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U.S. News Series on STEM Education
U.S. News has a division of news dedicated to “STEM Education” that covers topics such as diversity, role models, and curriculum that translates to real world jobs. Reoccurring issues, such as underrepresented minorities and low graduation rates in STEM disciplines in the U.S. are discussed. Several of the valuable articles in the series are highlighted below.
Teachers Are Key to Building STEM Brand by Ryan Lytle
How do we engage and inspire teachers in STEM education? This piece examines the influence of teachers and the need to change the fundamentals of teaching. The article suggests that teachers reach out to peers and use available resources to make STEM topics more alluring. Tanya Van Court, a senior vice president at Discovery Education, states that “it’s not enough to excite students – we really need to reach teachers.”
Minorities Need STEM Role Models Too by Kelsey Sheehy
In an increasingly diverse country, diversity in the STEM disciplines is lagging. This article notes that, “by 2050 the majority of school-aged children will be Latino, and 74 percent of the labor force will be Latino in the coming years.” This means that in order to increase the rates of STEM graduates, educators and policy makers need to increase opportunities and target minorities. Taking into account important factors for minorities in the U.S., such as culture, race, and economic status, educators need to shift their focus on how to bring minorities into STEM. Educators need to act as more relatable role model for minorities and encourage any and all educational attainment.
STEM Disconnect Leaves Women, Minorities Behind by Kelsey Sheehy
In a time of high unemployment, there are still numerous STEM jobs left unfilled due to under qualified applicants. “It’s clear there is a disconnect between skill and need”, the article states, and part of that means broadening our approach to inspire and train more women and minorities in STEM fields. Betty Shanahan, CEO of the Society of Women Engineers, says, “To be competitive, we can’t ignore two thirds of our future workforce.” In order to change the low number of women and minority graduates in STEM disciplines, “STEM also needs to speak their language, both literally and figuratively.” Making STEM topics more relatable to women could mean focusing on humanitarian ideas over robotics or machinery and “for other students it may mean using materials in their native language.”
Lack of Jobs Knowledge Means Schools Miss Mark on STEM, Experts Say by Kelsey Sheehy
This article focuses on the incongruity of curriculum and teaching of STEM topics and the work force. For example, instead of just focusing on content and math equations, educators need to teach students to start “seeing the world as math”. Curriculum needs to be more applicable to everyday life so students can incorporate it into their worlds. The disconnect between curriculum and careers leaves graduates misinformed and “often the jobs are not what people think they are.”By putting career related skills into context and translating that into curriculum, the STEM skills gap will diminish. “All the elements are there…we just need to connect them all together.”