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Journal of STEM Teacher Education

Abstract

In his Fiscal Year 2015 budget, President Obama proposed a strengthened investment in education with particular emphasis on STEM. With a $600.1 million budget, the President proposed several initiatives directed primarily at pre-Kindergarten through Grade 12 (P–12) education. These initiatives will target the improvement of teaching and learning in P–12. Also, the postsecondary sector will target the improvement of undergraduate STEM education and increase minority participation in STEM. Anticipated returns on these investments include more and better prepared, connected, and informed STEM teachers; accelerated introduction of proven, evidence-based STEM pedagogies; increased youth engagement in STEM in traditional and informal settings; increased participation in STEM from traditionally underrepresented groups; and increased retention of students in STEM. With the President’s strong motivation toward providing students with relevant learning experiences that teach real-world skills, integrative STEM education is proposed as the vehicle to achieve the articulated goals. It is anticipated that STEM will become a foundational component of every student’s educational experience across the country, which will ultimately lead to a broader STEM-literate populous and a more robust STEM workforce. STEM education is touted as a critical area of education that will determine the future global positioning of the United States. This governmental and monetary support is encouraging, but we question whether STEM is a genuine priority considering that the STEM education budget represents less than 1% of the U.S. Department of Education’s budget and only 0.015% of the country’s overall budget. Is the funding in line with the purported importance, and will it be sufficient to achieve the articulated goals and expected returns on investment?

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