Though STEM educators highly value technology’s presence and potential in the classroom, they cited a lack of funding and professional development for teachers as two major roadblocks in creating 21st century classrooms in their districts, according to a new survey from research and consulting firm Interactive Educational Systems Design.
The 2011 National Survey on STEM Education was conducted in December 2010, and 515 educators responded to the survey, which was a follow-up to a similar March 2010 survey.
A majority of survey respondents, when asked to identify the three most important challenges facing K-12 science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education in the U.S., chose STEM funding (74 percent), a low number of qualified STEM education teachers (55.9 percent), and insufficient STEM professional development for teachers (54.6 percent).
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Although funding topped educators’ trouble spots, when comparing projected STEM spending during the 2011-12 school year to actual spending in the 2010-11 school year, 45.8 percent of survey respondents said spending will stay the same, 37.9 percent said spending will decrease somewhat or significantly, and 16.3 percent said spending will increase somewhat or significantly.
These answers are slightly better than those in the 2010 National Survey findings, in which 52.8 percent of respondents projected that spending would decrease somewhat or significantly from 2009-10 to 2010-11, while 35.2 percent indicated that spending would stay the same and 12.1 percent projected that it would increase somewhat or significantly.