When someone hears the word STEM, they usually think of stem cell research, or something along those lines. But in reality STEM is an abbreviation for science, technology, engineering, and math. This is a system that has been setup to help the world countries and the US find out how well we do in these four categories. These categories were chosen because they are the four that are most important when it comes to any developing country.
The US and STEM
Currently the United States is ranked 52nd in the world when it comes to STEM, which is a major embarrassment. The U.S. has been near the front of technological advances in science, but over the last decade both education and manufacturing have slipped drastically. The US is no longer considered a powerhouse in these fields. Here are some statistics that are surprising.
The US ranks 27th in developed nations in the number of college students that are receiving undergraduate degrees in engineering or science.
The US ranks 52nd in science education.
The US ranks 52nd in mathematics.
The US has more foreign students in US graduate programs than actual US citizens.
2/3 of those who are getting a Ph.D. in engineering from US Universities are not US Citizens.
The US ranks 5th and dropping in overall global competitiveness in STEM.
How the US can Gain Ground
The U.S. can regain lost ground by simply getting programs up and running again. Former President George W. Bush had many STEM programs started and they are still running today. However, President Obama is looking to consolidate the programs into better functioning systems. Previously, there were over 226 different STEM programs and the current administration has set into motion the means to reduce this into less than 100 different total programs.
This would allow for STEM and its programs to be monitored better than previous years and would make those who oversee the programs accountable for how they perform. President Obama has built into one of his latest budget proposals an increase to thee funding of STEM.
Change Is Coming
The United States is fully capable of reversing the course they have set in the STEM program and around the world they can be viewed as more than an underachieving nation in the hard sciences.. By investing in the programs that are already there and making sure that the funds are used to produce better educated and more productive students, professors, and people, the U.S. is sure to start to rise up the numbers again. It won’t happen in a single year but it very well can happen in the next 5 years.
STEM jobs are only going to increase and any student looking for a bright future only need to work hard in the right major.