Monday, August 8, 2005

Tapping Our Potential - An Industry Challenge

Posted on: Mon, 08 Aug 2005 09:17:51 -0400  by: G. Snyder

On July 27 the following top business and technology associations called for doubling the number of math, science, technology and engineering graduates by 2015:
  • AeA
  • Business-Higher Education Forum
  • Business Roundtable
  • Council on Competitiveness
  • Computer Systems Policy Project (CSPP)
  • Information Technology Association of America (ITAA)
  • Information Technology Industry Council
  • Minority Business RoundTable
  • National Association of Manufacturers
  • Semiconductor Industry Association
  • Software and Information Industry Association
  • TechNet
  • Telecommunications Industry Association
  • U.S. Chamber of Commerce
This group released a report entitled, "Tapping America's Potential (TAP): the Education for Innovation Initiative" that can be found at:

The report focuses on five areas to increase number of bachelor's degrees awarded in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics:

1. Build public support for making improvement in science, technology, engineering and mathematics performance a national priority.

2. Motivate U.S. students and adults, using a variety of incentives, to study and enter science, technology, engineering and mathematics careers, with a special effort geared to those in currently underrepresented groups.

3. Upgrade K-12 mathematics and science teaching to foster higher student achievement, including differentiated pay scales for mathematics and science teachers.

4. Reform visa and immigration policies to enable the United States to attract and retain the best and brightest science, technology, math and engineering students from around the world to study for advanced degrees and stay to work in the United States.

5. Boost and sustain funding for basic research, especially in the physical sciences and engineering.
Most of us have seen the stats - here are a few examples pulled from the report:

- Although U.S. fourth graders score well against international competition, they fall near the bottom or dead last by 12th grade in mathematics and science, respectively.
- By 2010, if current trends continue, more than 90 percent of all scientists and engineers in the world will be living in Asia.
- The percentage of students in the U.S. planning to pursue engineering degrees declined by one-third between 1992 and 2002.

Funding for basic research in the physical sciences as a percentage of the gross domestic product has declined by half since 1970.

We are being clobbered in science, technology, engineering and math achievement by the rest of the world and should make us realize how critical our academic work is for our country. The 18 page report (including endnotes) is worth a careful read.

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