STEM Education – It Needs to Be in Every School’s Curriculum

One of the more recent issues to hit nation’s voting polls is the inclusion of STEM into the teaching curriculums of schools across the United States. STEM is focused on educating students in four key areas of study: Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. Instead of them being separate, the idea of STEM is to teach them all combined into one curriculum that prepares students for the real-world.

The United States has been a leader in all of these specific fields, however as of late; many students are not entering any of these careers. In fact, the United States Department of Education conducted a study and they found that only 16% of high school students entered a STEM related career. They went on to say that 28% of high school students show interest in STEM careers, but over 50% of them will lose interest before they actually enter the career path.

In 2009, the Obama administration introduced the “Educate to Innovate” campaign. Not only did this focus on the need to teach students the STEM curriculum but it also aimed to make more teachers trained in teaching STEM.

The 2014 budget included $3.1 billion dollars in federal programs to teach STEM to students K-12.

The ideal STEM curriculum begins in elementary school. In this stage, students are taught the basics of STEM and how to do real-life problem solving. The goal is to make children interested in these courses not because they have to, but because they are truly interested in them.

In middle school, the curriculum becomes more difficult and challenging. Still keeping them interested, but making sure that academics remain high.

High School is when hands on, real-world training begins. This is where students are prepared for post-secondary education and/or employment.

Something that many people don’t realize is that all STEM related careers don’t involve having to go to college and get a degree. In fact, a large number will simply hire someone who has shown interest and proven ability in the field. Since high schools will likely give students the opportunity for a work-study program in their desired field under the STEM curriculum, students are already gaining relevant experience in the real world before they graduate.

If you really think about it, we begin to introduce children to competitive sports at young ages. Almost all children are involved in some sort of sport or activity. While this isn’t necessarily a problem, it would be beneficial to also make academics a priority as well. Shining a light onto the STEM curriculum doing the formative years of education can set children on the right path to success. The STEM related careers are in high demand right now, and demand for them is only thought to going to increase. As we, as a country become more and more advanced in Science, Technology, Math, and Engineering, these are they areas where we need to begin teaching our children the basics of early on so that they at least have the knowledge to make an educated decision on what career path they want to take.

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