Promoting science, technology, engineering, the arts and math throughout the entire Ozarks region.
Studies indicate that American fourth-grade students score high in math and science when compared to their global peers, but by twelfth-grade our students score at the bottom. Southwest Missouri (The Ozarks) students mirror this statistic which leaves many of our students losing interest in these subjects and less prepared to enter the global workforce.
What can STEM do for the Ozarks?
STEM strengthens our economic well-being.
Earning power: Payscale.com (2013) recently found that the median yearly salary for STEM-trained graduates with three years' experience in their field tend to earn twice as much as those in non-STEM career tracks.
Job force: In the professional and technical services alone, 1,107 firms employ 7,289 Southwest Missourians with a percentage grown from the previous year at 25.6% (Source: MERIC 2012)
Economic well-being: STEM based industries accounted for three-quarter of Missouri's $6.68 billion in products and services exported in 2013 which is down from $10.6 billion in 2005 (Source: WISER and MERIC).
Art, Music, and design tie STEM together and helps weave together "the whole package". The Arts fosters creativity along with new ways of thinking that open up STEM innovation. Steven Ross Pomeroy notes, Nobel laureates in the sciences are seventeen times likelier than the average scientist to be a painter, twelve times as likely to be a poet, and four times as likely to be a musician. The arts set a platform where risk thinkers think around corners of a box. Creativity and innovation has always been America's secret ingredient.
Camouflage for soldiers in the United States armed forces was invented by American painter Abbot Thayer.
Earl Bakken based his pacemaker on a musical metronome.
Japanese origami inspired medical stents and improvements to vehicle airbag technology.
Albert Einstein was an accomplished violinist.
A majority of the Ozarks students do not possess a basic knowledge of math and science.
Missouri fourth-grade students' math skills rank in the bottom third nationally (Source: National Center for Educational Statistics).
Math scores of eight-grade students have declined in national assessments, ranking Missouri below thirty-four other states (Source: national Center for Educational Statistics).
In 2013, 54.1 percent of Missouri's Algebra II students scored at proficient or advanced in math, down 2% from 2012. And from 55.1% in 2012 to 74.7 % in 2013- Biology End of Course tested at proficient or advances in science (Source: DESE School Accountability Report Card 2013).
As a result, the need for post-secondary remediation in math has increased significantly in recent years. In 2004, more than 30 percent of first-time college freshman were enrolled in remedial math classes at Missouri's public institutions (Source: MERIC analysis of DHE, EMAS data).
According to 2013 data from the Department of Economic Development- Missouri Economic Research & Information Center, 34% of job openings in 2012/2013 in Missouri
were STEM related occupations. It is projected that we will see an 11.1% increase for science-intensive jobs in our state by 2018. Here’s the question- Where will we get the workforce to supply these jobs and what will we do to make sure our students are prepared? Already we are behind in producing the amount of students in STEM needed
to meet the current demands. If you look at our high school Missouri Assessment Program scores- only 28% meet all four ACT college readiness benchmarks (72% English, 49%reading, 45% math, and 41% science). In the Ozarks region alone the Biology End of Course Test ranges from 42%- 87%.