STEM Makes No Sense

STEM-Education1According to Marc Tucker at EdWeek:

Here is an interesting fact.  The countries that are producing more people with higher skills in mathematics, science, engineering, technology and science don’t have STEM programs.  When we do benchmarking research in those countries, we don’t hear their educators talking about STEM priorities.  We don’t hear their industrial leaders doing that either.  The term is not used.  The programs don’t exist.

What is going on here?  How come they are doing better at this when we have STEM programs and they don’t? 

The answer is that they have education systems that work and we don’t.  When we start falling behind in an area, we invent a program.  When they start falling behind, they ask, What’s wrong with our system?  And they fix it.  The truth is that “programs” won’t work in an arena like this.  The causes of our poor performance in these disciplines run deep.  Those causes implicate the inner workings of our education system.  It is not possible to ring fence the STEM subjects from the system itself, nor is it possible to build a strong secondary school STEM program on a weak elementary school curriculum.  If you try to do that, you will fail.  If you think that you can fix the problems in the STEM subjects without fixing the larger system, you will find that any progress you make will be limited and even that progress will disappear very quickly as the system reverts to form as soon as your back is turned.  This is not because educators are opposed to your objectives or fail to share your hopes for their students.  It is because they are as much trapped by the system as you are.  We are all in this together. 

Read the whole thing.

Another reason why the current course Jeb Bush, Bill Gates and company are leading us on is asinine.  They are not committed to making the changes that are actually necessary.