News

Buoyed by Congress, STEM and coding are on the rise

By Laura Devaney, Director of News, @eSN_Laura
October 22nd, 2015

New legislation makes computer science an official part of STEM education

STEM-edSTEM education, while always a national focus, is receiving more attention in recent days, as surveys and legislation reveal awareness of its importance to the nation’s success.

Three out of four Americans in a recent survey said they think “science is cool in a way that it wasn’t 10
years ago.”

Seventy-three percent of participants in the Finger on the Pulse opinion survey, from Horizon Media’s WHY Group, agreed with the statement that “in the future, all the best jobs will require knowledge of computer coding languages.”

Eighty-six percent of those surveyed said they believe knowing how to use a computer is equally important as knowing how to read and write.

When asked which two subjects aside from reading and writing are critical to help prepare the next generation of students for the future, participants identified math (70 percent) and computer science (50
percent).

In fact, 65 percent of surveyed Americans said “most students would benefit more from learning a computer coding language than foreign language.”

“Science and math have always been core subjects. But the addition of technology and engineering makes STEM education feel current and critical,” said Kirk Olson, vice president of TrendSights at Horizon Media. “It’s through technology and engineering that scientific fields effect widespread changes in the ways people live. These findings prove Americans feel that impact in the real world.”

The survey results were released right after Congress passed, and President Obama signed into law, the STEM Education Act of 2015, which:

  • Includes computer science education under existing federal grants and programs that relate to STEM education
  • Supports grants for informal STEM education occurring outside the classroom, in places like afterschool programs, museums, and science centers
  • Amends the National Science Foundation Noyce Master Teaching Fellowship program to allow teachers in pursuit of a master’s degree to apply for the grant and explicitly include computer science teachers. The STEM Education Act would allow more teachers the opportunity to compete for the grant, better reflecting the current reality facing our schools, especially in high-need areas

Finger on the Pulse is Horizon’s proprietary online research community, comprised of 3,000 people reflective of the general U.S. population.

Material from a press release was used in this report.