Why is STEM Important?
Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) fields are growing with a high demand for students. STEM education is important in higher education and K-12. STEM students are the human capital needed to lead the state of Missouri and our country toward growth and success in this global era.
- According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the US is 25th in ranking for mathematics and 17th for science compared to the rest of the world.
- The Alliance for Science and Technology Research in America states that 143,000 STEM-related jobs will be available in Missouri by 2018 – an amount that will not be able to be fulfilled with the current amount of Missouri students earning these degrees.
- Momathandscience.com shows Missouri’s 4th grade students score high in math and science, but then score toward the bottom by 12th grade; this mirrors the national statistic which explains students are losing interest in these subjects by the time they reach college.
- The ACT shows a lower score in science and mathematics as well; in 2012, with 75% of Missouri high school graduates who took the ACT, only 46% met college readiness benchmarks in mathematics and only 33% met college readiness benchmarks in science.
Overall, these statistics show Missouri’s lack of preparation in these subjects and that we should make a change for improvement in STEM education!
What is ASUM doing to help?
ASUM’s STEM efforts began with HB1855 during the 96th General Assembly. HB1855 established the Missouri Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Initiative within the Department of Higher Education to increase interest and the number of graduates in these fields. The bill created the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Fund for appropriated moneys and matching institutional funds for endowed teaching professorships, scholarships, youth programs, and career enhancement for elementary and secondary teachers and professors at public and private colleges and universities. Unfortunately, the fund has gone unfunded.
Representative Curtis has sponsored HB934 this session which allows any taxpayer hiring a person who is currently enrolled as a student majoring in STEM, at any two-year or four-year public or private Missouri college or university, to fill an internship position in the fields of science, technology, engineering, or mathematics, may apply to have up to five thousand dollars of the taxpayer’s state tax liability removed from the general fund and placed in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fund.