Congress should offer planning grants for regions that want to create alternative types of STEM high schools or universities.
In recent years, a number of new high schools and universities with unique approaches to STEM education have opened. These institutions champion an experiential learning model and all teaching is STEM- or technology-oriented and done on an interdisciplinary basis, with students required to complete internships with companies, helping them to solve real engineering and technical problems. Public policy should support states and regions as they try to develop alternative types of STEM-oriented high schools and universities because it’s very difficult to conceptualize new approaches; coordinate a wide range of regional and state actors across industry, academia (including faculty and students), community, and government; construct new facilities; etc. Therefore, Congress should allocate $10 million for the National Science Foundation, through the existing Transforming Institution Grants program, to offer planning grants for regions looking to create new kinds of STEM high schools or universities.