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The science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields are collectively considered core technological underpinnings of an advanced society, according to both the National Research Council and the National Science Foundation. In many forums (including political/governmental and academic) the strength of the STEM workforce is viewed as an indicator of a nation's ability to sustain itself. Maintaining a citizenry that is well versed in the STEM fields is a key portion of the public education agenda of the United States of Americamarker. Substantial lobbying is underway in Washington, DCmarker to raise awareness of STEM education issues.

In the State of the Union Address on January 31, 2006, United States President George W. Bush announced the American Competitiveness Initiative. Bush proposed the initiative to address shortfalls in federal government support of educational development and progress at all academic levels in the STEM fields . In detail, the initiative called for significant increases in federal funding for advanced R&D programs (including a doubling of federal funding support for advanced research in the physical sciences through DOE) and an increase in U.S. higher education graduates within STEM disciplines.

In 2006, the United States National Academies expressed their concern about the declining state of STEM education in the United States. Its Committee on Science, Engineering and Public Policy developed a list of 10 actions federal policy makers could take to advance stem education in the United States to compete successfully in the 21st century. Their top three recommendations were to:
  • increase America’s talent pool by improving K-12 science and mathematics education;
  • strengthen the skills of teachers through additional training in science, math and technology; and
  • enlarge the pipeline of students prepared to enter college and graduate with stem degrees.

The National Aeronautics and Space Administrationmarker also has implemented programs and curricula to advance STEM education in order to replenish the pool of scientists, engineers and mathematicians who will lead space exploration in the 21st century.

The NASA Means Business competition, sponsored by the Texas Space Grant Consortium, furthers that goal. College students compete to develop promotional plans to encourage students in middle and high school to study STEM subjects and to inspire professors in STEM fields to involve their students in outreach activities that support STEM education.

The National Science Foundation has numerous programs in STEM education, including some for K-12 students such as the ITEST Program that supports The Global Challenge Award ITEST Program

Members of the STEM Education Coalition

"The Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Education Coalition works to support STEM programs for teachers and students at the U. S. Department of Education, the National Science Foundation, and other agencies that offer STEM related programs." [216857]

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