According to the 100Kin10 Trends Report, 2019 is a big year for STEM education. These five trends are among those defining STEM and education this year:
- Improved Perceptions of Teaching
Recent polls show that most parents don’t want their children to become teachers. However, the profession is gaining in stature. Many educators are running for political office, with educators making up 15% of state lawmakers in the coming year. Additionally, recent polling found that 73% of respondents said they would support public school teachers in their community who went on strike for higher pay. Plus, according to research conducted by the Colorado School of Mines, STEM teachers experience greater job satisfaction than other STEM professionals.
- Continued Strain on the System due to Teacher Shortages
Public school teachers quit their jobs at the highest rate on record in 2018, due to low pay and a strong economy that holds promise of more lucrative employment. Acute shortages of qualified teachers, especially in STEM, aren’t going anywhere in 2019. As communities and officials continue to grapple with these shortages, continued energy around teacher residencies to prepare teachers for shortage areas is expected. Other initiatives, such as improving teaching environments, are also expected, in hopes of preventing shortages from emerging in the first place.
- More Schools Seen as Places Where Students and Teachers Thrive
Research shows that the only sustainable path to student success is through schools where teachers and students thrive. In 2019, greater efforts are being made by school administrators and others who build stronger work environments for teachers. Work conducted by leading education organizations to integrate professional growth into the school day and measure positive work environment in schools has a ripple effect on how to create schools that are also great places to work.
- Future Workforce Engineered by STEM
In April 2018, leaders from the public, private, and nonprofit sectors gathered for “STEM Solutions: Workforce of Tomorrow” to discuss strategies for building a stronger STEM workforce. And in July 2018, the Perkins Act was reauthorized, emphasizing the need to develop career and technical pathways that align with STEM. This support will continue to be the case, as PK-12 learning continues to become more intertwined with the practical side of STEM.
- Schools STEM-led to a Whole-Child Approach
More and more, educators and others are realizing that STEM skills can serve as a foundation for a well-rounded education. Funders are embracing the “whole child” approach to learning, combining physical, mental, social-emotional, and cognitive development with traditional academics. Because STEM is uniquely suited to student-driven learning, collaborative work, and experimentation, STEM learning is expected to take the lead in strengthening metacognitive and social-emotional skills. There’s also a greater focus on anchoring STEM learning in joy, whether in the classroom or outside of it.