Our economy needs STEM skills.
Not only does it need STEM skills, but it rewards people who have them – significantly more than those who don’t.
As educators, we have two major responsibilities on the STEM front:
- Create STEM exposure opportunities for students who might lack access, and
- Make those opportunities as rich and engaging as possible.
Determining how to do those things successfully and on a large scale (and not just on a case-by case basis) requires looking at some large-scale data – some of which we have, and some of which we don’t.
This multi-part series will look at some of the data we have, some of the problems those data suggest, some solutions currently in use and development, and where to look to answer our next questions.
Part I: The State of STEM
For reference, in 2012 the US resident population of 18-24 years old was 63% white, 5% Asian and Pacific Islander, 12% black, 17% Hispanic or Latino, less than 1% (0.7%) Native American/Alaskan Native, and 2% mixed-race (non-Hispanic). [Note: to my knowledge, all race and ethnicity data is self-reported, and Hispanic/Latino may refer to any race. Some citizens identify as more than one race or ethnicity, and percentages may not add up to 100 in all data sets.] Data used for the charts in this section comes from the NSF, and is freely available here. (Thanks, NSF!)
The 4-year college and university population in 2012 looked like this: Continue reading