The math is simple. Over the next decade, the projected demand for workers skilled in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) will outpace supply. Employment in STEM occupations will require high school and college graduates to have a more advanced understanding of math than they do today.
Since April is Mathematics Awareness Month, let’s talk about the importance of math in education.
More than ever, students will need to learn the practical application of mathematics and not shy away from courses that are math-heavy. Higher academic standards and smarter tests that actually help parents and teachers improve our students’ math skills are a step in the right direction.
Here are some surprising statistics about the growing need to develop our kids’ mathematical abilities. Tomorrow’s workplace will demand it, and here are the numbers to prove it:
- STEM occupations—science, technology, engineering, and mathematics—are projected to grow between 2012 and 2022 by more than 9 million jobs (1.7 times faster than other jobs).
- Foreign students study STEM at a higher rate than American students (66% compared to48%) according to a report from Brookings.
- Only 16% of high school seniors are interested in pursuing STEM careers, according to the Department of Education and 63% of teens have never even considered a career in STEM.
- STEM jobs are expected to grow faster than the average for all other occupations (15%), and wages for these jobs are higher than the median for any other occupations.
- According to the Census Bureau: “74% of college graduates with STEM degrees are going into non-STEM jobs."
- According to the National Center for Women & Information Technology, “women made up just 18% of computer science college grads in 2012. In 1985, it was 37%.”
Bottom line: we need all of our students to get more involved with math, science, engineering, and technology. As parents, we must encourage and help our kids to improve their math skills. Their future depends on it, and so does ours.