As the economy continues to slowly recover, investment in education becomes even more crucial to sustaining long-term economic prosperity. Our students continue falling behind their international counterparts. Statistics don’t lie.
■ U.S. students lag behind students in Asia and Europe in mathematics and science.
■ International test scores show that in science U.S. eighth graders were outperformed by eighth-grade students in eight countries.
■ In math, U.S. eighth-graders were outperformed by their peers in 14 countries.
The STEM solution
What’s the solution? We as a nation need to make science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education a top
priority. STEM education is the preparation of students in competencies and skills in the four disciplines. A successful STEM education provides students with these four subjects in sequences that build upon each other and can be used with real world applications.
Jobs of the future
Most jobs of the future will require a basic understanding of math and science; 10-year employment projections by the U.S.
Department of Labor show that of the 20 fastest growing occupations projected for 2014, 15 of them require significant
mathematics or science preparation. National PTA recognizes the need for U.S. students to do better and expand STEM
education and career opportunities to under represented groups, including women. National PTA recently teamed up with FIRST Robotics so that all families can get excited about these four subjects. More than 300,000 children and young people participated
in the FIRST Robotics competition which gets students involved in STEM through practical applications of what they learn.
Through publications, activities, and family educational programming, PTA provides a forum for informing parents of issues
relating to STEM education, including resources available at pta.org. State PTAs across the country actively work to inform
parents about STEM education. California PTA recently passed a resolution supporting the STEM education movement and
provided a comprehensive workshop, in English and Spanish, at its convention about why STEM education is critical. In addition, California PTA’s Education Commission is participating in the Sacramento State Superintendent of Education’s STEM Taskforce. Delaware PTA is working with the state’s STEM Council to educate parents about STEM through statewide workshops and with
the University of Delaware to conduct town hall meetings.
The Connecticut Parent Teacher Student Association works with the Connecticut Center for Advanced Technology on
CONNverge—a statewide, grassroots initiative that engages students in mathematics and science and helps them understand
why STEM education is important. In tight budget times, even local PTAs can help provide financial assistance with STEM
initiatives and learning tools. It is clear that making STEM education a priority is important, for our nation’s short and long-term
future. We urge families to help promote the importance of STEM in individual student success and long-term economic prosperity.
Betsy Landers, firstname.lastname@example.org
STEM Education, second edition, June 2012Distributed within: The Washington Post, June 2012 This section was created by Mediaplanet and did not involve the news or editorial departments of The Washington Post. Mediaplanet’s business is to create new customers for our advertisers by providing readers with high-quality editorial content that motivates them to act.