You might have heard the term STEM mentioned lately.
STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. These are areas of expertise considered to be critical to our community and our country’s future. However, we face a STEM crisis.
According to the National Academy of Sciences, innovation, largely derived from advances in science and engineering, is a primary driver of the future economy and creation of jobs. However, the percentage of science and engineering degrees awarded annually peaked in the 1960's. In Central Florida, we actually lag behind. Only 20% of the degrees awarded in Central Florida are in the STEM fields, compared to 30% nationally.
Things aren’t much better on the middle or high school levels. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, 93% of U.S. public school students in 5 - 8 grade are taught physical sciences by a teacher without a degree or certificate in the physical sciences. In high school, Florida students ranked 42nd in math and 49th in science in the nation on the 2011 ACT.
In an increasingly competitive world, where innovation is the key to a flourishing economy, the need for us to educate ourselves and our children in STEM fields is more pressing than ever.
Orlando Science Center is taking a stand in the efforts to revitalize STEM education in our community. Whether you encounter us here in the facility with your family, with your Scout organization, on a field trip, or even through one of our off-site school programs, our goal is the same – to show people that exploring these critical areas in an informal way can be fun, exciting and even inspiring.
Our hope is that you’ll take the things you discovered as a result of your time with us and use them as a springboard to explore at home and in school too. Our ultimate goal is to create a STEM-centered community that paves the way towards excellence in science, technology, engineering and math.
We hope you’ll join us on this journey!
14 February 2012
Posted in Our STEM Crisis
The President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) just published a report entitled Engage to Excel: Producing one million additional college graduates with degrees in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
In the report, the Council proposes five overarching recommendations to transform undergraduate STEM education during the transition from high school to college and during the first two years of undergraduate STEM education:
1. Catalyze widespread adoption of empirically validated teaching practices.
2. Advocate and provide support for replacing standard laboratory courses with discovery-based research courses.
3. Launch a national experiment in postsecondary mathematics education to address the math preparation gap.
4. Encourage partnerships among stakeholders to diversify pathways to STEM careers.
5. Create a Presidential Council on STEM Education with leadership from the academic and business communities to provide strategic leadership for transformative and sustainable change in STEM undergraduate education.
The entire report can be found by clicking on the image below…