"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Monday, September 24, 2012

Is there a STEM (Science Technology Engineering Math) crisis?

It is not clear that there is a STEM shortage, Some analysts, in fact, have claimed that there is a surplus of STEM-trained professionals (Teitelbaum, 2007; Toppo and Vergano, 2009; Bracey, 2009.)

A report of the World Economic Federation (Schwab, 2012) confirms that there is no crisis. The US ranks near the top of the world on all categories related to STEM education and availability of expertise: According to the World Economic Federation, the US ranks 5th out of 144 countries in "availability of scientists & engineers," is tied for 5th in "quality of scientific research institutions," ranks 3rd in "university-industry research collaboration” and ranks 7th “capacity for innovation,” which means that American innovation comes largely from research efforts done in the US.

Only three countries ranked in the top ten in all four of these categories: Sweden, Israel, and the US. China didn’t come close to the top ten in any of them.

"… the impending shortage of scientists and engineers is one of the longest running hoaxes in the country" (Bracey, 2009).


Bracey, G. 2009. Education Hell: Rhetoric Vs. Reality. Alexandra, VA: Educational Research Service.
Schwab, K. 212. The Global Competiveness Report, 2012-2013: Full Data Education. World Economic Forum.
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

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