Monday, October 8, 2012

Why STEM Education?

It's no secret that the U.S. needs to improve STEM education for future generations of youngsters. But, why is it so important? For starters, STEM jobs are expected to increase at a rate of 17 percent per year while non-STEM jobs are expected to decline by 10 percent. STEM careers will keep America competitive not only now, but in the future, and we have to get the nation's students ready for that future now.

U.S. students currently sit mid-pack in international comparisons of math and science performance. This isn't headline news anymore, but reports are now showing that some schools that are considered successful aren't keeping the pace in STEM subjects. Recently, a mere one-third of U.S. eighth graders showed proficiency in math and science.

So, what can we do? It's all about turning the tide and making STEM education more successful and desirable in the United States!

Start by sowing STEM seeds early. Students who have exciting and memorable experiences in STEM at an early age are more likely to stick with it and follow through. Studies suggest that if a student is interested in STEM in eighth grade, they're three times more likely to pursue a STEM degree.

Show students that STEM careers matter. Underrepresented groups like women and minorities from low-income areas need to see that there are people with similar backgrounds to them that turned things around or made it in a STEM-related career. This helps spark their interest.

Explain that STEM education means opportunity. Job security means more today than ever before and finding a job quickly after graduation is enough to entice any young person. More than 1 million additional graduates with STEM degrees will be needed to fill the growing number of jobs that require those skills - students need to know that now!

To check out Greg Tucker's full report on the issue, click here.