What parents need to know about STEM

By Susan Pohorski

STEM, (science, technology, engineering and math), is the wave of the future in education and employment. It is a priority for the President of the United States and the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction. If you haven’t heard about STEM yet, you will very soon. 

In 2013, the Committee on STEM Education National Science and Technology Council released a 5-year Strategic Plan for STEM Education. President Obama has included several investments in the 2015 budget related to teaching and learning in STEM subjects. This includes funding for the next generation of innovators and teachers. 

The Wisconsin 2013-2015 state budget includes $250,000 to fund innovative STEM education projects that will serve children at the elementary, middle and high school levels.

Here are five things parents should know about STEM: 

  • STEM can really benefit your child and prepare her or him for the future. STEM education fosters curiosity, provides hands-on, experiential learning, teaches collaboration and students learn from taking risks and experimenting. These students become creative and innovative. They identify and solve problems with critical and logical thinking.
  • Jobs of the future are STEM jobs. Overall, STEM occupations are projected to grow faster than the average for all occupations. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, STEM jobs currently make up more than 1 in 10 jobs in the U.S. and have wages that are almost twice the U.S. average. If you are concerned about future employment for your child, encourage him or her to consider a STEM related career.
  • STEM education is critical to our country and its economic future. The United States is behind other countries in this type of education and producing employees for these jobs will benefit our economy. Only 16 percent of high school students are interested in a STEM-related field. We have to increase that number.
  • STEM isn’t only for people with a bachelor’s or graduate degree. Many STEM related jobs require an associate’s degree or technical diploma. These include automated systems technicians, computer network support specialists, chemical technicians, and mechanical drafters. Wisconsin’s technical colleges offer many programs in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math career cluster.
  • Even young children are involved in STEM education.  STEM is not just for middle and high school students. Elementary teachers are using the blended learning environment and showing students how the scientific method can be applied to everyday life. At this level, the goal is to get students interested in pursuing STEM courses because they want to, not because they have to.


To find out more about STEM education in your child’s school visit these websites:

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