Is STEM Important, or Not?

Marc Tucker at Education Week wrote this week that STEM education makes no sense. His article starts with a provocative premise and quickly moves to common sense worth mulling over. Tucker is not questioning the importance of STEM skills. Rather he is saying that our emphasis on them as the latest, greatest educational focus masks our need to improve schooling across the board, not just in science and math. Tucker writes:

The countries that are producing more people with higher skills in mathematics, science, engineering, technology, and science [sic] don't have STEM programs. When we do benchmarking research in those countries, we don't hear their educators talking about STEM priorities. We don't hear their industrial leaders doing that either. The term is not used. The programs don't exist.

What is going on here? How come they are doing better at this when we have STEM programs and they don't?  

The answer is that they have education systems that work and we don't.

Tucker then succinctly offers his take on what countries that outperform the US do differently. He says their strategies "are not mysterious."