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STEM 2026 A Vision for Innovation in STEM Education- US Dept of Education via AIR

January 22, 2017
Executive Summary

Building on the priority to support science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM1 ) education set by the Obama Administration that is reflected in several of the Administration’s initiatives,2 the U.S. Department of Education (the Department) is releasing a report outlining a vision to carry on that legacy in the coming decade. This vision was informed by the key observations, considerations, and recommendations put forth by a varying range of STEM education thought leaders and experts from the field during a series of 1.5-day workshops convened by the Department in collaboration with American Institutes for Research (AIR). This report is a resource that provides examples, not endorsements, of resources that may be helpful in reaching the STEM 2026 vision as outlined by the field experts. 
The complexities of today’s world require all people to be equipped with a new set of core knowledge and skills to solve difficult problems, gather and evaluate evidence, and make sense of information they receive from varied print and, increasingly, digital media. The learning and doing of STEM helps develop these skills and prepare students for a workforce where success results not just from what one knows, but what one is able to do with that knowledge.3 Thus, a strong STEM education is becoming increasingly recognized as a key driver of opportunity, and data show the need for STEM knowledge and skills will grow and continue into the future. Those graduates who have practical and relevant STEM precepts embedded into their educational experiences will be in high demand in all job sectors. It is estimated that in the next five years, major American companies will need to add nearly 1.6 million STEM-skilled employees (Business Roundtable & Change the Equation, 2014). Labor market data also show that the set of core cognitive knowledge, skills, and abilities that are associated with a STEM education are now in demand not only in traditional STEM occupations, but in nearly all job sectors and types of positions (Carnevale, Smith, & Melton, 2011; Rothwell, 2013). 
The nation has persistent inequities in access, participation, and success in STEM subjects that exist along racial, socioeconomic, gender, and geographic lines, as well as among students with disabilities. STEM education disparities threaten the nation’s ability to close education and poverty gaps, meet the demands of a technology-driven economy, ensure national security, and maintain preeminence in scientific research and technological innovation.
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