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Science Technology Engineering Math

  Kristen  Tringali   December  15,  2013   Professor  Maney   CCE  110  


Introduction S.T.E.M. is  an  acronym  for  the  fields  of  study  in  the  categories  of  science,   technology,  engineering,  and  mathematics.  The  term  is  typically  used  in  addressing   education  policy  and  curriculum  choices  in  schools  from  kindergarten  through  college.   There  is  an  international  consciousness  component  that  comes  with  this  pairing  of   disciplines,  with  the  hopes  to  better  American  children  who  will  be  entering  the   workforce.  As  a  nation  vying  to  be  at  the  cutting  edge  of  quality  of  life  and  technology,   this  system  provides  an  excellent  framework  from  which  to  build  upon  in  the  future,  and   guarantees  American  involvement  in  international  markets.  The  idea  behind  this  type  of   education  is  ultimately  to  prepare  students  for  future  careers  in  the  fields  of  science,   technology,  engineering,  and  math,  meanwhile  simultaneously  improving  education   systems  and  promoting  America  as  a  country  of  intellectual  and  technical  vigor  and   innovation.     STEM  is  an  important  and  relevant  system  for  several  reasons.  This  type  of   education  will  prepare  students  to  work  in  the  twenty  first  century.  The  demands  of  the   work  force  have  changed  significantly  over  time-­‐and  the  trend  is  overwhelmingly   pointing  away  from  routine  and  manual  tasks  to  skilled  and  adaptive  ones.  Workforce   projections  for  2020  by  the  U.S.  Department  of  Labor  support  these  demands,  and   project  their  endurance  far  into  the  future.    Occupations  that  typically  need  some  type   of  postsecondary  education  for  entry  are  projected  to  grow  the  fastest  during  the  2010-­‐ 2020  decade.  According  to  the  United  States  Department  of  Labor,  of  the  22  major  

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occupational groups,  jobs  that  require  a  science,  technology,  engineering,  or  math   background/preliminary  training  have  the  highest  expected  growth  ratesI.    We  must  act  now  to  ensure  the  futures  of  the  next  generation  of  leaders,  and   STEM  education  will  truly  act  as  an  effective  method  of  doing  so.  According  to  the  U.S.   Department  of  Education,  approximately  8.06%  of  all  degrees  from  various  universities   are  for  science,  technology,  engineering,  or  math.  Below  is  a  table  that  I  constructed,   illustrating  the  frequencies  and  percentages  of  college  degrees  by  subject,  as  contrasted   to  all  degrees  awarded.                            Table  1:Degree  Attainment  by  SubjectII                      Considering  the  increasing  demand  for  jobs   Degree  Field   Frequency   Percentage   Science  

107,455

3.21%

Technology

2,136

.6%

Engineering

117,952

3.52%

Math

24,307

.73%

Non-­‐STEM

3,099,319

92.49%

of this  nature,  it  is  imperative  that  we   increase  the  number  of  students  who  seek   to  achieve  degrees  in  these  subject  areas.  If   students  continue  to  pursue  degrees  in   other  areas,  it  will  be  difficult  for  the   United  States  to  participate  successfully  in   the  global  economy.  In  addition,  the  baby  

boomer generation  is  aging,  leaving  many  jobs  to  be  filled  by  the  newest  college  and   high  school  graduates,  especially  in  the  fields  of  science,  technology,  engineering,  and   math.    

