Why STEM

STEM is the future.

Currently, too few schools are preparing students for college and career and even fewer are sparking a genuine interest in learning and future work.  Yet STEM jobs are growing at twice the rate of those in non-STEM fields. The world economic forum cites that 65% of children entering school today will work in a completely new job type that does not exist today.1 President Obama’s administration forecasted that over the next ten years, U.S. industries will need one million more STEM graduates than our current education system will generate.2

Schools need high-quality STEM programming to drive student interest and aptitude in STEM.

This issue is urgent as American students ranked 30th among the 35 OECD member nations in math competency and 19th in science  – this puts the U.S. behind countries such as Korea, Japan, Canada, Poland, and Estonia.4  Just 1 in 5 high school graduates were prepared for college-level STEM classes in 2015, according to the ACT.3

 

The STEM challenge is apparent in Massachusetts.

While Massachusetts outperforms the U.S., the STEM challenge is just as apparent in the commonwealth. According to Change the Equation, STEM jobs will grow at over twice the rate as non-STEM jobs in Massachusetts over the next ten years.5 Yet, the ratio of STEM to non-STEM degrees in the state is challenging: only about 1 in 4 of the Commonwealth’s degrees are in STEM.Current interest in pursuing STEM careers is low:

  • 2 in 5 high school students are interested in pursuing science-related careers6
  • 1 in 3 high school students are interested in pursuing math-related careers6

65%

of children entering school today will work in a completely new job type that does not exist today1

Over the next ten years, U.S. industries will need

ONE MILLION

more STEM graduates than our current education system will generate2

2x

STEM jobs will grow at over twice the rate as non-STEM jobs in Massachusetts over the next ten years5

Applied Learning Leads to Students Solving Real World Problems. 

Further contributing to the talent challenge, fewer than half of middle school students in Massachusetts are proficient in science.6 More schools in Massachusetts need high-quality STEM programming to drive student interest in aptitude in STEM, particularly because STEM is a priority growth area for the state’s economy. Applied learning is an engaging and rigorous approach where teachers facilitate student mastery of 21st century skills like critical thinking, collaboration, perseverance, and digital literacy. Students use content to solve real world problems. Research shows that active or applied learning rather than traditional lecturing is particularly important for both academic performance and ongoing interest.

1 [2016] Executive Summary: The Future of Jobs: Employment, Skills and Workforces Strategy for the Fourth Industrial Revolution. World Economic Forum.
2 [2012] Report to the President: Engage to excel: Producing One Million Additional College Graduates with Degrees in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics, Executive Office of the President
3 [2015] The Condition of College & Career Readiness 2015. ACT.
4 [2015] PISA 2015 Results: Excellence and Equity in Education. PISA.
5 [2015] Vital Signs: Massachusetts. Change the Equation. 2016 MCAS Data. Note: Students are surveyed about interest in math and science related fields as part of the assessment and is reported.