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Eric.ed.gov – Myths and Motives behind STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) Education and the STEM-Worker Shortage Narrartive

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The Business Roundtable (2013) website presents a common narrative in regard to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) education, “American students are falling behind in math and science. Fewer and fewer students are pursuing careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, and American students are performing at levels far below students in competitor nations on international standardized tests in these subjects.” (para.3) This message is echoed in numerous federal reports (e.g., NAP, 2005; 2010; PCAST, 2010:2012) and statements concerning STEM education from the United States’ (U.S.) President Barack Obama. The narrative posed by the Business Roundtable of a failing U.S. education system and STEM-worker shortage seems to be confirmed by businesses, nonprofits and the Obama administration, as they show their monetary and organizational support to remedy this purported STEM crisis. In this article, the author first puts the STEM-worker shortage narrative into context by exploring its development. Next, she critically analyzes the answers to the following questions: (1) What if instead of a U.S. STEM-worker shortage, there is a STEM-worker surplus? (2) What are the advantages of stating there is a STEM-worker shortage if there is none? and (3) Who benefits from perpetuating a manufactured STEM-worker shortage?

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Troels Gannerup Christensen

Jeg er ansat som adjunkt hos Læreruddannelsen i Jelling, hvor jeg underviser i matematik, specialiseringsmodulet teknologiforståelse, praktik m.m. Jeg har tidligere været ansat som pædagogisk konsulent i matematik og tysk hos UCL ved Center for Undervisningsmidler (CFU) i Vejle og lærer i udskolingen (7.-9. klasse) på Lyshøjskolen i Kolding. Jeg er ejer af og driver bl.a. hjemmesiderne www.lærklokken.dk og www.iundervisning.dk, ggbkursus.dk og er tidligere fagredaktør på matematik på emu.dk. Jeg går ind for, at læring skal være let tilgængelig og i størst mulig omfang gratis at benytte.

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