Is STEM Crisis a Myth?
It’s an issue that has been repeated in countless reports and news stories: the United States is facing a looming shortage of scientists, technologists, engineers, and mathematicians—a STEM crisis, that is. The President has repeatedly stated that over the next decade, 1 million new STEM graduates will be needed. And to make up the difference until then, tech companies like Facebook, IBM, and Microsoft are lobbying to boost the number of H-1B visas—temporary immigration permits for skilled workers—from 65,000 per year to as many as 180,000. Without these STEM workers, the country’s ability to innovate and to ensure its national security will be at grave risk.
And yet numerous studies over the years have shown that in fact there is no such shortage. And, many critics argue, by perpetuating the myth and continuing to pour billions of dollars into STEM programs, we are setting up our students, our companies, and our country for failure and producing too many workers with no strong job prospects. The real STEM crisis is one of literacy—that fact that today’s students are not receiving a solid grounding in science, math, and engineering.
It’s time for a reasoned, informed dialogue about STEM literacy in the United States, without the political hysterics and contrived logic. Join CSPO co-director Dan Sarewitz and Robert N. Charette, author of the recent IEEE Spectrum article, “The STEM Crisis Is a Myth,” for an in-depth look at this issue and the potential pitfalls and solutions surrounding it.
- Online conversations at IEEE Spectrum: The STEM Crisis is a Myth
- Hal Salzman’s article in ISSUES: What Shortage? The Real Evidence about STEM Workforce
- Daniel Costa’s Policy Memorandum from EPI: STEM labor shortages? Microsoft report distorts reality about computing occupations
- David Plotz’s invitation in Slate: America Needs More Scientists and Engineers
Further Readings from ISSUES in Science and Technology:
- ALEXANDRA S. BEATTY – Schools Alone Cannot Close Achievement Gap
- NATALIE NIELSEN – Education, Equity, and the Big Picture
- DEREK MESSACAR, PHILIP OREOPOULOS – Staying in School: A Proposal for Raising High-School Graduation Rates
- AMY LAITINEN – Changing the Way We Account for College Credit
- CARL WIEMAN – Applying New Research to Improve Science Education
- MICHAEL HOUT, STUART ELLIOTT, SARA FRUEH – Do High-Stakes Tests Improve Learning?
- ROBERT D. ATKINSON – Why the Current Education Reform Strategy Won’t Work
- MARTIN WEST – Global Lessons for Improving U.S. Education
- HARRY J. HOLZER – Better Skills for Better Jobs
- BRIAN BOSWORTH – Expanding Certificate Programs
- LILIAN WU, WEI JING – Asian Women in STEM Careers: An Invisible Minority in a Double Bind
- DIANE AUER JONES – Apprenticeships Back to the Future
- TOBIN L. SMITH, JOSH TRAPANI, ANTHONY DECRAPPEO, DAVID KENNEDY – Reforming Regulation of Research Universities
- LISA GUERNSEY, SARA MEAD – Transforming Education in the Primary Years
- BRIDGET TERRY LONG – Making College Affordable by Improving Aid Policy
- RICHARD C. ATKINSON, PATRICIA A. PELFREY – Science and the Entrepreneurial University
- ANDREAS SCHLEICHER – The New Global Landscape of Educational Achievement
- STEPHEN M. MAURER – Using University Knowledge to Defend the Country
- JACK P. SHONKOFF – Mobilizing Science to Revitalize Early Childhood Policy
- BRUCE ALBERTS – Restoring Science to Science Education
- NILES ELDREDGE – To Teach Science, Tell Stories
- MATTHEW ZEIDENBERG – Community Colleges under Stress
- PETER CAPPELLI – Schools of Dreams More Education Is Not an Economic Elixir
- ROBERT I. LERMAN – Building a Wider Skills Net for Workers
- BRIAN BOSWORTH – The Crisis in Adult Education
- LISA HUDSON – Connecting Jobs to Education
- JAMES E. ROSENBAUM, JULIE REDLINE, JENNIFER L. STEPHAN – Community College: The Unfinished Revolution
- ROBERT E. LITAN, LESA MITCHELL, E. J. REEDY – The University As Innovator: Bumps in the Road
- BART GORDON – U.S. Competitiveness: The Education Imperative
- VIVEK WADHWA, GARY GEREFFI, BEN RISSING, RYAN ONG – Where the Engineers Are