Can STEM fix America?

Science Project

Two trends in American culture contradict each other. On one hand, technological and scientific fields are struggling to find qualified people to fill jobs. On the other hand, the education system are not focusing on producing more STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) enriched students. Nearly 3/4ths of students talented in math and science decide to pursue STEM degrees in college. Can bringing these two trends more in line with one another fix many of the growing problems in America?

To answer that question, it’s important to have a more clear understanding of what STEM really is. This video from AtGoogleTalks is long but worth watching:

YouTube Preview Image

With an understanding of STEM comes questions. Can it really work? Will shifting towards a more tech-oriented education system create more opportunity for high school and college graduates? Will the economy be better off with more “home-grown” products working in tech positions?

This infographic tackles some of those questions:

STEM Shortage

Politics to drive the push

It doesn’t really matter what educators think about it. That’s a sad statement, but the direction of education has always been part of one agenda or another in America rather than being controlled from the trenches. Thankfully for educators supporting STEM, they have an advocate in the White House.

President Obama and his administration have discussed support of STEM, including a call for 100,000 new STEM teachers in the next decade. The support has yet to translate into tangible action, but many education groups have tied in their support in the 2012 election with actual steps taken to mandate increased focus on STEM.

We asked the DailyKos if they thought that STEM was a pipe dream. While it may be one-sided, the infographic below helped to spark interesting conversation on the political site. Click to enlarge the infographic.

STEM Education

If STEM can fix America’s problems, it will take major changes from the ground up. Change takes money, and it’s something that both the government and the people are not willing to part with in today’s questionable economic climate.

(H/T: Greg Voakes,, lump1 (Digg), Online Engineering Degree, and Knewton)

Written by JD Rucker

+JD Rucker is Editor at Soshable, a Social Media Marketing Blog. He is a Christian, a husband, a father, and founder of both Judeo Christian Church and Dealer Authority. He drinks a lot of coffee, usually in the form of a 5-shot espresso over ice. Find him on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.

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  • Scott

    The text appears to have the stat backwards. “Nearly 3/4ths of students talented in math and science decide to pursue STEM degrees in college.”  Which made me wonder what the problem was, until I saw the graphic which indicated 75% don’t pursue STEM. 

  • Anonymous

    Ra Ra, last time I checked our problem wasn’t a lack of technology but a lack of distribution. Want in the midst of plenty.

  • Anonymous

    Should be rather interesting to see how that all turns out.

  • I’ve been talking to my wife about this alot (she is an education major).
    I’ve noticed that I’ve always learned more from projects then from school (just my nature). I wonder, if for some students at least, school could switch to project oriented education.
    Think, at the end of the 2nd grade.. 4 teachers present 4 different projects. The students write a little blurb on which projects appeal to them and why they want to work on them.
    The next 1-2 years that teacher guides the students through completing the project and links in history, English, science, math etc.
    It won’t work for everyone.. but at the end of the day an A is worthless.. A robot is priceless!

  • It is really patience consuming to scan all the details of comics,  however, it really makes me feel great once I finish making it.

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