The STEM Education Tug-of-War

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There has been a lot of buzz recently surrounding the topic of STEM education in the U.S. school system. Parents and educators claim that students are simply not showing interest in science and math, and attribute this disinterest to the emphasis being placed on testing, rather than on a qualitative learning experience. Concordantly, global testing indicates just how poorly American students register in the realm of science and mathematics when compared to other industrialized nations, suggesting that the quality of STEM education in U.S. schools is substandard. In addition, there is also the subject of STEM jobs being outsourced. In a conversation with President Obama in 2010, Steve Jobs justified the outsourcing of well over 700,000 tech jobs to China, by arguing there are simply not enough STEM graduates to fill all of the positions available – one of many conversations that have prompted an urgency for STEM education reform.  In conjunction, these arguments have created a climate of panic in public schools across the United States. So who is responsible? Fittingly, all of the above. The focus on simply testing students who have little to no context in the subjects they are learning, combined with STEM jobs being outsourced, has contributed to a downturn in student interest in STEM subjects.

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