funding has already been appropriated by Congress, and it's up to the administration to set its priorities, which this president is doing."

© 2017, Detroit Free Press


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