WASHINGTON, D.C.—The National Governors Association (NGA) today released a guide, Building A Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math Education Agenda, focused on strengthening science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education. Economic growth in the 21st century will be driven by our nation’s ability to both generate ideas and translate them into innovative products and services. Governors have been working to increase the proficiency of all students in these areas and grow the number of students who pursue STEM careers and advanced studies.

As governors look for the best strategies to strengthen state economic performance, it is important to focus on STEM occupations because they are among the highest paying, fastest growing and most influential in driving economic growth and innovation. Individuals employed in STEM fields enjoy low unemployment, prosperity and career flexibility.

“STEM education is a powerful foundation for individual and societal economic success,” said North Carolina Gov. Bev Perdue, who recently hosted a national STEM summit in Durham. “Governors have been working hard to improve education and to ensure the United States does not lag behind.”

Unfortunately, the country has fallen behind in fully realizing the benefits of STEM education. The United States currently ranks behind 25 countries in math and 12 countries in science, which is evidenced by slow growth in postsecondary degrees awarded in STEM fields over approximately the past decade. That lack of degree growth is occurring as other countries are experiencing rapid growth in their STEM talent pools.

States and their education institutions have taken the following actions to address these challenges:

  • Adopted rigorous math and science standards and improved assessments;
  • Recruited and retained more qualified classroom teachers;
  • Provided more rigorous preparation for STEM students;
  • Used informal leaning to expand math and science beyond the classroom;
  • Enhanced the quality and supply of STEM teachers; and
  • Established goals for postsecondary institutions to meet STEM job needs.

For more information on NGA’s STEM work, visit our website at www.nga.org/cms/stem.

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Founded in 1908, the National Governors Association (NGA) is the collective voice of the nation’s governors and one of Washington, D.C.’s most respected public policy organizations. Its members are the governors of the 50 states, three territories and two commonwealths. NGA provides governors and their senior staff members with services that range from representing states on Capitol Hill and before the Administration on key federal issues to developing and implementing innovative solutions to public policy challenges through the NGA Center for Best Practices. For more information, visit www.nga.org.