We’ve talked a lot about STEM education recently. We’ve discussed what it is, what it does, but we haven’t really discussed why we need it. What does integrating a STEM learning environment do for our students?
Future STEM Careers and U.S. Advancement
In a world where a solid education is necessary for entrance into any career path, students are beginning to falter when it comes to expressing interest and motivation in the math and sciences. While there have always been a select few who shy away from these subjects of study, there have always been those who lean towards it. Today, many students describe science and math as boring and useless. STEM education is meant to reverse these sentiments, and that reversal is needed as students grow up and enter the workforce. The simple truth is this: we need people who will take over the careers in STEM fields when older generations retire. STEM education is designed to bring students back to these fields, to show them the practicality and, above all, show them how they can have fun with math and science. If interest in these fields continues to decline, the United States will fall behind in important research and development.
Declining Test Scores
The United States’ education system was one that once prospered and produced the world’s best and brightest. Now, though, when it comes to STEM fields, we’re starting to decline. It’s not even a slow decline anymore; we’re declining fast. A 2009 international study reported that the United States ranked 25th out of 34 countries in math and sciences on standardized testing. Where we once excelled, we’ve fallen behind. While interest plays a big role, so do teaching methods. Recent learning standards, like the Next Generation Science Standards and Common Core standards, have produced improvement in these areas, but we need to keep going. STEM education is intended to not only improve test scores, but to also raise genuine and sincere interest and passion for these fields in students.
In order to keep our future bright, we must continue showing interest and effort in the STEM fields. And it all starts in the classroom.