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What is STEM Education?

The acronym STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. This program was started by Judith A. Ramaley, the former director of the National Science Foundation’s education and human resources division. This approach to education is designed to revolutionize the teaching of subject areas such as mathematics and science by incorporating technology and engineering into regular curriculum by creating a “meta-discipline.”

  • By 2014, there are expected to be 2 million jobs created in STEM-related fields (Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation)
  • The number of engineering degrees awarded in the United States is down 20% from the peak year of 1985. (Tapping America’s Potential;
  • Although U.S. fourth graders score well against international competition, they fall near the bottom or dead last by the time they are 12th graders in mathematics and science, respectively. (Ibid)
  • According to the U.S. Department of Labor:  80% of Future Careers Will Demand Knowledge of Science & Technology

STEM Education attempts to:

  • Transform the typical teacher-centered classroom - by encouraging a curriculum that is driven by problem-solving, discovery, exploratory learning, and require students to actively engage in a situation in order to find its solution.
  • Integrate education - by adopting the STEM philosophy Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics all play an integral part in the teaching of the whole. The science, engineering, and mathematics fields are made complete by the technology component that provides a creative and innovative way to problem solve and apply what has been learned.
  • Encourage innovation - STEM teaches independent innovation and allows students to explore greater depths of all of the subjects by utilizing the skills learned; these skills which are going to be required in order for today’s students to be tomorrow’s global leaders.
  • Create employment opportunities - jobs in the STEM fields are requiring workers to have a greater ability to think critically, work both as a member of a team and independently, and close the performance gap between our American students and those from other countries. STEM is now, and will increasingly be, the universal languages of the global marketplace.

STEM Education in Washington: The Facts of the Matter (.pdf)

Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Education What Form? What Function? (.pdf)