The reason some students are having a hard time understanding the connection between science and the real world is because they never had an integrated STEM education by teachers who knew what they were talking about.
So it really all comes down to this question: where does the power lie? Do the students have a responsibility to implement STEM into their own lives with whatever education they receive or msut the educators be more qualified in order to integrate STEM into their teaching styles?
Students have always gotten the blame for poor grades. If they get a C on a test, it's because they didn't study hard enough. If they don't understand a question, it's because they're slower and stupider than the rest of the class. However, I believe doubt, questioning and making mistakes are all extremely useful. Without doubt, we cannot define truth. On another note, the student certainly must have a commitment to learning in order to be taught. Education cannot be forced upon anyone. But perhaps the person who is struggling to receive a B in the class is working harder than the one who blows through the homework and gets an A, but doesn't integrate that learning into their lives.
Teachers must be qualified to teach their students. Without that qualification, we can't expect truth to find its way into education. If teachers don't pounce on the opportunity to change a student's life, they have failed at their profession. Teachers can be the most influential people in a child's life, but uncaring, unqualified educators do not help the system in any way. In fact, they hinder it, and are the partial reason STEM is no longer a popular major.
I believe both parties must make a commitment to education and learning before STEM can be implemented. Without that desire to discover the possibilities STEM can provide, the student will fail to see how STEM can be incorporated into everyday life and the teacher will not be able to get through to them. We need more educated teachers in order to implement STEM into the school system and encourage students to be more involved in the learning process.