Drafts of the President’s education budget reveal deep cuts to vital programs including: student loans, mental health, after school programs, teacher training, class size reduction, arts education, academic enrichment, and the list goes on. More funding for private school and religious schools via vouchers, charters, and other “choice” mechanisms.
An area of near universal agreement among America’s leaders is the need for more scientists and engineers. In fact, this may be the one topic where our business, education, labor, and political leaders converge. While some fields have more qualified applicants than positions, the situation in the STEM fields is just the opposite. There are more openings in technology and science than there are Americans to fill them. We currently solve this problem by granting H-1B visas and importing scientists, engineers, and others with specialized skills and training from around the world. While attracting the best and the brightest has long been part of our national lore and our immigrant past, present, and future, and is something to be proud of, few would deny that we need to train more Americans in these fields. Doing so, would provide access to quality, high paying jobs currently out of reach of young college graduates searching for work and, at the macro level, would benefit our national economy and competitiveness.
Citrus Community College STEM Student
If we want to produce more world-class scientists we may need to change the way we think about STEM learning and what makes a good scientist. Continue reading →