What is the feasibility of the STEM initiative and its sustainability for the future?

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STEM is an acronym for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Judith Ramaley, a biologist and administrator at The National Science Foundation, introduced the acronym in 2001. The central idea of STEM is a school curriculum built around these subject fields and the training of a future workforce with skills in these areas. STEM has also spread to other countries around the globe.

One reason STEM emerged in the United States at this time was that American students were lagging behind their foreign counterparts in these fields. The 2006 PISA (Program for International Student Assessment) scores ranked the United States at 21st among 30 countries. It was thought that continued academic failure would diminish America's future economic competitiveness. More recent testing data from 2015 indicate that American students have not improved despite an emphasis on STEM.

STEM, like No Child Left Behind (NCLB), is just one of a series of perennial efforts to improve education in America. Education in the United States remains intractable, however: states and local school boards run schools and decide on policies. Because of its decentralized nature, widespread reform and progress on the national level remains elusive.

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The feasibility of the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) initiative lies on the current academic and social need for the betterment of mathematical and technological studies. This social need has prompted the creation of the STEM coalition. This coalition is founded upon the tenets that STEM education is essential to develop skills that produce an "effective citizenship" as well as a "well-rounded education". Moreover, future skilled workers in the STEM fields are sure to produce the economic success that a global and fast-paced world will need.

This being said, the combination of interested parties, colleges, professional organizations, and businesses may actually contribute to the firm establishment of a STEM curriculum all over the US; one which will motivate policy holders to continue advocating in favor of it.

The sustainability will depend precisely on the latter fact: the policymakers. This is clear because one of the missions of the STEM coalition reads:

STEM education must be elevated as a national priority as reflected through education reforms, policies to drive innovation, and federal and state spending priorities.

This means one unfortunate fact: it has NOT YET been elevated as a national priority. It also, as the statement says, must be driven by the initiative of the people in charge who manage the federal budget and who make the "general rules". The best way to achieve a top position on the policymakers' list is to provide the data that reflects how a STEM initiative will undoubtedly benefit our nation in both the public and the private sectors.


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