Tag Archives: STEM

STEM Education and the Condition of American Science

I have written elsewhere about my doubts concerning the validity of arguments that link US economic performance to achievement test results (see William H. Angoff Lecture Series Report; The Huffington Post; GSEHD Working Paper 2.3).  And in my last posting I had the pleasure of welcoming guest blogger Sharon Lynch, whose innovative work on STEM education is spurring considerable discussion and addressing some of the most important education policy issues we face.

Recently I had the honor and pleasure of serving as guest editor for the current issue of The Bridge, the flagship quarterly of the National Academy of Engineering.  In my introductory note I suggest that there are two compelling and compatible narratives about the importance of attention to STEM (and I’m grateful to my friend and former colleague, Naomi Chudowsky, for helping me understand and articulate these ideas).  The “national need” narrative is based on the hypothesis that the future of American economic competitiveness, especially in a changing global environment, hinges on an increased supply of well-educated scientists and engineers, qualified and ready to work in demanding jobs that require higher order science and math skills.  The second narrative, what might be called the “equity narrative” emphasizes the glaring and persistent inequities in the distribution of educational opportunities and the deficits experienced by underrepresented minorities and women in the STEM fields.

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STEM Education: The Pursuit of Excellence and Diversity

Featuring Faculty Guest Blogger Dr. Sharon J. Lynch

Participants in our 10th annual Educational Symposium for Research Innovations (ESRI), or at least those who were lucky enough to wake up early on Saturday morning for the keynote address, had the extra bonus of hearing Dr. Joan Ferrini-Mundy’s superb talk about the National Science Foundation’s commitment to improved STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) education at all levels.   The timing of ESRI and of Ferrini-Mundy’s visit was exquisite, coming just a few weeks after President Obama reaffirmed that the state of our union hinges on continued investments in education to meet changing job and skill needs of the coming century. (By the way, major kudos to Professor Rick Jakeman, the faculty supervisor for ESRI, and to Chris Harriss, Student Chair, for pulling off yet another outstanding conference!)

Today I am happy to welcome my first faculty “guest blogger” to this site, Professor Sharon J. Lynch, who is involved in critically important research on STEM education.   Here Professor Lynch reviews preliminary findings from her NSF-funded project.  I urge you to read on for her thoughtful summary, which is not only substantively rich but also is a model for the ways in which GSEHD strives to connect rigorous research to improved policy and practice.

MJF
February 25, 2013

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