AUGUSTA — Senate President Troy Jackson, D-Allagash, introduced legislation to create a state-of-the-art mobile learning lab at a public hearing before the Legislature’s Education and Cultural Affairs Committee on Tuesday. The mobile learning lab would expand traditional education opportunities in life science and engineering for public school students across the state.
“The Mobile Learning Lab created by this bill will bring hands-on learning to rural and underserved communities throughout the state. The unfortunate reality is that many small and isolated towns do not have the funds to provide the costly and always-changing scientific equipment, technology, and experiences that all students need access to,” said President Jackson. “Educators with The Mobile Learning Lab will partner with local teachers to offer high quality, experiential learning to supplement what is currently offered to middle and high school students. This is an exciting opportunity to level the playing field for Maine students from every part of our state who have the skills and experiences to be competitive in the workforce.”
LD 1389, An Act to Establish a Mobile Learning Lab represents a collaborative effort by President Jackson, Educate Maine, the Roux Institute, and other partners who are committed to ensuring Maine students have the life-science skills needed to enter Maine’s economy. The lab would visit a different school each week and expose students to learning opportunities that could lead to careers in high-demand fields. It would supplement science education without burdening local communities and school districts with exorbitant costs.
“The Mobile Learning Lab will be an important, front-end solution to enhance early educational interest and engagement in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields. The mobile lab effort, with support from the State of Maine, will create an important early springboard leading today’s students towards in-demand STEM careers at organizations like The Jackson Laboratory,” said Charles Wray, Vice President of Genomic Education at The Jackson Laboratory.
The initiative has already secured federal funding for the bus and lab equipment. President Jackson’s proposal would supply funds to complete the planning phase, develop a challenging curriculum and get the program up and running.
LD 1389 is supported by the Maine Principals’ Association, the Roux Institute, the Maine Community College System, The Jackson Laboratory, the Maine IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence, the Executive Director of the Maine Discovery Museum, BioME, and Learning Undefeated. The proposal will be the subject of additional work sessions held by the committee.