Those of you who follow STEM education closely have almost certainly heard of “Rising Above the Gathering Storm,” an influential 2005 report from a panel convened by the National Academies.
Well, the panel is back with an update five years later, and judging by the subtitle, “Rapidly Approaching Category 5,” the analysis offered in the new report isn’t encouraging.
“The Gathering Storm Committee’s overall conclusion is that 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,” the report declares.
It continues: "[I]n spite of 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.” At the same time, it notes that “many other nations have been markedly progressing, thereby affecting America’s relative ability to compete effectively for new factories, research laboratories, administrative centers—and jobs.”
The new report offers a host of recommendations. They include:
• Provide 10,000 new mathematics and science teachers each year by funding competitively awarded four-year scholarships to help U.S. citizens earn degrees in math, science, or engineering accompanied by a teaching certificate;
• Strengthen the skills of 250,000 current teachers by such actions as subsidizing the achievement of master’s degrees (in science, math, or engineering) and participation in workshops, and create a world-class math and science curriculum available for voluntary adoption by local school districts; and
• Increase the number of teachers qualified to teach Advanced Placement courses and the number of students enrolled in those courses by offering financial bonuses to high-performing teachers and to students who excel.
A version of this news article first appeared in the Curriculum Matters blog.