Education Week - March 6, 2013 - (Page 32)

32 EDUCATION WEEK n MARCH 6, 2013 n COMMENTARY ▲ n n n n USING TEACHER EVALUATION TO GROW 25 TRACING TECHNOLOGY’S UNINTENDED K-12 CONSEQUENCES RECOGNIZING THE IMPACT OF AFTER-SCHOOL STEM 26 LETTERS TO THE EDITOR 27 25 Why STEM Education Must Start in Early Childhood A By JD Chesloff ccording to a 2010 survey by Change the Equation, a nonprofit, nonpartisan corporate initiative to further math and science learning, nearly one-third of Americans would rather clean their bathrooms than do a math problem. In a globally competitive economy, with employers of all shapes and sizes increasingly seeking workers skilled in science, technology, engineering, and math, this is humorous and more than a little troubling. Investing to ensure a pipeline of workers skilled in stem competencies is a workforce issue, an economic-development issue, and a business imperative. And the best way to ensure return on these investments is to start fostering these skills in young children. It is becoming increasingly difficult to define a stem “job.” Regardless of the industry—manufacturing, utilities, construction, technology, financial services—employers are looking for a talent pipeline that can produce workers proficient in the stem disciplines. Concepts at the heart of stem—curiosity, creativity, collaboration, and critical thinking—are in demand. They also happen to be innate in young children. “ If math skills are such an important component of academic success, but people would rather be cleaning their bathrooms or eating broccoli, I’d say we have a problem.” As employers look at the workforce pipeline over time, they ask themselves a simple question: Where are we going to find workers? There is cause for concern: • According to a 2010 study from Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce, about 76 million baby boomers will soon retire, and only about 51 million people are in line to replace them, creating a “worker gap” of 25 million. • This past summer, the Center for American Progress and the Center for the Next Generation released a joint report showing that more than half of U.S. postsecondary students drop out without receiving a degree. • And perhaps most alarming of all, of the 39 million young adults in the United States ages 17 to 24, the Pentagon reports that 75 percent do not qualify to join the U.S. military because they cannot meet the physical, behavioral, or educational standards for service—standards that are similar to those many industries use in hiring. When it comes to stem jobs, the pipeline issue is complicated further. The U.S. Department of Commerce projected that in the decade leading up to 2018, stem occupations would grow by 17 percent, compared with 9.8 percent growth for all other occupations. Across the country, across all occupations, there are 3.6 people for every one job. In stem fields, there is one person for every 1.9 jobs. Employers can’t find the talent to fill these jobs, which is even more surprising considering that the U.S. Census Bureau recently reported that the median salary for engineering majors was the highest of any profession. Supply is low and demand is high. There is a mismatch between projected future jobs requiring stem skills and the projected supply of qualified workers to fill them. In 2009, at the urging of the Massachusetts Business Roundtable and a coalition of business leaders working closely with the state’s lieutenant governor, Tim Murray, Gov. Deval Patrick created the Governor’s stem Advisory Council to develop a state stem plan that would ensure that the education pipeline—from pre-K through higher education—is producing workers who Kali Ciesemier are skilled in stem competencies. The implementation strategy has a component focused on pre-K. Both the plan and the implementation are now national models. There are many ideas about the most effective entry point in the education system for making an impact on student interest and achievement in stem. Some say high school. Some say that’s too late. Some say middle school. Some say 3rd grade. The Raytheon Co., one of Massachusetts’ leading employers of stem professionals, conducted a survey of 1,000 middle school students across the country and asked them if they preferred doing math homework or eating broccoli. The winner, with 56 percent of the vote was ... broccoli. It is my feeling that you can’t start early enough: Young children are PAGE 27 > JD CHESLOFF has served as the executive director of the Massachusetts Business Roundtable since 2011. He is the chair of the Massachusetts Board of Early Education and Care and also chairs the executive committee of the state governor’s STEM advisory council.

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Education Week - March 6, 2013

Education Week - March 6, 2013
Los Angeles School Board Race Shatters Spending Records
Feds, States Dicker Over Evaluations
Governors Take Varied Routes in Boosting Aid
Principal Appraisals Get a Remake
News in Brief
Report Roundup
Study: Best and Worst Teachers Can Be Flagged Early
FOCUS ON: PRESCHOOL: Obama Preschool Proposal Stirs Debate Over Training
Principals Lack Training in Shaping School Climate
KIPP Outpacing Regular Public Schools, Study Finds
INDUSTRY & INNOVATION: Wisconsin Data-Contract Fight Goes Public With Ad Campaign
DIGITAL DIRECTIONS: Pew Survey Gauges Teachers’ Attitudes About Tech., Equity
Blogs of the Week
Voting Rights Act Case Has Stakes for Districts
Back Home, Top Lawmaker Gets Earful on K-12 Policy
Policy Brief
Sequestration and Education: Frequently Asked Questions
9 California Districts Seek Own NCLB Waiver
House Panel Weighs School Safety Concerns
MATTHEW LYNCH: Tracing Technology’s Unintended K-12 Consequences
ANITA KRISHNAMURTHI: Recognizing the Impact of After-School STEM
TopSchoolJobs Recruitment Marketplace
JD CHESLOFF: Why STEM Education Must Start In Early Childhood

Education Week - March 6, 2013