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Real World Applications

It is  important  to  understand  the  implications  of  using  a  STEM  based  system  as  a   tenet  of  a  community  benefits  agreement,  as  we  have  discussed  during  the  semester.  I   have  looked  up  programs  that  have  a  similar  structure  to  the  one  that  we  are  trying  to   create,  however,  there  are  not  many  other  community  benefits  agreements  that  include   a  STEM  education  program.    To  supplement  the  lack  of  information  on  that  particular   combination,  I  have  also  compiled  sources  that  discuss  STEM  programs  in  the  academic   setting,  on  a  national  level,  state  level,  and  district  level.  The  division  between  these   different  social  spheres  will  allow  us  to  examine  the  organizational  structures  based  on   the  number  of  students  served.  The  techniques  from  these  three  current  programs,  as   well  as  one  community  benefits  agreement  will  draw  parallels  between  the  techniques   used  in  both  the  present  and  those  with  hopes  for  the  future,  analyzing  their   effectiveness  and  strong  points  along  the  way.     Project  Lead  the  Way  is  a  national  non-­‐profit  organization  that  tries  to  promote   science,  technology,  engineering  and  math  topics  through  hands-­‐on  and  project-­‐based   courses  for  students  from  k-­‐12.  Over  two  thousand  schools  in  forty  nine  states  teach   and  have  taught  over  three  hundred  thousand  students.  The  only  requirements  for   entry  in  this  program  are  classroom  equipment  like  computer  software,  as  well  as   special  kits  for  hands-­‐on  learning,  as  well  as  an  extensive  amount  of  teacher  trainingIII.     As  far  as  a  search  can  conclude,  this  program  is  wildly  successful.  According  to   the  Milwaukee  Report  in  2009,  this  program  has  the  ability  to  close  the  achievement   gap,  a  gap  that  refers  to  the  disparity  between  educational  achievements  by  race  or  

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some other  factor.  In  fact,  according  to  the  study,  “all  of  the  PLTW  students  in  this  study   began  middle  school  (6th  grade)  at  lower  proficiency  in  math,  reading  and  science  and   with  lower  attendance  rates  than  the  control  group  of  non-­‐PLTW  students.  The  study   shows  that  by  8th  grade,  those  gaps  had  been  eliminated.”IV  I  find  this  to  be  particularly   interesting  considering  the  climate  of  my  internship  experience  so  far,  and  if  given  an   opportunity  to  influence  Hempstead  High  School  administration  at  a  higher  level,  I   would  be  a  huge  advocate  for  a  program  such  as  this  one.  The  idea  of  allowing  anyone   to  participate  in  this  program  is  also  a  notable  feature.  The  training  of  teaching   personnel  as  well  as  a  guarantee  that  this  system,  when  effective  in  the  district,  will   have  all  of  the  resources  that  the  creators  intended  it  to  have.      

A state  STEM  initiative  can  be  found  in  Ohio,  dubbed  OSLN  for  short  and  the  

Ohio STEM  Learning  network  for  long,  they  have  made  leaps  and  bounds  in  improving   the  educational  outcomes  for  students  in  the  state.  They  have  a  very  interesting  way  of   asserting  the  importance  of  STEM  education  by  taking  an  analysis  of  student  debt  after   college.  They  dispute  that  students  should  be  in  such  an  enormous  amount  of  debt  for   learning  what  should  have  been  (at  least  partially)  taught  in  grade  school.  85%  of  the   high  school  graduates  at  Metro,  one  of  Ohio’s  public  schools  get  their  General   Educational  Development  diploma  with  a  bunch  of  college  credits  on  the  side.  For  free.   This  is  not  all  that  OSLN  has  set  up  either.  One  of  their  main  points  is  collaboration,  and   in  order  to  do  this  successfully  they  have  created  a  state-­‐wide  STEM  learning  network,   complete  with  hubs,  area  based  training  center  teams,  and  training  centers  to  advertise   the  benefits  of  their  programV.    

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This program  is  very  unique  in  its  completeness.  One  of  the  subsets  that  I  find  

most interesting  from  this  program  is  what  they  have  called  “dual  enrollment”.  Each   high  school  pairs  up  with  a  local  college  and  allows  students  to  take  more  challenging   courses  within  the  walls  of  their  own  high  school,  and  receive  college  credit  for  their   efforts.  This  technique  encourages  students  to  attend  a  higher  education  establishment   and  leads  to  more  graduations  as  wellVI.  This  entire  program  has  been  very  well  thought   out  and  obviously  shows  that  the  product  we  see  today  has  gone  through  much   scrutinizing  to  produce  this  very  well  oiled  machine.      

Next, I  will  speak  of  a  district-­‐based  initiative.  Located  in  Tempe,  Arizona,  the  

Scales Technology  Academy  has  set  itself  uniquely  against  other  elementary  schools  in   the  country.  One  of  the  main  characteristics  of  this  program  is  the  heavy  integration  of   technology  into  both  the  curriculum  and  the  classroom.  Each  day,  technology  is   integrated  in  the  classroom,  and  each  student  has  equal  access  to  the  newest   technology,  including  smart  boards,  document  readers,  and  personal  computers;  items   that  many  students  do  not  have  access  to  at  home.    The  school  tries  to  balance  a  core   knowledge  as  well  as  many  invaluable  skills  that  are  especially  relevant  to  our  time,   including  creating  independent  learners,  critical  thinkers,  and  problem  solversVII.    

