The STEM Coalition and over 90 other organizations from across the country have signed a letter to Senate HELP Committee leaders urging support for STEM education as an ESEA priority. The letter is signed by a diverse array of more than 90 local, state, and national organizations that includes teacher and education groups, and professional and civic societies, and major corporations.
Over the past 10 years, growth in STEM jobs was three times as fast as growth in non-STEM jobs. STEM jobs make up 20% all jobs today and the top 10 bachelor-degree majors with the highest earnings are all in STEM fields. Despite the growth in STEM jobs available, the U.S. is still falling behind. The percentage of U.S. companies who are unable to hire due to the growing skills gap has jumped from 14 percent in 2010 to almost 40 percent in 2013. At the same time, by the 4th grade, only 13% of African-American, 29% of Hispanic, and 40% of White students are considered “proficient” in math, with similar results for science. These numbers all go down by the 8th grade.
In today’s economy, strong STEM skills are a central element of a well-rounded education and every student needs to have a strong foundation in these subjects in order to land and succeed in virtually any job – from the shop floor to the research lab to the corporate boardroom. As Congress revises ESEA, we hope they will set a high bar for our nation’s schools in preparing students for the challenges of today’s increasingly competitive world.