Why We Need to Improve Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Education
- Science and math education determines our nation’s capacity to innovate, which has been the backbone of the American economy since the Industrial Revolution. If we are to strengthen our economy, we must strengthen our STEM education system.
- The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) – the nation’s education report card – shows that fewer than forty percent of students, at every grade level tested, are proficient in math and science.
- Internationally, the Programme for International Student Achievement (PISA), an international education benchmark last conducted in 2009 by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), finds the United States barely average in reading and science, and below average in math. Our nation ranked 25th out of 34 nations in math.
- More than 3 million job openings in STEM related fields will be created by 2018 that will require a bachelor’s degree or higher (Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce). At our current rate, the United States fall short of those needs by more than a million workers (National Science Foundation).
How We Can Take Action
Demand higher levels of math and science learning for ALL students.
- The United States must mobilize for excellence in mathematics and science education so that ALL students — not just a select few, or those fortunate enough to attend certain schools — achieve much higher levels of math and science learning.
- Significant improvement in math and science education will be much more likely if the American people, especially young people, understand what’s possible and demand it.
Establish new common standards in mathematics and science that are fewer, clearer and higher, along with high-quality assessments.
Stimulate instructional improvement in math and science and lead the way toward preparing all American students for citizenship in the global economy.
Improve teaching and professional learning – and how our nation’s schools and school systems develop and deploy teaching talent
- We must consider the nation’s teaching force to be our primary asset, and as such, we must reinvent our strategies for recruiting, inducting, assessing, compensating, and retaining the best and brightest talent for our classrooms.
- A new focus on elevating and reinvigorating the profession of teaching must be matched with a new culture of schooling and teaching, that encourages effective teachers to remain in the classroom, rewards them for performance, and creates a career ladder that is a greater incentive for attracting them to the profession.
- Upgrade human capital management throughout U.S .schools and school systems toward ensuring that every student has access to effective teachers, regardless of their socio-economic background.
Redesign schools and school systems to deliver excellent, equitable math and science learning more effectively.
- Teachers and students need access to math and science instructional materials that are challenging, content-rich, motivating, engaging, and connected to the world in which we live today.
- We must explore a range of new delivery options grounded in the latest technologies and cognitive sciences that tap into the vast resources we have in our institutions of higher learning, museums, and other science-rich community institutions.
- We must create understanding among students about the relationship of effective math and science education to their future success, regardless of their chosen field of study.