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State of the Union 2014 - The State of STEM Education

During President Obama’s State of the Union Address last night, he emphasized the importance of “preparing students with skills for the new economy – problem solving, critical thinking, science, technology, engineering, and math.” Indeed, throughout the speech, the President highlighted critical industries, such as renewable energy, healthcare, advanced manufacturing and technology, all of which demand STEM-literate workers and innovators. But will our students be prepared to take on these jobs of the future? 
Unfortunately, it’s clear that our nation is still facing a STEM crisis. The latest PISA scores have highlighted as much, with the U.S. ranking 30th in math and 23rd in science. Furthermore, the latest ACT results show that only 44% of our high school graduates are ready for college-level math, and just 36% are ready for college-level science. These numbers are unacceptable, and they must change if we are to meet the rising demand for skilled STEM workers in our increasingly global economy.
NMSI could not agree more with the President’s sentiments about STEM education and we are dedicated to enacting such change, as evidenced by the amount of time, effort and energy our teams have poured into supporting America’s teachers and preparing our students for college and their careers. Earlier this month, we had the pleasure of announcing Aberdeen High School as the NMSI School of the Year for their incredible gains in passing AP scores – in fact, the increase was 19 times the national average, completely shattering and exceeding our expectations.  The student achievement celebration and the student and teacher stories we’ve heard this year are truly moving, and that success is something we are aiming to replicate in all of our 550+ schools across the country.
After our students graduate from high school, we continue to offer them educational STEM support via the UTeach program. NMSI and the UTeach Institute work collaboratively to ensure successful replication of the program to universities throughout the nation. Our efforts with this program have been highly successful, and we are helping to meet the President’s call for 100,000 skilled STEM teachers in 10 years by training and encouraging math and science majors to go into the field of teaching.  We also have some very exciting news coming in the near future about this branch of our programs, so stay tuned for that announcement.
All of us here at NMSI applaud the President’s efforts to improve STEM education in the United States, and we look forward to continue to help increase the rigor and success in America’s classrooms with help of our friends, partners, and supporters.