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Missouri Governor Wants More Math And Science Classes In Elementary Schools

Elle Moxley

How do you get fifth and sixth graders to see a connection between what they're doing in school and their future careers?

Talk to them about Walt Disney.

"As a sixth grader, he was sketching mice and ducks in his art class," Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon told students during an assembly at Mill Creek Upper Elementary in Belton Friday.

The school is one of 34 across Missouri that's teaching elementary school students about math and science through Project Lead the Way, which Nixon hopes will inspire them to pursue those fields as adults. 

Nixon talked to fifth graders who are learning to build robots.

"Project Lead the Way is important," says Nixon. "Moving that curricula down to the grade schools is something where we think we can help make a big difference in science and math jobs for the future."

Nixon hopes that adding more math and science classes in elementary school will better prepare students for high-demand, well-paying science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) jobs.

"You need to look no further to the kind of jobs coming to this area, whether it's high tech manufacturing up at Claycomo or the opportunities Cerner's going to provide right here regionally," says Nixon.

The governor proposed an additional $2 million in funding for Project Lead the Way during his State of the Union address.

Elle Moxley covered education for KCUR.
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