“It’s said the American STEM education pipeline is leaking,” new President of the Bayer MaterialScience North American region, Jerry MacCleary, said as he laid out a series of strategies “to make the pipeline less leaky.”
Bayer’s Strategies for improving STEM Education
(listed by Reporter Malia Spencer)
[list1]<li>Start early to grab student interest in elementary school. Bayer research has shown it’s important to grab student interest before age 11.</li><li>Inquiry-based and hands-on learning is key. “We would never expect students to learn to paint from memorizing techniques,” he said, and the same applies to science.</li><li>Ensure teachers, especially elementary school teachers, are well trained and have opportunities for regular professional development.</li><li>Expose students to real-life scientists and engineers so they can see what a career path looks like.</li>Offer students access to hands-on science projects while in school.</li><li>Show students and parents that a STEM job does not require a four-year degree or a doctorate. “The notion that all STEM jobs require a Ph.D. is a total fallacy,” MacCleary said, noting that many jobs require two-year technical training or on-the-job-training for process and production employees.</li><li>Reform higher education STEM programs. Bayer and other research has shown that college is a place where many students leave STEM.</li><li>Get the word out that companies, like Bayer, are trying to connect with educators and school districts, where it can be difficult to get school board support.</li>[/list1]
These are great strategies and ones that are grounded in the engineering and science education literature. MacCleary provides an excellent summary of lots of combined efforts among researchers, educators, parents, and other people who care about improving the quality of STEM education, and increasing the participation in STEM Careers.
Industry drives education, and if industry is not involved in this massive equation, then our schools will not provide them with the type of skilled workers needed. The leadership of companies like Bayer, Lockheed Martin, and Texas Instruments, are great examples of the involvement needed to reform education and create a new generation of technologically literate and STEM skilled workers to meet the demands of many jobs yet to be created.
READERS CHIME IN:
Do you work for a major corporation that is investing in and working to improve STEM education? Share a link to your companies efforts, and let the community know what this means to you.