2020 marks the start of a new decade. In January, it is not uncommon for people, companies and society to have New Year’s Resolutions. Whether it is going to the gym more, increased sales, or tackling a larger problem in the community, the new year and, in this case, the new decade creates a clean slate to tackle these goals.
From an education standpoint, what do we want to achieve for the youth of our country this year and this decade? As a company focused on science, technology, engineering and math education, our goal is to give students quality, hands-on 21st century STEM education to create interest and confidence for students in STEM subjects. The future of the United States workforce relies heavily on workers having STEM skills and filling the rising rate of STEM jobs. STEM jobs are projected to rise at a higher rate than all other occupations, making it essential to increase the amount of students pursuing STEM degrees.
In November 2018, the United States Department of Education invested $279 million to STEM grant funds. This created funding for:
- Education Innovation and Research (EIR) – $66.8 million
- Supporting Effective Educator Development (SEED) – $28.2 million
- Teacher Quality Partnership (TQP) – $16.4 million
- Pathway to Apprenticeship for High School Career and Technical Education (CTE) Students – $3.6 million
- Innovative Approaches to Literacy (IAL) – $26.7 million
- Indian Education Discretionary Grants Programs: Professional Development Grants Program – $6.2 million
- Training Program for Federal TRIO Programs – $1.2 million
- GEAR UP Competition: New Partnership Awards – $108 million
- GEAR UP Competition: New State Awards – $20.4 million
- Center on Early STEM Learning for Young Children with Disabilities – $1.45 million
This investment in STEM education was made in hopes of strengthening the STEM pipeline for students in STEM from Kindergarten through college. By investing in youth, we give students the opportunity to improve their STEM literacy which could translate into them filling the STEM jobs currently available and those that will be there in the future.
In the U.S Department of Education report, they highlighted that 80 percent of high schoolers attend a school that offers Algebra 1 classes. Of that 80 percent, only 24 percent enroll and complete the course. Algebra one is seen as an essential course for future success in STEM courses and life. Through these grants and funds, they hope to give more students the opportunity to succeed in “building block” STEM classes so they can continue to improve their STEM literacy and possibly even a STEM career.
In November 2019, the U.S Department of Education gave STEM education an even bigger contribution. They invested $540 million to support science, technology, engineering and math education in accordance with the Trump Administration’s focus on investments in STEM education and the 5-year plan to improve it.
The Committee on STEM Education of the National Science & Technology Council created the report on Charting A Course for Success: America’s Strategy for STEM Education. In great depth, the report highlights the White House’s vision for the progress of STEM education in the next five years. The plan is formed based on three goals and four pathways they believe will help achieve a stronger STEM education system in the United States.
The three goals are:
- Build Strong Foundations for STEM Literacy
- Increase Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in STEM
- Prepare the STEM Workforce for the Future
The four pathways are:
- Develop and Enrich Strategic Partnerships
- Engage Students where Disciplines Converge
- Build Computational Literacy
- Operate with Transparency and Accountability
The report ends with a call to action to join the Trump Administration and the Committee on STEM Education of the National Science & Technology council in achieving the goal. Stakeholders are encouraged to use these concepts in their own activities in order to “achieve a vision for a future where all Americans will have lifelong access to high-quality STEM education and the United States will be the global leader in STEM literacy, innovation, and employment.”
This push towards better, diverse and equal STEM education is something that needs to be capitalized on. As educators and parents, this new year and new decade is an opportunity to begin paving a bright future for children and their future in STEM. With the large grants and funding being put into STEM education right now, utilizing these resources and following Charting A Course for Success: America’s Strategy for STEM Education path will have a great effect on your child’s and/or student’s STEM literacy.
STEM Sports® is thrilled to be a part of making quality STEM education and STEM activities accessible to students throughout the United States in the years to come!