The global U.S. Ranking in Math and Science continues to decline. Fewer than 15% of US high-school graduates have sufficient mathematics and science credentials to even begin pursuing an engineering degree.
Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) are where career opportunities are for quality jobs in the 21st century global economy. These jobs are the foundation of a high quality of life for our nation and the base of our high technology defense and national security. In addition, STEM careers are the drivers of the innovation that powers our economy. There is an acute shortage of students interested in pursuing these careers.
"There remain a few observers who insist that there is in fact no competitiveness issue; that concerns such as those expressed here are overstated. One can only hope that these observers are correct. But it seems imprudent to gamble the future of the nation and its children on that possibility. As Churchill said of those who argued against defense spending in Britain after World War I claiming that future wars were impossible in the 'more civilized society' then existing: 'It would be a pity if they were wrong.'"
"Second only to a weapon of mass destruction detonating in an American city, we can think of nothing more dangerous than a failure to manage properly science, technology and education for the common good . . ."
In another study, the U.S. ranked 14th in reading, 17th in science and 25th in math out of 34 countries.
"This is an absolute wake up call for America," U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan said in an interview with The Associated Press. "The results are extraordinarily challenging to us and we have to deal with the brutal truth, we have to get much more serious about investing in education". "The world is now a globally competitive knowledge based economy and our children are at a competitive disadvantage with children from other countries," Duncan said. "That is absolutely unfair to our children and that puts our country's long term economic prosperity absolutely at risk."