Saturday, May 25, 2013

Why are we promoting STEM preparation so vigorously?

Sent to Education Week, May 25, 2013.

“High school students are being told to take more rigorous math and science courses if they want to be prepared for college and get lucrative jobs in STEM careers.” (“High School Students Taking More Math and Science Courses,” May 23).

Will taking more rigorous math and science courses lead to “lucrative jobs in STEM careers”? Maybe not.

There is published data that suggests that American students are taking more math and science than the economy needs: According to Ed Week, in 2009, 16% of high-school seniors had taken calculus, but according to Michael Handal of Northeastern University, only 5% of new openings require calculus.

Rutgers Professor Hal Salzman has concluded that there are two to three qualified graduates for each science/tech opening. Studies have also shown the US is producing more Ph.D.s in science than the market can absorb.  

Why are we promoting STEM preparation so vigorously?

Stephen Krashen

Original Article:


No STEM crisis: Salzman, H. & Lowell, B. L. 2007. Into the Eye of the Storm: Assessing the Evidence on Science and Engineering Education, Quality, and Workforce Demand. Available at SSRN:; Salzman, H. and Lowell, L. 2008. Making the grade. Nature 453 (1): 28-30.; Teitelbaum, M. 2007. Testimony before the Subcommittee on Technology and Innovation. Committee on Science and Technology, U.S. House of Representatives, Washington, DC, November 6, 2007 ;Toppo, G. and Vergano, D. 2009.  Scientist shortage? Maybe not. USA Today, August 9, 2009; The Ph.D Bust: America's Awful Market for Young Scientists—in 7 Charts.

Only 6% require calculus:

No comments:

Post a Comment