I mean, really?? This is some sort of revelation?
Turns out it is. Curriculum Matters posted on a study commissioned by Intel and performed in collaboration with Change the Equation.
The first paragraph of the Intel press release is a statement of what I would have thought would be obvious:
Tackling the issue of graduating more American engineers may be easier than originally thought, according to a new survey of teens commissioned by Intel Corporation. The survey found that a lack of familiarity with the profession is a significant barrier to getting American teenagers to pursue engineering careers. Yet, exposure to any facts about engineering, including the breadth of what engineers actually do and, specifically, how much money they earn, leads more than half of teens to say they are more likely to consider engineering as a career.
So yes, it would be nice if schools, as the press release suggests, “offer teens real-world, hands-on engineering experience and interaction with engineers, like that found in robotics programs and science competitions, to improve the likelihood that they’ll get hooked on the subject and pursue it in college.”
But it’s difficult to see where the resources to expand such programs are going to come from in this cash-strapped era.
So how about this? Offer professional development for guidance counselors on opportunities in science and engineering and the pre-college preparation necessary to make students STEM-ready. Provide evening seminars at schools for parents on career opportunities in STEM fields. Lock every teacher who says “if you take physics you will not get into a good college” in the dungeon. Hire principals who make it a priority to coax as many students as possible into STEM fields. (and fire the ones who say “if I had to take chemistry to graduate from high school I wouldn’t have graduated”)