Vt. governor says tech competition will bring jobs

A competition of computer programmers and a fair to connect trained job seekers with high-tech openings are helping Vermont meet the needs of businesses seeking qualified employees and, in turn, expand the number of well-paying high technology jobs being offered in the state, the governor said Wednesday.

Gov. Peter Shumlin was at the Winooski headquarters of the company, MyWebGrocer.com to highlight this weekend’s ‘‘Hackathon,’’ a competition in which more than 100 computer programmers will be given 24 hours to develop a computer application, website or other digital product that will benefit the state.

The event will be held at the Champlain Mill, the renovated former textile mill that is now home to a number of the state’s fast growing high technology companies. On the weekend of Oct. 26-27, the mill will host the ‘‘Vermont Tech Jam,’’ a job fair where more than 70 of the state’s high technology businesses will be able to connect with tech-savvy job seekers.

‘‘The reason that this creative enterprise is so important is that when you talk to employers around Vermont they’re telling a different story than they were just a few years ago,’’ Shumlin said.

‘‘A few years ago the question was, are you going to do layoffs or can you make it?’’ he said. ‘‘Today the question for Vermont employers is, ‘‘Can we find enough people with the skills in technology, engineering, math (and) science to be able to meet and fill the jobs we have?

‘‘We have to reach deep both within Vermont and outside of Vermont to meet the needs of these vibrant and growing enterprises. It’s a much better job to have than unemployment, but it is a problem we must solve together.’’

MyWebGrocer.com says the hackathon, also sponsored by the Vermont business dealer.com and FairPoint Communications, will be the first such competition in the country to benefit a state.

The competition will begin Friday at 6 p.m. The competitors will be given access to data on topics such as public transit, population density and regional distribution of breweries. The goal is to create something useful. There will be $10,000 in prizes for the winners.

Shumlin also declared October ‘‘Tech Month’’ in Vermont.

He says the state’s burgeoning high technology business is a way to help the state attract highly educated young people, as well as draw back to the state people who left because they didn’t believe there were enough economic opportunities. 

source: http://www.boston.com/news/local/vermont/2012/10/17/gov-shumlin-declare-october-tech-month/rvgwLchkP3xjfj7Sa9D8VP/story.html

Vermont Records Poor Math and Science Test Scores

The New England Common Assessment Program has released the results from recent testing across Vermont, which found that only 65 percent of third to eighth grade students and just 36 percent of 11th-graders were proficient in math.

The state also recorded poor results in science too, with only 53 percent of elementary school students meeting the proficient standard. Only 29 percent in middle school and to 30 percent in high school met the state standard.

The latest test results released Tuesday show a significant drop in math and science scores when Vermont students enter high school.

In his reaction to the latest test results, the state’s education chief believes that curriculum in some schools may be to blame, writes Lisa Rathke at the Associated Press.

Vermont Education Commissioner Armando Vilaseca said:

“In over 90 percent of our high schools, fewer than half the students scored proficient in math and science.


“There are many schools that have not aligned their curricula with our standards.”

The department is now set to analyze each school’s math courses. After that analysis, it may request a change in the graduation requirements – such as asking the Board of Education to set the requirement that all students should take algebra and geometry.

While students are required to take three years of math, the standards don’t currently specify which math courses, writes Rathke.

However, under a new system, Assessment Director Michael Hock would like to see students take these compulsory math courses earlier on so they are prepared for advanced math classes and math required for the sciences.

Vermont recorded better results  in reading and writing, with 73 percent of high school and 74 percent of elementary and middle school students meeting the proficient reading standards.

In writing, 54 percent of elementary students, 59 percent of middle school students and 48 percent of high schoolers met the mark, says the report.

Third to eighth grade students are required to take the tests, while fifth, eighth and 11thgraders are tested in writing.

In the coming months, many states are set to implement Common Core standards, which would create a national standard of what high school students should know when they graduate from high school.

While Vermont won’t get rid of the NECAP exams until after 2013, students will need to be prepared for the newer standards as soon as they’re set to change.

source: http://www.educationnews.org/education-policy-and-politics/vermont-records-poor-math-and-science-test-scores/



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