The VHS Collaborative Blog
The State of STEM Education
Just last week, Change the Equation (CTEq) released the 2012 Vital Signs reports – 51 researched based reports that itemize the state of STEM education in each state and the District of Columbia. CTEq is a nonprofit organization launched in September 2010 as part of President Obama’s Educate to Innovate campaign. CTEq is group of science/technology industry CEOs that are committed to improving the quality of STEM education in the U.S.
I highly recommend you review the report; it is well worth the time. There are many pockets of improvement. For example, students have made gains in math scores over the past five years. However, there are areas where challenges still exist, including access to resources for minority students (resources include lab space, qualified faculty and higher-level STEM courses). Decreased time spent on science education in elementary grades and improved (but not yet satisfactory) statistics regarding test scores, readiness for college-level math, and graduation rates also remain a concern.
There is a strong opinion that a vibrant and qualified STEM workforce is one key to bringing the U.S. out of current its economic situation. This July 2012 report from the U.S. Department of Commerce ESA indicates that “STEM workers drive our nation’s innovation and competitiveness by generating new ideas, new companies and new industries.” There are more jobs available per job-seeker in STEM fields than in non-STEM fields, a trend that is expected to continue throughout this decade.
“What’s being done?” you might ask. It’s a question I’ve asked myself, along with “How can VHS help?”
Here are a few of the thoughts that came to the top of my mind:
Set a higher standard and provide a consistent learning experience
Twenty-six states and a number of science organizations are leading the development of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), designed to clearly define content and practices for K-12 science education. VHS classes already meet some of the goals of the NGSS and will continue to evolve as the standards are made public in 2013.
Provide students with engaging, rigorous, high-quality science experiences
A number of STEM partnerships and organizations are committed to providing STEM focused programs to students. Here is where VHS naturally finds a fit – students at any school can have access to high-quality, rigorous, engaging, AP and elective STEM courses taught by highly qualified teachers.
Help teachers improve content knowledge and classroom practice
Recruiting, training, and retaining high quality STEM teachers is critical. Access to resources and PD is a burden for many of the science teachers. VHS hopes to solve this problem by collaborating with leading science organizations to offer [?].
Are you helping make a difference?
What else are you doing to prepare students for STEM careers? What else should be done? Please share your thoughts.