What is STEM Education? By LittleHouseOfScience 01/12/2017 us News STEM education is a revolutionary curriculum that has changed the American education system. In most basic terms, STEM education can be defined as an innovative curriculum that encourages and challenges students to learn about four interdisciplinary subjects, science, technology, engineering, and math (hence the acronym STEM). Let’s take a further look into what STEM education is and why it is significant.History of STEM educationThe foundations of STEM education dates back to the Sputnik Era, which occurred during the mid-1950s. Starting with President Dwight D, Eisenhower, and continuing through John F. Kennedy’s presidency, America begun stressing the importance of science, technology, and math in the attempt to become the world’s leading technology innovator. Some of the accomplishments during this era include the foundation of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and landing the first American on the moon.Fast forward to the 1990s when many educators and organizations pushed the importance of STEM foundations. The National Science Education Standards and the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics even shaped an official guideline of fundamental standards on how teaches could adequately teach STEM. In the late 1990s, the National Science Foundation named this curriculum SMET. A few years later, in 2001, the foundation changed it to STEM. In recent years, the STEM curriculum has made headlines across the nation. Soon, the federal government recognized the importance and significance of STEM. In early 2009, the Educate to Innovate initiative was established by President Barack Obama. By 2021, the initiative hoped to have at least 100,000 STEM teachers. This milestone proved to be easy to achieve because in early 2016, the White House released a statement declaring over 100,000 STEM teachers had been trained and hired.Why we need STEM educationStatistics show that the United States falls noticeably behind other first world countries within the international ranking of math and science innovations, careers, and overall knowledge. If you look closely at education statistics in the United States, it makes sense that we are noticeably behind other countries. Prior to new STEM initiatives, the range of courses related to math and science offered at high schools was largely dependent upon zip codes and socioeconomic statuses. To make matters even worse, only 16% of high school graduates show an interest in a career related to STEM. Thus, STEM promotes core curriculum regardless of economic or social factors.The goals of STEM educationOne of the leading goals of STEM education is to have America rise from having a deficiency of math and science to being among one of the top math and science innovators. This rise comes from America’s youth that are still in school. Another goal is to have equal educational opportunities, regardless of external factors, as well as having students explore their full potential.How is STEM education carried out?Comprised of 13 different agencies, the Committee on STEM Education (CoSTEM) has a 5-year strategic plan that cooperates with different Department of Education initiatives to improve STEM curriculum throughout schools from pre-K to 12th grade. In addition to expanding school curriculum, CoSTEM promotes STEM education through new youth engagement and community activities. Subscribe to get the best us stories delivered free right to your inbox. Yes Please! Thank you for subscribing!