To be successful, our efforts to improve schools and raise student achievement must include advancing our students’ understanding of STEM: science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Through STEM education, students learn to become problem solvers, innovators, creators, and collaborators and go on to fill the critical pipeline of engineers, scientists, and inventors so essential to the future of the nation.
The growth of jobs requiring STEM proficiency is on the rise. Between 2014 and 2024, the number of STEM jobs will grow 17 percent, as compared to 12 percent for non-STEM jobs. (Change the Equation, The Diversity Dilemma, 2015).
Students learn not only in the classroom but also in the real world, and the importance of expanded, informal, and K-12 regular school day learning integration has been emphasized recently by the 2011 convening of the Committee on Integrated STEM Education by the National Academy of Engineering and the National Research Council (NRC), and the NRC convening, STEM is Everywhere. The most effective STEM education takes place where expanded, informal learning, and K-12 regular day instruction are integrated and the unique potential of each of these environments is fully leveraged for high-quality STEM education, often referred to as STEM ecosystems. (Change the Equation, 2012). We will work to increase opportunities for experiential learning through field trips and informal and expanded learning.