Five years after issuing a report warning that the United States was losing its competitive edge over other countries by not producing adequate numbers of scientists, engineers, and mathematicians, a national panel is back with a second report that finds that not much has changed.
“In spite of the efforts of both those in government and the private sector, the outlook for America to compete for quality jobs has further deteriorated over the past five years,” concludes the panel’s new report. The committee was organized by the National Academies, a group which advises the federal government on scientific matters.
It continues by saying that, despite “sometimes heroic efforts and occasional very bright spots, our overall public school system—or more accurately 14,000 systems—has shown little sign of improvement, particularly in mathematics and science.”
Meanwhile, the panel notes that other nations are forging ahead, reducing “America’s relative ability to compete effectively for new factories, research laboratories, administrative centers—and jobs.”
The report also recommends ways the federal government can reverse the situation by funding scholarships for 10,000 aspiring mathematics and science teachers each year, bolstering the skills of 250,000 current teachers, and increasing the numbers of students enrolled in Advanced Placement courses and the number of teachers qualified to teach them.
A version of this article appeared in the October 06, 2010 edition of Education Week as STEM Education