No need for another STEM Commission or Report!

Science Express 114

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Over the last two decades, there have been countless high-powered government, non-profit, private, and other entities that have formed Commissions and generated reports to study why there are so few women and minorities in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. The theme has remained consistent. It is the same issues, over and over again. Old message, new team. Same message, new team. Frankly, much of this analysis about why students are not pursuing STEM degrees is commonsense. How is a scientist or technologist born. Begins with curiosity about the world in which we live. Students must be encouraged to ask “Why?” “How?” – not just study to standardized tests. Next, education is not entertainment. Education is hard work. Calculus is hard work. Chemistry is hard work. Physics is …. well, is brain power. So, if we go into the classroom with Powerpoint, our kids earn no points. Next, the less time a kid spends in school, the less time he learns. No surprises here. Finally, bad teachers destroy lives, kill your spirit. Good teachers take average people and turn them into stars. So the equation is simple: Foundation of STEM = Curiosity+ Strong fundamentals + Longer hours at school + Good teachers.  Give or take a couple of other issues, but this is the finding of every commission for the last two decades. Now, we can do another commission or report or we can get to work in building a strong future.

Dr. Uma G. Gupta is the Founder and President of STEM.SMART, a non-profit organization dedicated to STEM.

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