July 24, 2014 SIGN IN | REGISTER

Regaining Our Lead in STEM Education | Commentary

As proud as we are of the results, the point isnít about what the NMSI has done. Itís about what we as a nation must do.

America has a large-scale challenge when it comes to STEM education. Any successful solution will have to be implemented on an equally large scale. There is a role for the public and private sector, but our challenge is to find what works and to replicate it.

Improving outcomes on AP tests can also help address disparities in STEM fields. College graduation rates quadruple to 60 percent among African-American and Latino students who complete just one AP test. The rate doubles to 70 percent for white students.

With the right approach, we can do a better job of shrinking the opportunity gap in this country through STEM education. If we want to remain competitive well into the future, we have to fix the problem. The demographics of our nation demand that the representation of minorities and women must grow.

It is encouraging to see leaders in Congress work across the aisle to pay much-needed attention to our national crisis in STEM education with the inclusion of a STEM-specific fund in comprehensive immigration reform. I am hopeful that years from now we will look back at this time as the turning point when the U.S. stopped losing ground to other nations and regained its lead.

Tom Luce is chairman of the National Math and Science Initiative. He is also a former assistant secretary for the Department of Education.

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