What Is STEM Education?

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On October 4, 1957, the Soviet Union generated the space race by successfully launching the world’s first satellite, Sputnik 1into space (DeJarnette78). The establishment of the Sputnik radio verified the fact that the Soviet Union had beaten the United States by fostering the necessary technology to break the barrier between earth and space. Although the satellite was simple compared to modern technology, the instrument brought devotion towards the United States Education reform and developed the drive for science, technology, engineering and mathematics integration in the public school system. A year later the United States passed the National Defense Act of 1958, which entitled the expansion in STEM education (78). In recent work from Dr. DeJarnette’s research in elementary STEM education, she recalls the satellite as an ignition to “a tremendous increase in spending for education and research in the United States” (83). The Business of Higher Education Forum (BHEF) states that the demand for skilled workers in STEM fields is associated with a timeless global competiveness, in which the United States sought as a mandatory need for the country(1). The National Science Foundation expresses that, “In the 21st century, scientific and technological innovations have become increasingly important as we face the benefits and challenges of both globalization and a knowledge-based economy. To succeed in this new information-based and highly technological society, students need to develop their capabilities in STEM to levels much beyond what was considered acceptable in the past” (Epstein, Miller 8). By means of the necessity for STEM professionals continues to grow, we are seeing a slight abundance in effectively integrating STEM educa... ... middle of paper ... ...ere also is a risk that the most visible local efforts will attract more and more private support, while worthwhile fledgling efforts elsewhere are unable to get off the ground. The likely result would be uneven STEM opportunities across Wisconsin and unmet workforce demands in some pockets of the state. The math and science competency of elementary school teachers is clearly a blind spot in our country’s STEM policy. Elementary level learning lays the foundation for later success, and many of our elementary school teachers do not currently have the requisite knowledge and skills to deliver high-quality math and science instruction. Strengthening the selection, preparation, and licensure of elementary school teachers in math and science is critically important if we are to improve our students’ achievement in STEM fields and generate well-trained STEM professionals.

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