Use STEM education to improve civic literacy

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

During the past several legislative sessions, there’s been a steady push for more and better education in science, technology, engineering and math – known as the STEM disciplines. The push comes mainly from companies such as Boeing, Microsoft, and biomedical firms who need more educated employees. But there are other, perhaps even more important reasons to support better education in math and science.

In the 21st century, science and math education are prerequisites to competent self-government.

How do citizens assess the morality of stem cell research, or the safety of genetically modified foods? How do voters know what to believe about climate change, and which candidates will shape the right public policy responses to it? How capable are taxpayers of calculating the fairness of our tax system, or the basics of our governments’ budgets? The truth is, civic literacy is impossible without a solid grounding in science and math.

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