The U.S. was once the epicenter of the world for science, math, technology and engineering. Other nations could only envy our prowess in business innovation, our scientific breakthroughs and our success in the K-12 classroom.
Those days are over.
Consider these statistics:
- Only about a third of bachelor's degrees earned in the United States are in a STEM field, compared with approximately 53 percent of first university degrees earned in China, and 63 percent of those earned in Japan. (Source: U.S. Dept. Of Commerce, 2011)
- More than 40 percent of US doctoral candidates in engineering, math and computer science are foreign nationals. (Source: A Commitment to America's Future: Responding to a Crisis in Math and Science, January 2005)
- Using international test scores as a benchmark, the US is lagging behind countries like Korea, Singapore, Hong Kong and Finland in STEM subjects.
As a state and nation, we'll lose the technology innovation race to companies with better trained and supported STEM workers. Then there's the issue of STEM's importance to national security, and the fact that as our STEM profile declines, we may lose social and political standing in the world community.
By helping North Carolina's students and workers achieve in the STEM fields, North Carolina New Schools and its partners and collaborators hope to make a small but significant contribution to the nation's global competitiveness.