Science, Engineering, and Mathematics Education: Status and Issues [March 28, 2008]   [open pdf - 173KB]

"An important aspect of U.S. efforts to maintain and improve economic competitiveness is the existence of a capable scientific and technological workforce. A major concern of the 110th Congress may be regarding the future ability of the U.S. science and engineering base to generate the technological advances needed to maintain economic growth. Discussions have centered on the quality of science and mathematics education and training and on the scientific knowledge of those students entering other disciplines. Even students pursuing nonscientific and non-mathematical specialties are likely to require basic knowledge of scientific and technological applications for effective participation in the workforce. Charges are being made that many students complete high school scientifically and technologically illiterate. Precollege science and mathematics instruction has an important relationship to the future supply of U.S. scientific and technological personnel and to the general scientific literacy of the nation. However, several published reports indicate important shortcomings in science and mathematics education and achievement of U.S. students at the precollege level. Some findings in the reports revealed that many science and mathematics teachers do not have a major in the discipline being taught; and that U.S. students, themselves, on international measures, perform less well than their international counterparts. […] On August 9, 2007, President Bush signed into law P.L. 110-69, The America COMPETES Act (H.R. 2272). The legislation is directed at increasing research investment, improving economic competitiveness, developing an innovation infrastructure, and strengthening and expanding science and mathematics programs at all points on the educational pipeline. The America COMPETES Act authorizes $33.6 billion for FY2008 through FY2010 for science, mathematics, engineering, and technology programs across the federal government. This report will be updated as events warrant."

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, 98-871
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