What is STEM? Why It’s Important If You Care about Education

You’ve probably heard the term STEM, but if you’re like most parents, you may not be entirely sure what it means.

STEM is an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math and its goal is to integrate technology into daily classroom teaching so that American students can be more competitive in a global workforce. Recent studies have found that U.S. students rank far lower in math and science than others in much smaller and less wealthy nations such as Estonia, Slovenia, and Finland.

The STEM initiative includes a greater emphasis on technology, beginning in elementary school all the way through unique STEM classes in high school. Examples of high school coursework include: Digital Electronics, Aerospace Engineering, Computer Integrated Manufacturing, and Engineering Design/Drafting. Most schools throughout DC, Maryland or Northern Virginia offer STEM education. Find out if yours does and how your child can get involved.

The U.S. Department of Education provides a compelling case for STEM education. Pay close attention to the graph below. It’s easy to see why students need to be better prepared in science, technology, engineering and math.

The following article is from the Department of Education’s website: http://www.ed.gov/stem.

Projected Percentage Increases In STEM Jobs from 2010 to 2020: 14% for all occupations, 16% for Mathematics, 22% for Computer Systems Analysts, 32% for Systems Software Developers, 36% for Medical Scientists, 62% for Biomedical Engineers

The United States has become a global leader, in large part, through the genius and hard work of its scientists, engineers and innovators. Yet today, that position is threatened as comparatively few American students pursue expertise in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM)—and by an inadequate pipeline of teachers skilled in those subjects. President Obama has set a priority of increasing the number of students and teachers who are proficient in these vital fields.

The Need
Only 16 percent of American high school seniors are proficient in mathematics and interested in a STEM career.

The Goals
President Obama has articulated a clear priority for STEM education: within a decade, American students must “move from the middle to the top of the pack in science and math.”

The Plan
The Obama administration will facilitate a cohesive national strategy, with new and repurposed funds, to reorganize STEM education programs and increase the impact of federal investments in four areas: K-12 instruction; undergraduate education; graduate fellowships; and education activities that typically take place outside of the classroom.