College & Workforce Readiness Letter to the Editor

Schools Must Ignite and Inspire Students for STEM Engagement

November 03, 2014 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

To the Editor:

The United States has long been a global leader in innovation and entrepreneurship, but we are not on track to maintain this historical pre-eminence. The reason is our country’s workforce-skills gap.

The 2012 test results from the Program for International Student Assessment ranked American students 23rd in science achievement and 30th in math ability out of 65 countries. The countries that consistently perform at the top include China, Singapore, South Korea, and Japan.

Despite these rankings, a delegation of science and technology leaders from South Korea recently traveled to Los Angeles to see firsthand what American students are doing in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education.

Project Lead The Way—an organization dedicated to stem training in schools, for which I work—hosted the group. We took them to see Da Vinci Science High School in Hawthorne, Calif., a charter school certified by Project Lead The Way, where they visited with students and teachers in several of the engineering courses.

The Korean visitors said they were highly impressed with the students’ immersion in their learning. Students were engaged, they were collaborating, and they were learning the content through hands-on activities and projects. At the end of the delegation’s visit, they were so inspired that they requested to attend Project Lead The Way’s teacher-training program next summer.

In our nation’s elementary, middle, and high schools, we aren’t effectively engaging, inspiring, or preparing all students for the global workforce in which they must compete for good jobs and opportunities. We need to ignite and inspire students’ creativity, innovation, and problem-solving skills in the classroom. We can show them why subjects like math and science matter, and we can regain the excellence we’ve long experienced as a nation.

But we have to start in each classroom. And we have to start now.

Vince Bertram

President and Chief Executive Officer

Project Lead The Way

Indianapolis, Ind.

Related Tags:

A version of this article appeared in the November 05, 2014 edition of Education Week as Schools Must Ignite and Inspire Students for STEM Engagement


This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
School Climate & Safety Webinar
Praise for Improvement: Supporting Student Behavior through Positive Feedback and Interventions
Discover how PBIS teams and educators use evidence-based practices for student success.
Content provided by Panorama Education
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
IT Management Webinar
Build a Digitally Responsive Educational Organization for Effective Digital-Age Learning
Chart a guided pathway to digital agility and build support for your organization’s mission and vision through dialogue and collaboration.
Content provided by Bluum
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Data Webinar
Drive Instruction With Mastery-Based Assessment
Deliver the right data at the right time—in the right format—and empower better decisions.
Content provided by Instructure

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

College & Workforce Readiness What the Research Says 12th Graders Took Harder Courses and Got Higher GPAs, But Test Scores Fell. What Gives?
A federal study finds that improvements in high school students' course-taking and GPAs did not lead to higher NAEP scores.
2 min read
Image of data.
College & Workforce Readiness Opinion 5 Ways Rural School Leaders Can Create Workforce Opportunities for Students
The key to offering high-quality, work-based learning opportunities to students in rural areas is community building.
Charles V. Khoury
5 min read
Screen Shot 2022 01 26 at 7.08.02 AM
College & Workforce Readiness What the Research Says The COVID Academic Slide Could Be Worse Than Expected
Across grades, subjects, and schools, lost learning is adding up for students, new studies find.
4 min read
Image of a line moving from point A in a disrupted path.
Serhii Brovko/iStock/Getty
College & Workforce Readiness Spotlight Spotlight on Inspiring Innovation Through STEM Education
This Spotlight will empower you on ways to include more students of color, locate gifted students in unexpected places, and more.