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

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Beware of STEM Fever

Sent to the Register-Guard, April 2, 2014

Before Eugene's educators continue with their plans ("Leaders eye transforming academy to STEM school," April 1), they should know that a number of studies have concluded that there is no shortage of science-technology trained potential workers in the US.
Rutgers University professor Hal Salzman has concluded that there are approximately three qualified graduates annually for each science or technology opening.
Recent studies have also shown the United States is producing more Ph.D.s in science than the market can absorb.
About 1/3 of college-bound high-school students take calculus, and only abour 5% of jobs require this much math.
I am all for high quality math/science education, but we need to take a hard look at claims of a STEM shortage.

Stephen Krashen

original article: http://www.registerguard.com/rg/news/local/31325652-75/stem-students-ata-johnson-moses.html.csp

Three graduates for each opening:
Salzman, H. & Lowell, B. L. 2007. Into the Eye of the Storm: Assessing the Evidence on Science and Engineering Education, Quality, and Workforce Demand. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1034801
Salzman, H. and Lowell, L. 2008. Making the grade. Nature 453 (1): 28-30.
Salzman, H. 2012. No Shortage of Qualified American STEM Grads (5/25/12) http://www.usnews.com/debate-club/should-foreign-stem-graduates-get-green-cards/no-shortage-of-qualified-american-stem-grads.
See also:
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
More Ph.D's than the market can absorb: Weissman, Jordan. The Ph.D Bust: America's Awful Market for Young Scientists—in 7 Charts. The Atlantic, Feb 20, 2013. http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2013/02/the-phd-bust-americas-awful-market-for-young-scientists-in-7-charts/273339/
One third take calculus: Bressoud, D. 2011. Calculaus in High School: Too Much of A Good Thing? www.macalester.edu/~bressoud/talks
Need for calculus: Handel, M. 2010. What do people do at work? Available at www.northeastern.edu/socant/wp-content/.../STAMP_OECD2a_edit2.doc‎

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