STEM education is critically important to our country's global future--here's how it is evolving, like this girl doing a science experiment.

6 things to know about STEM education today

STEM education is critically important to our country's global future--here's how it is evolving

Twenty-six percent of Americans believe it’s most important to incorporate STEM learning in kindergarten through second grade (28 percent), followed by third through fifth grade (26 percent), and sixth through eighth grade (20 percent).

Here are 6 important things to know about the state of STEM education:

1. According to the International Math & Science Study, the U.S. has seen nearly 2 million new STEM jobs in the past decade, but students’ math and science scores continue to lag behind those of other nations.

2. Interest in and urgency behind STEM education increased greatly with the 2005 release of “Rising Above the Gathering Storm.” The report argued that U.S. students were academically behind other countries in terms of STEM achievements, and it predicted dire economic consequences of a poorly-prepared workforce.

3. Eighty-six percent of Americans say they believe growing a strong STEM workforce is essential to the nation’s success in the global economy. STEM industry experts and science experts echo that importance.

4. One of the best ways to build interest in STEM education–and as a result, STEM skills–in students is with activities built around engaging materials and concepts, along with hands-on learning and real-world relevance. Project-based lessons help students learn STEM skills as they also build employability skills such as creativity and innovation, problem solving and critical thinking, and collaboration and leadership.

5. Growth of undergraduate STEM grew 43 percent from 2010 to 2016. Eighty-six percent of high school graduates said they plan to pursue a STEM career, and 3 in 4 college graduates majored in STEM-related fields in 2018. However, with 8 of the 10 fastest-growing jobs in STEM fields, 2.4 million positions still went unfilled in 2018.

6. The STEM education crisis isn’t over: 92 percent of employers say their need for employees with technical skills is increasing, and 74 percent say finding the right talent is proving more difficult.

Laura Ascione

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