This report provides strategies to improve K-12 STEM education. It is a response to challenges and opportunities facing the country regarding the need for a well-qualified pool of STEM graduates, and a 2009 call by President Obama to ensure that the U.S. remains a leader in STEM education in the decades to come. PCAST (President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology) assembled a Working Group of experts in curriculum development and implementation, school administration, teacher preparation and professional development, effective teaching, out-of-school activities, and educational technology. In addition, PCAST worked with the Office of Management and Budget and the Science and Technology Policy Institute to analyze Federal programs in STEM education.
The strategies highlighted in the report are based on a two-pronged approach to transforming STEM education at the K-12 level – preparation and inspiration. The report’s recommendations fall under five overarching priorities: (1) improve Federal coordination and leadership on STEM education; (2) support the state-led movement to ensure that the Nation adopts a common baseline for what students learn in STEM; (3) cultivate, recruit, and reward STEM teachers who prepare and inspire students; (4) create STEM-related experiences that excite and interest students of all backgrounds; and (5) support states and school districts in their efforts to transform schools into vibrant STEM learning environments.
Key conclusions from the report were: 1) we must focus on both preparation and inspiration to improve STEM education, and 2) the federal government has historically lacked a coherent strategy and sufficient leadership capacity for K-12 STEM education.
- Standards: Support the current state-led movement for shared standards in math and science
- Teachers: Recruit and train 100,000 great STEM teachers over the next decade who are able to prepare and inspire students
- Teachers: Recognize and reward the top 5 percent of the nation’s STEM teachers by creating a STEM master teachers corps
- Educational technology: Use technology to drive innovation by creating an advanced research projects agency for education
- Students: Create opportunities for inspiration through individual and group experiences outside the classroom
- Schools: Create 1,000 new STEM-focused schools over the next decade
- Ensure strong and strategic national leadership
President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST)
President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (2010). Prepare and inspire: K-12 Education in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) for America’s future. Retrieved from https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/sites/default/files/microsites/ostp/pcast-stem-ed-final.pdf