STEM.. science , technology, engineering, when do we really start this conversation?

In recent days, we have heard a lot about teacher effectiveness. We  who are really interested in reform need to create a better understanding of how to prepare teachers, students and communities for the future. The press needs to do their homework and share research, reports and findings that are relevant to change. Teacher effectiveness is dependent on many factors. I offer many of the sources here. Not my work, but I have been to many metings and workshops to gather this information for other teachers and advocates.

The nation has been involved in discussions about what makes an effective teacher. The discussion has lacked the depth of expertise that has taken a reflective look at the history of STEM and the path to the understanding of what is needed for true change in education, on a national basis.I have tried to gather the information for perusal and for discussion of the real issues.

Who is concerned?

Many meetings have been held in Washington about ways to ” fix” K-12.I believe that the ongoing conversations of the nation, our education nation, have been compromised at a shallow level that only discerns legendary educational leaders who are in the guise of ” superman” ,”wonder woman” with a one person effort. Here we have the efforts of those who truly care about  have the research to back, and who have broken silos to shape the future of the nation.

How Do We Get the Right Perspective on What is Needed?

In a world where advanced knowledge is widespread and low-cost labor is readily available, U.S. advantages in the marketplace and in science and technology have begun to erode. A comprehensive and coordinated federal effort is urgently needed to bolster U.S. competitiveness and pre-eminence in these areas

. This congressionally requested report by a pre-eminent committee makes four recommendations along with 20 implementation actions that federal policy-makers should take to create high-quality jobs and focus new science and technology efforts on meeting the nation’s needs, especially in the area of clean, affordable energy:

1) Increase America’s talent pool by vastly improving K-12 mathematics and science education;
2) Sustain and strengthen the nation’s commitment to long-term basic research;

3) Develop, recruit, and retain top students, scientists, and engineers from both the U.S. and abroad; and
4) Ensure that the United States is the premier place in the world for innovation.  These are not my words, these come from a meeting that tried to pinpoint where change needed to be made.
I was one of the few K-12 teachers at that meeting. I listened and learned. Norm Augustine has been the person who has spearheaded the effort.

Rising Above the Gathering Storm “continues to resonate among many segments of industry, government, academia, and the public,” said Charles Vest in his introductory remarks at the convocation. The report received widespread media coverage when it was released and generated extensive discussions among policymakers and business leaders. then President Bush incorporated key ideas from the report into his American Competitiveness Initiative, which he announced during his 2006 State of the Union address a few months after the report was released. Congress included many of the report’s recommendations in the America Creating Opportunities to Meaningfully Promote Excellence in Technology, Education, and Science Act, or the America COMPETES Act, which was passed by a large bipartisan majority and signed into law in August 2007.

Rising Above the Gathering Storm Two Years Later: Accelerating …

There is the report that started the national conversation , the Convocation on the Gathering Storm. There was the Innovation Proclamation, and the meetings from There have been meetings and re-meetings, but the discussions have not surfaced in the press with the same interest from the public.

There are these resources for teachers from the National Academies of Science for a surface level of involvement.
The National Research Council, National Academy of Sciences, and the National Academy of Engineering have produced dozens of reports to guide educators and policymakers in improving science, technology, mathematics, and engineering instruction at all grade levels — from preschool through graduate school. A selection of these reports follows.

Early Childhood

Mathematics Learning in Early Childhood: Paths Toward Excellence and Equity
This report urges preschools to devote more time to mathematics instruction, and explains “teaching-learning paths” — sequences of lessons that build on one another — that early childhood educators and curriculum developers should use.

Mathematical and Scientific Development in Early Childhood — A Workshop Summary
Summarizes a workshop that explored research on young children’s capacity to learn about math and science, along with ways to move those findings into classroom practice.

Grades K-12

Taking Science to School: Learning and Teaching Science in Grades K-8
Stressing that doing science entails much more than reciting facts, this report recommends that the next generation of science standards and curricula center on a few core ideas and expand on them each year over grades K-8. The report also explains four principles or “strands” that should guide science education in these grades.

Ready, Set, Science! Putting Research to Work in K-8 Science Classrooms
A guide for teachers and science specialists that shows how to put Taking Science to School’s findings into practice.

National Science Education Standards
Describes what it means to be scientifically literate, and explains .what all students should understand and be able to do in science.

How People Learn: Brain, Mind, Experience, and School — Expanded Edition
Examines research about the mind and the brain to inform how teachers and schools can help children learn most effectively.

America’s Lab Report: Investigations in High School Science
Observing that most lab experiences for U.S. high schoolers are poor, this report explains how educators can improve lab instruction.

Engineering in K-12 Education: Understanding the Status and Improving the Prospects
Recommends that engineering education be incorporated into grades K-12, and evaluates 15 specific engineering curricula.

Evaluating and Improving Undergraduate Teaching in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics
Explains what good undergraduate teaching in these fields looks like.

On Being a Scientist: Third Edition
Guides graduate students and early-career researchers on conducting research responsibly and avoiding misconduct. Through case studies and discussion, the report helps readers consider questions such as how to allocate credit for research, how to recognize conflicts of interest, and what to do if errors are discovered.

BIO2010: Transforming Undergraduate Education for Future Research Biologists
Recommends that undergraduate biology courses be updated to include recent advances in mathematics, physics, chemistry, computer science, and engineering, so that interdisciplinary thinking becomes second nature for students.

Transforming Agriculture Education for a Changing World
Recommends that the U.S. higher education system reshape agriculture education to focus on the reality of issues facing the world’s food production and agriculture systems, such as increasing demands for both food and biofuels.

The United States President’s Council of Advisers on Science and Technology (PCAST) is a council, established by Executive Order 13226 on September 30, 2001 with a broad mandate to advise the President on science and technology.


The President’s Council of Advisers on Science and Technology mission is to provide advice to the President and the Executive Office of the President. PCAST makes policy recommendations in areas such as understanding of science, technology, and innovation. PCAST is administered by the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP).


On September 15, the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) released a plan for improvements in K-12 Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Education. To comment on the report, head over to OpenPCAST.

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