K12 STEM education: Why does it matter and where are we now?

In this commentary, the authors consider the definition of STEM education, the current landscape of integrated STEM learning, and they advocate for a more cohesive view of K12 STEM education.

Twenty years ago, Lederman (1998) contended that K-12 schools were not engaging all students in mathematics and science literacy, not producing citizens capable of understanding issues in science and technology, and not producing citizens that had the ability to separate personal beliefs from scientific understanding.

Similarly, STEM 2026: A Vision for Innovation in STEM Education (U.S. Department of Education, 2016) articulates, “The complexities of today’s world require all people to be equipped with a new set of core knowledge and skills to solve difficult problems, gather and evaluate evidence, and make sense of information they receive from varied print and, increasingly, digital media”

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