This week, Science magazine released a special issue devoted to the grand challenges in education. It "explores the opportunities and obstacles facing science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education, at a time of high interest in the field." You can see the news release for this special issue at: Special Issue of Science Explores the Grand Challenges in Education. All articles in the special section are free with registration.
What do you consider to be the grand challenges in education? What are some of the opportunities and obstacles facing STEM education?
I think making STEM education fun for students is a place that could use improvement. Terms like "engineering" can sound scary and overwhelming to students, or like something that is too difficult. Turning "engineering" into something more relatable like "problem-solving" is important! Additionally, I think connecting science, technology, engineering, and math to other social disciplines is important. Nat Geo Education explains further this idea of an integrated Approach to a STEM education here. Does anyone have any further insight or experience with this type of approach?
I saw this article in The Atlantic that breaks down a report that assessed American public education achievement levels by state/district, which I thought was pertinent to this discussion. While everyone is used to hearing that American students lag far behind others internationally, this report makes it clear that students in some states actually do very well while students in other states do poorly, making the national average somewhere in the middle. Focusing on the lack of equality in the education system will be an important challenge for the future, I think.
Thanks for both of your insights, Amelia and Maya. Maya, your response jogged my memory about something I had read about comparing American education to other countries. It was in a book called The Homework Myth by Alfie Kohn. I read it several years ago as my own kids were in elementary school. Not only did he talk about homework but he also talked about comparing American students' test scores to other countries. His argument then was that we really weren't doing all that badly in comparison to other industrialized nations and in some cases we were doing better. It just so happens that he had an article in the Washington Post recently, in May, titled "We're Number Umpteenth!": The Myth of Lagging US Schools" He also addresses economic inequality as one of the reasons for why some schools/students do poorly. I thought you both might be interested in the article.