STEM
Crisis
54% of high school grads aren’t ready for college math. With the right math teacher training, you can ensure all of your students are prepared for success.

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The STEM Crisis

STEM Crisis White Paper

The United States is losing its competitive edge in math and science while the rest of the world soars ahead. Our knowledge capital, which fuels innovation and economic growth, is at risk. 

The National Math + Science Initiative has hard facts on why STEM education matters and why our country’s student performance must improve in order for America to remain globally competitive. 

STEM Education Statistics

Decline in Education in America's Elementary and Secondary Schools

  • 44 percent of 2013 U.S. high school graduates are ready for college-level math.
  • 36 percent of 2013 U.S. high school students are ready for college-level science.
  • 26 percent of 2009 U.S. students took Algebra I before high school. (Up from 20 percent in 2005.)
  • Only 12 percent of black students and 17 percent of Hispanic students took Algebra I before high school in 2009. But, 48 percent of Asian students took Algebra I before high school in 2009.
  • In 2013, 42 percent of American fourth grade students and 35 percent of eighth grade students, performed at or above the proficient level in mathematics.
  • In 2011, 32 percent of eighth grade students performed at or above the proficient level in science.
  • In 2009, 34 percent of American fourth grade students and 21 percent of twelfth grade students performed at or above the proficient level in science.
  • 9 percent of Hispanic and 10 percent of black U.S. students took advanced Algebra or calculus in 2008, compared to 22 percent of white students and 43 percent of Asian students.
  • 19.5 percent of AP test takers in the class of 2012 earned a qualifying score on an AP exam.
  • 27 percent of 2011 test takers took an AP science exam and 26 percent took an AP math exam. 

Decline in Higher Education in America

  • Students who progress through at least Algebra II in high school are twice as likely as those who do not to complete a four-year degree.
  • 38 percent of students who start with a STEM major do not graduate with one.
  • In 2009, men age 25 and older held 87 percent of bachelor’s degrees in engineering fields.
  • In 2009, of the 56 million people age 25 and over with a bachelor’s degree, nearly 20 million of them held a degree in a science and engineering field.

Teachers

  • In 2007, about a third of public middle school science teachers either did not major in the subject in college and/or are not certified to teach it.
  • 36 percent of public middle school math teachers in 2007 either did not major in the subject in college and/or are not certified to teach it.
  • Teacher turnover is costing America $7.3 billion annually.
  • In 2007, the average cost of teacher turnover was over $17,000.
  • Replacing a poor teacher with an average one would raise a single classroom’s lifetime earnings by about $266,000.

International Comparisons 

  • 29 nations: The number of industrialized nations whose high school students performed better than U.S. students in math in 2012.
  • 22 nations: The number of industrialized nations whose high school students performed better than U.S. students in science in 2012. 
  • In 2008, 4 percent of U.S. bachelor’s degrees were awarded in engineering.Compared to 31 percent in China.
  • In 2008, 31 percent of U.S. bachelor’s degrees were awarded in science and engineering fields. Compared to 61 percent in Japan and 51 percent in China.

Workforce

  • As of February 2012, more than half of the 30 fastest growing occupations require some level of post-secondary education.
  • All of the increase in employment over the past two decades has been among workers who have taken at least some college classes or who have associate or bachelor’s degrees – and mostly among workers with bachelor’s degrees.”
  • The number of science and engineering (S&E)  bachelor’s degree completions has grown by 19% from 2009 to 2013, compared to 9% growth for non-S&E disciplines.
  • Of the 15 Major categories, Engineering has the highest median earnings, yet less than 20% of students choose a STEM path.
  • In 2008, 59 percent of all jobs in the U.S. economy required post-secondary education. (Up from 28 percent in 1973.)
  • By 2018, it is projected that 63 percent of all jobs in the U.S. economy will require post-secondary education. 
  • By 2018, 92 percent of traditional STEM jobs will be for those with at least some post-secondary education and training.
  • 23 percent of STEM workers are women, however women make up 48 percent of workers in all occupations.
  • In 2009, 12 percent of STEM workers were non-Hispanic black and Hispanic. But,non-Hispanic black and Hispanic individuals accounted for 25 percent of overall employment.
  • Women received 29.6 percent of computer science B.A.’s in 1991, compared to 18.2 percent in 2010.
  • 23 percent of STEM workers are women, however women make up 48 percent of workers in all occupations.
  • Jobs in computer systems design and related services, a field dependent on high-level math and problem-solving skills, are projected to grow 45 percent between 2008 and 2018.
  • The U.S. may be short as many as three million high-skills workers by 2018.

Research and Development

  • In 2009, U.S.scientists fielded nearly 29 percent of research papers in the most influential journals compared to 40 percent in 1981. STEM Crisis is causing a reduction in research which leads to growth.
  • By 2009, for the first time, over half of U.S. patents were awarded to non-U.S. companies because STEM shortcomings are forcing a hold on innovation.
We need to move the needle – immediately and sustainably — on student performance in critical STEM areas. Our partnership with NMSI helps accomplish that.”
- Rex Tillerson, Chairman and CEO of ExxonMobil

STEM Crisis Page Stats and References