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Georgetown University: Science Technology Education Mathematics (STEM)

Fall 2011

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This report emphasizes the roles that science, technology, education, and mathematics play in producing a strong workforce and enabling the United States to remain competitive in a globalized economy.

Many among these leaders have argued that there is a shortage of STEM workers. They cite disturbing trends in the STEM pipeline, such as he fact that although the raw number of Doctoral and Master's degrees in STEM has increased, those disciplines have declined as a proportion of all degrees wanted.

Other respected authorities have vigorously contested the claims of shortage, arguing that we produce enough STEM degrees to fill all the STEM openings (Lowell and Salzman 2007; Freeman 2008; Teitelbaum 2003). These critics continue to argue that the language of crisis surrounding much of the dialogue is misleading, and they suggest that we are actually overproducing STEM talent at home, especially at the graduate level in academia. They conclude that despite increased funding for STEM education and research, tenure-track academic jobs for people who invest more than a decade of their lives in postsecondary STEM education are becoming scarcer. Therefore, these critics argue, promoting STEM is leading gifted students down a path of limited career prospects and wasted talent.

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