Why is school funding critical for science, technology, engineering and mathematics? Boone High School Principal Kris Byam says it’s not simply about staff salaries.
As the Iowa Legislature prepares for its 2017 session, which opens Jan. 9, the annual battle over school funding looks like it might take a different turn than it did in the past few years as Republicans gained the majority in the state Senate. However, not all of the discussions about funding will center solely on general funding, which is spent by each district primarily on teacher salaries.
Byam, who serves on the National Governor’s Association Future Ready Iowa STEM Project Core Team, said there are more components to STEM education besides simply annual funding that pays teachers and other professionals.
“In order for schools to accomplish most of the STEM goals outlined by governors and others, it requires hardware and software and equipment,” Byam said. “Quality, experienced teachers are important, but also, this is hands-on training that requires a certain type of classroom environment.”