Through a collaborative effort among General Electric, the Albany-Colonie
Chamber of Commerce, and the Albany City School District, young students
will benefit from enhanced science and math programs next year. The
program, funded by GE, will provide first-grade teachers with additional
tools and resources to spark an early love of learning in youngsters.
GE Presents Love SAM (Science and Math) will begin in September with the
incoming first-graders at North Albany Academy, and will expand each
year until students in grades 1 through 4, and their teachers, have
access to the enhanced learning opportunities.
program is the result of a collaborative effort between business and
education leaders in the Capital Region who recognize the growing need
for a more highly skilled work force to help expand New York’s Tech
“An understanding of science and mathematics are
critical skills in today’s high-tech world, and we are so pleased to be
able to establish this initiative that will help excite students at a
young age,” said Jan Smith, spokeswoman for GE.
With a commitment of $125,000 in funding by GE, the
Albany City School District is working with educational, business and
technology experts to create a program that enhances the current
curriculum with hands-on learning and high-tech tools.
“By working with our first graders, and continuing
on through fourth grade, we will reach students at an age where the
right programs and environment can spark a lifelong interest in science
and math,” said School Superintendent Dr. Eva Joseph. “With GE’s
financial assistance, our teachers will be able to incorporate
activities that few other school districts can offer.”
Statistics show that science and math degrees among
American college graduates are among the lowest of any nation, and many
companies are struggling to find qualified candidates for critical,
high-paying jobs, both in New York’s Tech Valley, and around the
U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings, in
a February speech to business and education leaders, quoted from a study
that showed 84 percent of middle school students would rather clean
their rooms, take out the garbage, or go to the dentist than do their
math homework. An interest in science is lacking as well.
In 1975, the US ranked 3rd
in the world in the percentage of students pursuing natural science and
engineering degrees. Now it is 17th.
Albany Mayor Jerry Jennings said he was confident
the program being developed will succeed. “As a former educator, I know
our kids are ready to embrace new ideas and will excel when the best
tools are provided to them. As mayor, I realize the critical and growing
need for the best-educated work force to help grow the region’s economy
and expand Tech Valley.”
The Albany-Colonie Chamber of Commerce, a
collaborative partner in the program, has been working to help schools
prepare today’s students for tomorrow’s job market. If students’ current
attitudes toward math and science continue, employers will suffer from
an even greater lack of qualified high-tech job candidates than they
already face today.
In 2003, the Chamber launched its FAMtask
initiative to bring key community and business leaders together to
discuss, outline and address the challenge of attracting and retaining
the talent that will establish Tech Valley as a world-class center for
technology. The Love SAM program is one such example of this dedication
to our young students.
“It is absolutely crucial that our nation addresses
the ‘quiet crisis’ that has swept through our schools and universities
and takes the appropriate steps to reverse this educational decline,”
said Chamber President Lyn Taylor. “The Love SAM program will
proactively address these concerns by engaging students with innovative
activities that will help make science and math come to life in the