STEM education is marginalized.Many subjects are important to providing students with a well-rounded education.Science, math, critical thinking, physical education, writing/composition and the arts complement each other and are each essential to preparing our students for the future. Many reports supported by statisitics and reasons (SETDA, EdWeek, NCES, Rising above the gathering storm , A splintered Vision of education, etc) have shown that the American students are far behind their international counterparts.
We need to ensure that students are part of the conversation and are engaged in their education. This is a must if we want our students to learn about their future and its challenges. We need to ensure that they have a deep and thorough knowledge of the world from a scientific point of view as well as a cultural and historical point of view.
Science is not just about facts and skills, it is also about being responsible citizens.We need the next generation to be aware of the consequences of our actions, whether regarding resources, or our impact on the Earth.How can we solve, or at minimum slow global warming if our elementary school students are missing lessons about the Carbon cycle?How can we compete with overseas manufacturing if our high school students are not taught engineering?How will we prevent another global credit crisis if our students do not properly understand basic mathematics principles at the very least?
How can we expect math or science excellence:
·If only 60% of 7th to 12th grade public school teachers have undergraduate degrees majoring in Math?
·If 29% of the teachers report teaching science two or fewer days per week?
·If students do not have access to information to learn?
·If they are not trained to use the tools of the trade, such as computers, in the work force?
·If we do not give the right respect to the profession of teaching?
We can no longer accept or encourage the mindset that some students are incapable of being successful at math and science.Every one of our students can and must be given the instruction and teacher resource dedication it takes to help them to gain a thorough and long lasting understanding of the essential principles of a STEM education.There are many angles from which we must approach this problem: assuring that teachers are adequately knowledgeable in the subject they are teaching, allotting proper funds to STEM classes, providing deep curricular rather then mile wide content, improving and modernizing STEM curricula, and letting go of the idea that science and math are only within the grasp of a select few.
No longer can we afford our students thinking that they are “No good in science or math”, “I don’t need these for real life” and “I don’t have the natural affinity for these subjects.”This mindset has to change!