States Heeding Calls to Strengthen STEM
Equipping students to succeed in science, technology, engineering, and math holds economic appeal.
Unnerved by job losses, weak test scores, and competition from an increasingly skilled foreign workforce, state officials have launched a variety of efforts to improve mathematics, science, and technology education, in an attempt to gird against whatever economic challenges may come.
Those initiatives are being filed under an increasingly recognizable identifier: STEM, or science, technology, engineering, and math education. The term has become popular shorthand among policymakers convinced that schools must do a better job preparing students for an economy that will require different and more technically sophisticated skills.
Some of the state-level activity can be traced to the 1980s and 1990s, when states first hatched plans to raise academic standards and require testing across subjects—efforts that have evolved and expanded since then, particularly under the federal No...
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