NRC and Navy Reaffirm Importance of STEM Education

The National Research Council (NRC) recently reaffirmed the importance of science in K-12 education by recommending that science receive the same emphasis as that currently being given to math and reading under the No Child Left Behind Act. The NRC’s Committee on Highly Successful Schools or Programs for K-12 Education released their suggestions due to the growing number of jobs, both inside and outside of the scientific community, requiring knowledge in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) fields.  The chair of the committee, Adam Gamoran, recently said, “the goal isn’t only to have a capable and competitive work force.  We need to help all students become scientifically literate because citizens are increasingly facing decisions related to science and technology – whether it’s understanding a medical diagnosis or weighing competing claims about the environment.” 

The Secretary of the Navy also outlined a plan recently to strengthen the Navy’s response to STEM education by doubling its funding for STEM educational initiatives over the next four years.  The Office of Naval Research has instituted this renewed emphasis on education and training in the STEM fields due to the rampant growth in high-tech positions as well as in response to an aging science and technology workforce.

Both the NRC and the Navy affirm the role of the STEM fields as a foundation for innovation and global competitiveness.  ONR’s chief of naval research said, “the U.S. is a world technology leader and the goal of Navy STEM is to keep it that way.”  As emphasized by the STEM Education Coalition, improvement in STEM education, with science on par with math in its level of importance, is key in preparing for a high-tech future and for maintaining our global excellence in science and technology.

See the following links for more information about the Navy’s investment in STEM education as well as the NRC’s recommendations for successful K-12 STEM education:

http://www.onr.navy.mil/Media-Center/Press-Releases/2011/Navy-Secretary-STEM-strategy.aspx

http://books.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=13158

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2011-06/naos-rrw062311.php

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