Monday, February 3, 2014

The supposed STEM crisis

This is an article I ran across some months ago, about the purported STEM crisis.  STEM stands for Science, technology, engineering, and math.  The STEM crisis is that we in the US (or in India, or in a number of countries that are worried about the same thing) don't have enough scientists and engineers to fill current and future positions and thus advance our economy with a basis in science and innovation.  The article points out pretty clearly that this supposed crisis, this lack of qualified STEM workers, is an absolute myth.  By no measure, in no area, is the US short of scientists and engineers.  In fact the contrary is true; we produce many more of these workers in our universities than there are available positions to absorb them.

The article's takeaway is that those perpetuating this myth are science and engineering companies, whom it behooves to have a large pool of unemployed engineers so as to keep wages lower, and certain elements in the national government, who want the prestige for our country of having so many technology workers.  The only area in which there truly might be said to be a shortage of STEM is in the general public, who would benefit by having a more firm grounding in the principles and logic of science, math, technology, and engineering, in order to inform their own lives and their own (non-STEM) work.  This would best be achieved by increasing funding and teaching of STEM in grammar schools and high schools and perhaps adult education and informal education programs.  But according to the article, we do not need more funding to universities for STEM.

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