America’s performance in the key subjects of math and science have statistically declined to the point whereby domestic citizens can no longer compete with foreigners in this economy. Since the science and technology industry is projected to be the fastest growing in the world America cannot afford to continue the achievement gaps which could undermine not only growth but security. To accomplish this the STEM initiative has been created to boost achievement in science, technology, engineering, and math. The committee created to achieve this growth is made up of thirteen agencies, and are working strategically to achieve this goal.
In recent decades the United States student’s performance in science, technology, engineering, and math has been steadily decreasing. This has increased the need to import specialists in these fields from around the world. However, “If the United States is to hold a competitive edge in a rapidly changing global workforce, bolstering the nation’s science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) workforce is essential” (NEA). The STEM coalition is a product of the Obama administrations’ focus on addressing the achievement gaps in the nation, as strategic collaborations are organized to maximize opportunity. The four main goals of the committee on STEM education (CoSTEM) are:
This focus arouse out of the need to strengthen the American economic position in the face of rapidly changing globalization. James Brown, the executive direction of the STEM coalition emphasizes, “The future of the economy is in STEM…That’s where the jobs of tomorrow will be” (Vilorio 3). STEM jobs are present throughout nearly all aspects of the economy, as technology plays a major role in all emerging and sustaining markets. Researchers emphasize,
STEM fields are closely related and build on each other. For example, math provides the foundation for physics—and physics, in turn, for engineering. Engineers can apply their knowledge of physics to make high-tech devices that are useful for testing theories in physics. Advances in physics may then lead to advances in engineering and technology. (Vilorio 3)
This is one of the largest sectors of projected growth, and the U.S. cannot afford to ignore gaps in participation. This program will help prepare Americans to be major contributors to the emerging markets of influence. As such, “STEM technology refers to disciplines in computer and information sciences, including those related to operating systems, artificial intelligence, programming, cryptography, and mobile computing” (Vilorio 4). Due to America’s competitive nature, and the need to safeguard information for the sake of national security, trusting such positions to outsourcing is unsafe.
The jobs that will be supported by the STEM initiative are many. In technology along these jobs consist of:
Not only do such jobs contribute to the strategic advantage of the nation, but they are also some of the highest paying jobs in the growing market. Thus, those who get into this industry first will be the ones to reap the long term benefits of profit and position. President Obama understood this marriage of opportunity and risk, as he emphasized, “[Science] is more than a school subject, or the periodic table, or the properties of waves. It is an approach to the world, a critical way to understand and explore and engage with the world, and then have the capacity to change that world” (U.S. Department of Education). It is the power of education which enables such continued development and prestige, which has lost none of its importance. Infactthe trend of globalization increases the need for Americans to perform better since power is in the hands of those who create it
This coalition is slow to grow as it is one of the higher developed forms of the mass reform and support project the administration is working on. Elements of civil rights, nutrition, early childhood education, and many other initiatives all play into the development of the brightest technicians and engineers. For those teachers looking for ways to boost their STEM students here are a few resources:
The need to invest in achievement in math and science is long past due, as America cannot afford to be left behind on this developing market. The STEM program has been created to boost support in these disciplines, strategically helping students of all demographics get the head start they need to achieve their highest developmental potential. However, such progress cannot be expected to materialize overnight, and continuous support is needed from educators, policy makers, and above all-parents-to support the best chances for American innovation.
1: Chart Retrieved from: http://www.ed.gov/stem
2: Chart Retrieved from: http://www.stemedcoalition.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/BLS-STEM-Jobs-report-spring-2014.pdf
NEA. “Science, Technology, Engineering & Math (STEM).” Nea.org, 2016. Retrieved from: http://www.nea.org/home/stem.html
U.S. Department of Education. “Science, Technology, Engineering and Math: Education for Global Leadership.” Ed.gov, 2016. Retrieved from: http://www.ed.gov/stem
Vilorio, Dennis. “STEM 101: Intro to tomorrow’s jobs.” Stemcoalition.org, 2016. Retrieved from: http://www.stemedcoalition.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/BLS-STEM-Jobs-report-spring-2014.pdf