With more and more high schools emphasizing the importance of STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) education for all of their students, an important issue has been raised. How does one effectively recognize those students who are excelling in STEM?
In Colorado and elsewhere, that question has been answered with an effort to add a STEM designation to high school diplomas. There, teachers came together to help better recognize those students who were meeting state benchmarks when it came to workforce readiness in technology and computing. So STEM seals were born.
But the idea comes with some controversy. As Stephen Sawchuk of Education Week recently reported:
STEM endorsements are still so new overall that there are few insights on how they will play out on the ground for students—and whether the new credentials will come to signify anything of value to employers or colleges.
For now, advocates in the STEM fields generally are of two minds on the development of these new credentials. Many are supportive of incentives to enrich what’s often seen as high schoolers anemic diet of math and science. But advocates also say schools will face challenges in ensuring that all students will have the opportunity to earn them.
As an education community, we need to address those challenges. We can all agree on the importance of STEM skills, both for postsecondary education and for career. All students, then, should have the opportunity to earn STEM credentials. Kudos to Colorado – as well as Hawaii, Nevada, New York, Ohio, and Texas – for making such STEM credentialing a priority for their schools and students.