STEM is an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math in education. There are STEM conferences, STEM career fairs, and STEM grants. Science in general, though, doesn’t seem to be an election issue. Readers, you know I support re-electing President Obama. No matter if you live in a blue or red state, science is a reality in our lives. National Public Radio recognizes this with their Science Friday. Some of my favorite blogs, like the new Maker Mom, recognize the importance of science every day. Mother Nature Network, another of my favorites, suggests several topics for questioning any and all candidates.
Economics: how does science fit in with innovation and entrepreneurship?
Pandemics; Can the nation protect its residents from bio-terrorism or pandemic illness? Are there enough health care providers and other trained professionals to handle a pandemic flu or other illness?
Food and Farming: What steps would you take to ensure the safety of the country’s food supply?
Space: What are the nation’s goals in space exploration?
Science in public policy and law: How are scientists and other experts involved in the decisions and lawmaking regarding scientific information? How can the public feel assured that laws and policies include relevant and accurate scientific input?
Education: Where does the perception come from that U.S. students are behind other countries in science and math achievement? Is this perception correct? If so, where does education need to change in order to teach students the curiosity and thought skills they need in order to change? What kind of funding is available? Where will the money originate?
I admit it. Education is a high priority because I am an educator and I love teaching science. I enjoy getting my hands dirty, setting up situations that encourage students to question and think, and seeing the “A-ha!” moments when the light goes on. Now that the federal government is waiving some of the extensive (excessive) testing, maybe we can devote more time and energy to teaching STEM skills. I’m in. Are you?
Thanks for the shout-out! Great points about the role science plays in our lives outside of lab studies. With a previous administration, the facts of science were often ignored, something that confounded me. I think about this every time I hear the song, “Science is real” by They Might Be Giants.
Another interesting point about innovation. Some say we should be talking about STEEM, with the extra “E” for entrepreneurship, something that’s increasingly important as the “life-long” employment at one job because a distant memory.
A second E for entrepreneurship – as soon as school dump the standardized test mentality, educators can start teaching creative thinking and problem solving.