Whether we  like  it  or  not,  technology  is  growing  and  will  be  ever  present  in  our  

economy, lives,  and  occupations.  This  school  takes  an  innovative  approach  and  truly   empowers  students  by  giving  them  the  opportunity  to  learn  skills  that  would  normally   be  reserved  for  those  who  could  afford  the  gadgets  to  learn  on.  By  allowing  students  to  

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be well  versed  with  the  technology  that  surrounds  them,  they  will  be  more  able  to   command  the  world  around  them  upon  graduation.   An   example   of   a   community   benefits   agreement   that   includes   a   STEM   education   component  comes  to  us  from  the  Florida  Department  of  Education,  published  using  data   from  2006-­‐2007.  They  talk  mostly  about  how  their  education  system  encourages  STEM   skill  development,  but  at  the  same  time  provides  many  suggestions  to  be  implemented   in   our   plan.   The   project   of   creating   a   hub   STEM   project   can   be   distributed   among   all   levels  of  education.     Community   colleges   in   Florida   provide   many   resources   to   elementary   and   secondary   schools   in   the   area.   Below   are   some   policies/concepts   that   have   been   enacted  in  Florida  to  help  students  succeed.  Specific  examples  are  provided  along  with   the  county  that  enacted  them.  This  is  a  very  rich  source  for  ideas.VIII   •

Assistance Plus  teams  are  created.  They  are  a  set  of  specialists  that  are  there  to   help  the  lower  preforming  schools  specific  to  a  certain  geographical  area.    

Dual enrollment  courses  exist  in  the  high  schools.  This  provides  students  with  an   opportunity  to  accrue  college  credit  while  still  in  high  school,  motivating  them  to   pursue  a  higher  education.    

Tutoring organizations   have   been   put   in   place   that   help   students   with   all   subjects,  especially  STEM  ones.    

Academic competitions  encourage  learning  among  students.  

Summer camp  programs  are  in  place  that  include  the  STEM  topics.    

 

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Conclusion

Each of  these  models  are  very  effective  and  we  can  learn  a  lot  about  them  

coming from  areas  that  do  not  stress  the  benefits  of  STEM  education.  A  combination  of   the  different  approaches  to  this  type  of  training  would  be  ideal,  however,  each  works   very  well  independently.  The  pursuit  of  integrating  STEM  education  into  local   curriculums  would  be  invaluable  to  the  children  and  families  that  would  be  enormously   benefitted.  The  world  is  changing,  and  in  order  to  train  our  next  generation  of  leaders  to   deal  with  the  new  world,  we  must  start  preparing  them  as  soon  as  they  embark  on  their   learning  career.  STEM  jobs  are  expected  to  keep  up  an  accelerated  pace  in  the  coming   years  leading  to  1.8  million  STEM-­‐related  job  openings  in  2018VI.                                                                                                                       I  Bureau  of  Labor  and  Statistics.  Employment  Projections:  2010-­‐2020  Summary.   II  U.S.  Department  of  Education,  National  Center  for  Education  Statistics,  Integrated   Postsecondary  Education  Data  System  (IPEDS),  Fall  2010,  Completions  component.   III  Project  Lead  The  Way.  Who  We  Are.  http://www.pltw.org/about-­‐us/who-­‐we-­‐are   IV  Project  Lead  The  Way.  Fact  Sheet:  Survey  Highlights.   http://www.pltw.org/sites/default/files/PLTW%20Fact%20Sheet%202012.pdf   V  Ohio  STEM  Learning  http://osln.org   VI  OSLN  Regional  Centers  Training  Brochure.  http://www.osln.org/wp-­‐ content/uploads/2013/05/New-­‐TC-­‐brochure.pdf   VII  Scales  Technology  Academy.  Homepage.  http://sta.tempeschools.org   VIII  STEM  Initiatives  in  Community  Colleges:  A  program  review.  

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STEM Education Analysis  
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