Why are STEM subjects such as science, technology and mathematics so important?


Quick Answer

STEM subjects fuel regional economies and help the United States maintain a competitive position in global leadership. Business and political leaders with backgrounds in STEM fields apply this knowledge toward policies that help advance these fields in competition with the programs of other countries.

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Full Answer

STEM education encourages individuals to become critical thinkers with increased scientific literacy, according to the International Society of Automation. Innovation in STEM fields leads to the development of new products and processes that sustain and improve both regional and national economies. STEM fields typically enjoy optimistic projects of job growth, leading to better outlooks for students with STEM specialties on the job market.

One of the most pressing reasons why educators push for increased focus on STEM subjects is the fact that foreign students often outperform Americans on international tests in mathematics and sciences. These test scores indicate that United States businesses and scientific agendas cannot be met as easily as those in competitive countries such as China, Korea and the Netherlands.

A 2010 report prepared by ACT College and Career Readiness found that only 29 percent of American graduates are ready for college in science fields and only 43 percent are competitive in mathematics, leading to a discrepancy between the United States and other high-performing countries.

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