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KRUSE REPORT: Increasing Access to STEM Education in Indiana
Start Date: 10/22/2012Start Time: 12:00 AM
End Date: 10/22/2012End Time: 11:59 PM
Entry Description

By State Sen. Dennis Kruse (R-Auburn)

As our state’s science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) sectors continue to expand, there is an increasing demand for students with knowledge and skills in these fields to become leaders. Change the Equation – a nonprofit group aimed at improving STEM education – reported that, in Indiana, STEM skills have remained in demand despite the economic downturn. There are 2.4 STEM jobs for every one unemployed person in the state, while there are five unemployed people for every non-STEM job. U.S News and World Report estimates STEM jobs will grow 17 percent by 2018 – nearly double the rate of non-STEM jobs.

Many employers unfortunately have not found the talent they need to fill these vacancies and stay competitive. In order for college graduates to meet this growing demand, they must develop STEM skills early in their education. Indiana schools are ready to confront this challenge.

Change the Equation makes several recommendations for promoting STEM learning in our state. While Indiana tests students in science, it does not hold schools responsible for student performance. Currently, math and English are the only subjects with accountability standards attached to them. The organization also reported time spent on science instruction in elementary schools has decreased in our state – from three hours in 1994 to two hours in 2008. By placing renewed emphasis on science, our schools could encourage STEM learning early in students’ education.

It is also important to encourage learning outside of the classroom. Giving students hands-on experience in science and technology allows them to make a connection with STEM fields and understand how they could fit into them. Field trips, after-school clubs and job shadowing can give students of all ages exposure to STEM jobs and possibly spark an interest in pursuing a career in the field. This type of experience provides students with more information about the long-term benefits of becoming involved in STEM education.

However, all of this begins with teacher preparation. If a math or science educator is not knowledgeable, it can affect a student’s understanding and interest in STEM fields. Change the Equation reported that as of 2011, only 67 percent of science teachers in Indiana took three or more advanced science courses in college. If we are to fully prepare our students for a future in STEM careers, we need more teachers with a strong grasp of content.

While there are multiple ideas about how to best prepare our schools and students for STEM education, it is clear there is a demand for young people with these skills that our state must address. As the General Assembly looks at education standards this upcoming legislative session, it is my hope STEM learning will be taken into consideration.

What do you think?

Contact Information:
Name: Tracy Lytwyn
Phone: 317-234-9221
Entry Type:
Press Release
Entry Category:
  • Announcements
  • Category:
  • Education
  • Agency Name
    Senate Republican Caucus

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