Senate panel passes STEM diploma bill

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The Idaho Senate Education Committee passed Thursday a bill to recognize students excelling in STEM disciplines with a special diploma.

The bill, SB 1267, would recognize public school and public charter school students who complete more science and math classes than the three years required by the state.

The director of the STEM Action Center, Angela Hemingway, said Ohio and Colorado have recently passed similar legislation.

Sen. Bob Nonini, R-Coeur d’Alene, said he proposed the legislation because of the progress he has seen at the North Idaho STEM Charter Academy.

“There are a number of students in Idaho high schools and Idaho charter schools who do four years of math and science,” Nonini said. “I thought it would be nice to recognize those students with a STEM designation, a STEM diploma, a STEM stamp on their traditional high school diploma — or whatever that particular charter school or school district would like to do for those students.”

The bill would be effective immediately upon passage, allowing 2018 graduates who qualify to be recognized.

SB 1267 was passed with intent to amend. The language would allow the schools to award the STEM diploma.

– Kyle Pfannenstiel covers the 2018 Idaho Legislature for the University of Idaho McClure Center for Public Policy Research.

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