WITF Smart Talk: Students Must Improve in STEM Subjects

We’ve all heard the stories — there was a time when American schools were only expected to educate students in the basics of reading, writing, and arithmetic.  For most careers, that was all that was needed.  High school graduates could get their diplomas and get a good paying manufacturing job soon after.

IMG_6926The world is much different place today and not just because many of those manufacturing jobs have gone away.  Technology has changed the workplace and our world in ways that couldn’t be imagined 30 years ago and most of the careers that do pay well require post-secondary educations.

That is especially true in fields that involve science, technology, engineering and math or the STEM subjects.  Unfortunately, there are many statistics that point to American students falling behind their counterparts overseas in STEM subjects.  For example, in 2008, 4% of U.S. bachelor’s degrees were in engineering compared to 31% in China.

Meanwhile, less than a quarter of STEM workers are women and 12% are black or Latino.

WITF’s Scott Lamar of Smart Talk looked at what it could mean for the future and what has to change.  He interviewed Harrisburg University president, Dr. Eric Darr, and Matthew Randazzo, the CEO of the National Math and Science Initiative. Click to listen to the broadcast.