Is STEM Making Progress in the U.S.?

Education Technology Insights | Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Compared to other industrialized countries, Americans are typically dissatisfied with the total education provided by K-12 public schools in the U.S., and they are equally critical of STEM education.

FREMONT, CA:While most Americans think K-12 public schools do a good job of teaching reading, writing, and math, public perceptions of STEM education for U.S. kids in grades K-12 are mixed. In comparison to other industrialized countries, most Americans believe that such education is no better than average. Higher education in science, technology, engineering, and math is seen more positively. Still, only a minority of the public believes that STEM education in the United States is at least similar to that of other developed nations.

Most Americans believe that difficulties in K-12 STEM education are caused by a lack of parental participation, student work ethic, and desire to study. However, many adults believe that such issues result from teaching techniques and curriculum that place a heavy focus on meeting state standards.

Local Public Schools are Often Viewed Favorably by Parents of Pupils Who Attend Them

People who have children in public schools and Americans, in general, give positive ratings to K-12 public education in their communities. Local K-12 public schools perform an excellent or decent job teaching reading, writing, and math (73 percent) and preparing pupils for college, according to seven out of 10 parents (70 percent). Parents say local schools do an excellent or decent job of preparing kids for technical occupations (63 percent) and teaching critical-thinking and problem-solving abilities (a more minor majority) (58 percent).

Opposed to Other Industrialized Countries, Fewer Than Half of the Public Believes STEM Education in The U.S. Is at Least Above Average

Compared to other industrialized countries, Americans are typically dissatisfied with the total education provided by K-12 public schools in the U.S., and they are equally critical of STEM education. One-quarter of Americans (25 percent) believe that K-12 STEM education in the United States is the greatest in the world or above average when compared to other industrialized countries. In contrast, 43 percent believe it is average, and three-in-ten (30 percent) believe it is below average. Parents of public-school pupils had similar opinions; 26 percent believe STEM education in K-12 schools is at least above average compared to other countries.

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