A stem is what connects the life-producing roots to a beautiful flower for people to gaze upon in a field and smell its wonderful aroma. STEM is the education initiative of growing the roots of students in science, technology, engineering and math until they produce incredible work for our country in those fields.
STEM education in students is imperative to the future of the U.S. Due to a decrease in students pursuing careers in STEM fields, President Barack Obama has set a priority of increasing the number of students and teachers who are proficient in these fields.
"Leadership tomorrow depends on how we educate our students today- especially in science, technology, engineering and math," said President Obama in 2010.
President Obama set goals to develop, recruit and retain 100,000 excellent STEM teachers by 2020, and to graduate an additional one million students with STEM majors in our colleges. This is because STEM jobs tend to be the fastest-growing in today’s workforce. President Obama’s proposed fiscal year 2015 budget includes $170 million to train the next generation of STEM innovators.
In middle school, students build on their STEM knowledge to begin to answer more complex questions and create solutions for real problems. Teachers aid students by providing activities and projects that allow the students to learn about research and integrate their knowledge into real-life application. This is also the age where many students begin to participate in clubs and groups aimed at STEM topics.
In 2011, 32% of eighth grade students performed at or above the proficient level in science.
In 2007, about 1/3 of public middle school science teachers either did not major in the subject in college and/or were not certified to teach it.
In 2013, 35% of eighth grade students, performed at or above the proficient level in mathematics.
In high school, students are getting deep into their studies of STEM subjects and are becoming proficient in their real-world application. By now, students can apply their knowledge into their work and become more independent in their studies, with the help of mentors. Upon graduation, students have the sufficient knowledge base to pursue a college education, majoring in a STEM degree.
Only 26% of American high school seniors are proficient in math and interested in a STEM career.
44% of 2013 U.S. high school graduates are ready for college-level math.
36% of 2013 U.S. high school students are ready for college-level science.
19.5% of AP test takers in the class of 2012 earned a qualifying score on an AP exam.
Students who progress through at least Algebra II in high school are twice as likely as those who do not to complete a four-year degree.
In college, students are choosing majors in STEM fields. Students are conducting in-depth research projects to learn more about these fields and are receiving hands-on training through internships with local companies and apprenticeships with their professors. These STEM professionals are passing their knowledge of their fields to the students who will carry the torch in the future. College students are able to apply the skills and knowledge they have obtained over the years about the STEM fields to position themselves for a job after graduation.
By 2018, 92% of traditional STEM jobs will be for those with at least some post-secondary education and training.
Even those who pursue a STEM degree in college, approximately only 1/2 work in a related career.
The number of science and engineering bachelor’s degree completions has grown by 19% from 2009 to 2013, compared to 9% growth for non-S&E disciplines.
38% of students do not graduate with a STEM major and 38% of students who start with a STEM major do not graduate with one.