40 Percent of Students Majoring in STEM Subjects Change Majors

blue printsIn an effort to encourage students to enjoy science, President Obama held the first White House Science Fair last fall in the State Dining Room. During this event, he tested and played with various projects that students had made. This was just one way that President Obama has been trying to increase the USA’s international competitiveness in the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) industries.

For years, politicians and educators have been trying to think of ways to increase the level of interest that their students have in science. This is even more important today than it has been in the past, as Americans are competing with people from other countries for jobs in the international marketplace.

Sadly, it seems like most Americans are still losing interest in this fields shortly after their days of science fairs end. Why? According to David E. Goldberg, an emeritus engineering professor, it is because when they get to college, they face “the math-science death march.”

Recent studies show that 40 percent of college students who plan to pursue a major in the engineering or science fields change their majors or do not earn a degree at all. If you include pre-med students in this figure, the percentage jumps up to 60 percent. This is twice as much as the attrition rate of all other majors combined.

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Obama Asks for $4.5 Billion Increase in Education Spending

President Barack Obama and Secritary of Education Arne DuncanAs part of the 2012 budget proposal, President Obama is asking for $77.4 billion for  education spending, an increase of $4.5 billion over last year. The funds will go towards teacher training in STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and math), and towards re-writing the No Child Left Behind bill.

Eighty million dollars will go towards recruiting new teachers in the STEM areas. “Engineering and math, critical thinking, problem solving–these are the kinds of subjects and skills that our kids need to achieve success in the 21st century,” said Obama of the proposal. He is also asking for $900 million for Race to the Top.

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Science Cheerleaders Promote STEM Education

Science Cheerleaders The Science Cheerleaders are a group of professional cheerleaders who also work in science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM). They aim to promote these fields, increase public interest and encourage more girls to study the sciences.

The group was started by Darlene Cavalier, a former Philadelphia 76ers cheerleader, who created the site Science Cheerleader. As the website got more attention, she was contacted by other pro cheerleaders working in the sciences. The site covers a wide range of science and cheer-related topics, from stories about different women’s career paths to discussions about how appearance affects women in the workplace.

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Obama Hosts Science Fair at the White House

Barack_ObamaAs part of President Obama’s campaign to promote science, technology, engineering and math education, or STEM curriculum, the White House is hosting a science fair to honor top student projects from around the nation. Projects featured at the White House science fair include a toilet that conserves water, a model solar-powered car, a water purifier for rural communities and a device that uses light to help kill cancer cells.

“If you win the NCAA championship, you come to the White House. Well, if you’re a young person and you produce the best experiment or design, the best hardware or software, you ought to be recognized for that achievement, too,” the President said in November.

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Energy-Efficient Schools Initiative Featured at Clinton Global Initiative Meeting

energy efficientThe 2010 Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting will feature an initiative focused on creating and supporting manufacturers, installers and unions to launch a comprehensive environmental and energy-efficient experiential education model in 500 schools across the country by the end of the year 2012.

National Wildlife Federation, green building products company Serious Materials, and Green Community Schools founder Jayni Chase have come together to create this coalition. The Energy-Efficient Schools Initiative’s purpose is to reduce barriers and encourage schools throughout the country to practice implementing energy efficiency. These practices are proposed to come through teaching students through a hands-on process. Elements of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) will be used by students to create more energy-efficient practices.

In order to make these practices materialize, students will produce models that are more energy-efficient, develop skills to meet the needs of an emerging clean energy economy and learn about conservation and efficient technologies. Overall, the Energy-Efficient Schools Initiative addresses three key problems, including climate change and carbon-based energy consumption, declining STEM education in schools, and declining human capital and locus of control which is an individual’s desire to make a difference and feel that their choices matter. Read the rest of this entry »


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