Growing STEM talent requires early start

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

The Enquirer brought much-needed attention to the dilemma of attracting students to STEM subjects – science, technology, engineering and math – and helping them succeed in STEM fields when they graduate (“Cultivating STEM talent: ‘You have to grow them,’” July 29).

We agree that the region needs to grow its own students who are interested in and successful in STEM fields, but we think the effort needs to start much earlier for students – in elementary school.

The National Center for STEM Elementary Education notes that a third of students lose interest in science by the fourth grade, and by eighth grade, almost 50 percent have lost interest. “At this point in the K-12 system, the STEM pipeline has narrowed to half,” the center noted. “That means millions of students have tuned out or lack the confidence to believe they can do science.”

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