What does STEM mean?

July 3, 2014

Feeling a little overwhelmed and confused about all this talk about STEM education or just in need of a quick refresher? Read on to put all your questions to rest.

With all the publicity that STEM has gotten in the past few years, it can be a little overwhelming and confusing if you hadn’t jumped on the bandwagon from the very beginning. So, if you’re in need of a quick refresher, read on to have all your questions answered.

What is STEM?

STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. STEM is a revolution of sorts in education, rallying kids to get more interested in those fields of study, so they can go on to college and eventually get a job in one of those fields.

Why are people interested in STEM?

The U.S. is particularly interested in STEM for a few reasons. One of the reasons is that a lot of people who once were able to do all of the STEM jobs are starting to retire, opening up a lot of jobs in STEM fields that just aren’t being filled. To fill those jobs, STEM education is hoping to get kids educated and ready to take on those careers.

The second reason why the U.S. is desperate to get more children interested in STEM is a bit more large-scale. As of recent, the U.S. has been ranked 52nd in how well science and mathematics is being taught compared to other countries. Not only that, but the U.S. ranks number 27 against the world in how many engineering or science undergraduate degrees are being earned. The scary part of all this is that about two-thirds of those students getting engineering and science degrees are from other countries. That means that the majority of students getting STEM degrees aren’t even staying in the U.S. to fill the jobs that we need to be filled!

Suffice to say, it’s very important to the U.S. and President Obama that we rise above other countries and don’t fall behind in not only STEM careers, but in the technological advances that those careers could make.

How is STEM being implemented in our school systems?

Well, so far there are two methods being debated about being used: Project Lead The Way and Common Core Standards. To learn more about these two, read STEM education problems: Project Lead The Way vs. Common Core Standards.

For more information on how the U.S. is preparing our teachers and professors to adequately address and teach these topics, read Museum of Science and Industry educates middle school instructors in STEM courses and Advancing on the STEM battle field: how RESPECT fits in.

Who is STEM really aiming for?

In the past, STEM fields have been held, for the majority, by men. But in recent years many people have been advocating to get more women in STEM careers and the workplace. For more information, watch these videos: STEM careers and women: Where does she fit in? and Discouraging young girls’ interest in science can affect their future.

The final question is one that a lot of people are probably asking, and that is: Is STEM worth the investment?

Now unfortunately that question cannot be answered: that is up to you to decide.

For the statistics on STEM careers, visit this website. For more information on what STEM is, visit STEM School’s website.

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