Public Policy and Stem Public Policy Education Term Paper

Pages: 10 (3402 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 6  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: Master's  ·  Topic: Teaching

Public Policy and Stem

Public Policy

Education is the United States has not always received the attention it deserves. We expect that our children will do well in grade school and high school so that they can go on to college to obtain a degree of their choosing. Even though this is a reality for many, it is not a reality for some. Not everyone in this country is at the level that they should be in reading or math which will prevent them from getting into a good college. With the No Child Left Behind Act, policies were put into place to bring children from lower socioeconomic statuses up to par with reading and math. It appears that the program has been successful based on various test scores. However, America is seen as a global competitor and we need to do more than bring our students up to par in reading in math.

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In order to remain a strong competitor, more policies are needed to not only bring students to the academic levels that they should be, but to level the educational field for all students. This country promotes the arts and music very strongly, but we need to understand that although these areas are important we also need to focus on preparing our students in the type careers that will strengthen the economy. We need to be in the forefront when it comes to advances in medicine, science, technology and other related disciplines. Even though we may have a good representation of people with these backgrounds, this representation is not diverse. Careers in the sciences and technology have not generally been inclusive of women and minorities. This is not because they are not qualified. It is generally because they have not had the opportunities that others have had and policies need to be developed to ensure that they have the same chance as anyone else to pursue and education in these areas.

Term Paper on Public Policy and Stem Public Policy Education Assignment

There are so many relevant public policy issues that choosing one issue can become a difficult task. This nation has been dealing with the issue of healthcare reform for years as well as other prominent issues. Healthcare, like many other policies is extremely important. However, one issue which is just as important and does not get as much publicity or recognition as some other policies is STEM Education. The acronym stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. These are areas where some do not consider the United States as a forerunner. Not only is this country not considered as strong in STEM as other countries, we face and even bigger issue with minorities and women lacking in all of these areas. If we do not put policies in place that will increase education in these fields to make the United States more competitive, this country will find that it will be left behind.

STEM can be viewed from many different public administration perspectives, but an economic perspective is one that stands out. Science, technology, engineering and mathematics are all needed in order to boost the economy. There is a shortage of individual who can fill jobs with backgrounds and the shortage continues to increase. Although the United States must strengthen the number of qualified students in these areas, it is important to note that not every student will excel in STEM education. It is also important to note that even though there is a shortage of students majoring in such areas, there is not a surplus of jobs available. According to Atkinson, only about 5% of available jobs are STEM jobs. He says that since not every student is interested in and wants to pursue a career in STEM, excessive study in these fields should not be forced. STEM education should be encouraged to those students who show a genuine interest and promise in this path. Atkinson believes that the United States shouldn't force STEM throughout a person's education. Forcing students does not create more interest in these areas of study and the number of dropouts would decrease. Catering to students who show interest and promise means retention and this would solve the STEM work shortage (2012).

Atkinson makes some strong points. While it is important for students to have a well-rounded education, forcing subjects on them will probably not make them have an appreciation for it, but rather dread it. A certain amount STEM education should be mandatory whether there is an interest or not, just as a certain amount of literature, English, etc. should be mandatory to students who are primarily interested in a STEM education. However, it is important to note that quality is much more important than quantity. We do not want to crank out thousands of STEM educated students because they were forced into learning these subjects. Parents and teachers must focus on those students who show promise in these areas and who also show a desire to learn more about the subject matter. If students are genuinely interested, the likelihood of dropouts will certainly be low.

For those students who are naturally gifted and show genuine interest in STEM, schools and educational facilities should create environments that promote learning in order to be able to fill jobs requiring a STEM education. A good place to begin would be to create STEM-libraries. Duff says that creating a STEM library is relatively simple. She suggests that schools start by identifying any STEM resources they already have and building on this. She says that it is important for librarians to order more STEM books and ensure that they keep up with technology. Parents also play an important role in ensuring that their children who show promise in this area take full advantage of the STEM libraries and its resources (2012). If a child is already gifted in any area of STEM, libraries such as the ones Duff suggests can only help to boost the child's interest in participation. If started at a young age, these children will be more than prepared when they enter high school and also college.

Creating STEM libraries is one way to advance the education. When discussing STEM, the focus has primarily been to advance science and mathematics in education and little has been done to advance the study of technology and engineering. Local, state and national policies should be reexamined so that a large emphasis is placed on each letter in the STEM acronym and not just a few. Policies should also be instituted that ensure teachers and educators are up to par so that they can effectively teach STEM education to the students. STEM teachers should be required to be certified in these areas so that new curriculums can be developed to align teaching practices with the goals of STEM (Bybee, 2010). If we want to produce a nation that is strongly STEM educated, then we not only need to focus on the students themselves. We first must look at those that will be responsible for educating the students.

One of the issues regarding STEM education is the lack of diversity in the teaching pool itself. This is especially true at the college and university level. Not only are African-Americans, Hispanics, and Native Americans underrepresented, women are also in the minority when it comes to individuals holding a Ph.D. And are qualified to teach STEM in higher education. It is important that minorities are well represented in STEM because of the changing dynamics of our country. The college population is increasingly growing to include more minorities and in several years, they will make up at least half of the college population. Minority students sometimes need to identify with others who are similar to them and they need to know that a STEM education is not only reserved for whites or males. Diversity in STEM is crucial because our society is changing and becoming more inclusive. Our educational system needs to reflect this diversity.

In order to increase diversity among STEM educators, policy makers have to identify areas locally and nationally where science, technology, engineering and mathematics have generally lagged behind. It should not be assumed that people perform poorly in these areas because they are either not smart enough or in the case of females, it should not be assumed that women are not interested in STEM which is a male dominated field. It is misleading to imply that no efforts or progress has been made towards increasing diversity among higher education faculty. Efforts have been made and progress has been made, but more needs to be done. According to the National Science Foundation (NSF), the United States will have to implement policies to increase the number of underrepresented groups in this field if it wishes to remain globally competitive (Hill et al., 2010). The United States is at times referred to as a melting pot, meaning that the country is comprised of many people from many different ethnicities and from many different walks of life. As a country, we need to start displaying this to show… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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How to Cite "Public Policy and Stem Public Policy Education" Term Paper in a Bibliography:

APA Style

Public Policy and Stem Public Policy Education.  (2012, June 10).  Retrieved December 3, 2020, from

MLA Format

"Public Policy and Stem Public Policy Education."  10 June 2012.  Web.  3 December 2020. <>.

Chicago Style

"Public Policy and Stem Public Policy Education."  June 10, 2012.  Accessed December 3, 2020.