U.S. Falling Behind in STEM Education Worldwide
A recent ABC News report detailed declining test scores for U.S. school children and ranked them in comparison with students worldwide. According to the report, "educators received a wake-up call when it was revealed that students in Shanghai rank number one globally in reading, math and science, far outpacing their American peers."
Reversing the trend will not be easy. It will require the concerted efforts of schools, parents, private industry and public institutions.
The Space Foundation is doing our part through education programs that support PreK-12 students and teachers with standards-based curriculum that integrates science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) into all content areas. Here is a summary of Space Foundation educational outreach:
- Space Foundation Discovery Institute (SFDI), based in Colorado Springs, Colo., provides space-themed professional development, training, and support for teachers and students from around the world. SFDI houses classrooms, the AGI Space Missions Simulator at the Space Foundation Discovery Institute, an Educator Resource Center, and, in 2011, a simulated Martian terrain and robotics laboratory.
- Space Across the Curriculum, week-long intensive graduate-level courses that provide PreK-12 educators with space-related STEM education knowledge and content that is instantly transferable to the classroom. Participants can earn continuing education credits or graduate credits at Aurora (Ill.) University, Colorado State University-Pueblo (CSU-Pueblo), Regis University, or the College of Education at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs (UCCS), or work toward a master's degree in multiple related disciplines from Regis University or UCCS.
- NEW HORIZONS Space Education Program, a community-centered science enrichment program that infuses STEM education into a community through student programs, teacher workshops, field trips, town-hall meetings, and astronaut and space professional visits.
- Teacher Liaisons, advocates for space-related education who receive Space Foundation training and resources to further integrate space into their classrooms and participate in workshops and education programs at the National Space Symposium.
- STARS Program (Science, Technology, and Academic Readiness for Space), a hands-on science enrichment program for students based on participant schools' specific academic needs.
- National Science Standards Lesson Bank, free downloadable PreK-12 national science standards-based lessons, www.ScienceStandardsLessons.org.
- Jack Swigert Aerospace Academy, an aerospace-focused public middle school created in conjunction with Colorado Springs School District 11 that drives science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics proficiency through a space-related curriculum, access to SFDI laboratories and learning opportunities, and involvement with Space Foundation programs.
- Lucy Enos Memorial Scholarship, awarded each Spring to provide professional development opportunities for educators of Hawaiian or part-Hawaiian ancestry, or who work with PreK-12 students of Hawaiian or part-Hawaiian ancestry. It covers tuition, fees, travel expenses, and lodging for recipients to participate in one of the Space Foundation's week-long Space Across the Curriculum courses in Colorado Springs. Space Foundation CEO Elliot Pulham and his wife, Cynthia, fund the annual scholarship honoring the memory of Pulham's grandmother, Lucy Enos, born in Pahala, Hawai'i, in 1898.
- Alan Shepard Technology in Education Award, given annually by the Astronauts Memorial Foundation (AMF), the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and the Space Foundation to recognize outstanding contributions to technology education by K-12 educators or district-level personnel. Named after Alan Shepard, one of the original seven Mercury astronauts, the first American to fly in space, one of only 12 humans who have walked on the moon, and a former AMF board member, the award is presented during the Opening Ceremony of the Space Foundation's annual National Space Symposium at The Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs.
See the ABC news report here.