Two trends in American culture contradict each other. On one hand, technological and scientific fields are struggling to find qualified people to fill jobs. On the other hand, the education system are not focusing on producing more STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) enriched students. Nearly 3/4ths of students talented in math and science decide to pursue STEM degrees in college. Can bringing these two trends more in line with one another fix many of the growing problems in America?
To answer that question, it’s important to have a more clear understanding of what STEM really is. This video from AtGoogleTalks is long but worth watching:
With an understanding of STEM comes questions. Can it really work? Will shifting towards a more tech-oriented education system create more opportunity for high school and college graduates? Will the economy be better off with more “home-grown” products working in tech positions?
This infographic tackles some of those questions:
Politics to drive the push
It doesn’t really matter what educators think about it. That’s a sad statement, but the direction of education has always been part of one agenda or another in America rather than being controlled from the trenches. Thankfully for educators supporting STEM, they have an advocate in the White House.
President Obama and his administration have discussed support of STEM, including a call for 100,000 new STEM teachers in the next decade. The support has yet to translate into tangible action, but many education groups have tied in their support in the 2012 election with actual steps taken to mandate increased focus on STEM.
We asked the DailyKos if they thought that STEM was a pipe dream. While it may be one-sided, the infographic below helped to spark interesting conversation on the political site. Click to enlarge the infographic.
If STEM can fix America’s problems, it will take major changes from the ground up. Change takes money, and it’s something that both the government and the people are not willing to part with in today’s questionable economic climate.