Americans say math and science skills are important, according to a new Public Agenda survey, Are We Beginning To See The Light? The public strongly favors a “national curriculum” in math and science, the survey found. However, most parents say the math and science their child is getting in school is “fine as it is.”
While only 3 in 10 Americans see a demand for science and math-focused jobs in the current economy, 84% agree that there will be a lot more jobs in the future that require math and science skills. And 9 in 10 Americans say studying advanced math and science is useful even for students who don’t pursue a STEM career.
Parents want their children to take advanced math and science courses in high school, but few think it’s essential for all students to learn physics or calculus.
There is a growing body of research suggesting Americans are falling behind in math and science education. U.S. students rank 25th in math and 21st in science skills internationally, according to a recent OECD report, and the 2007 ACT College Readiness Report points out that only 43% of graduating seniors are ready for college math and 27% are ready for college science.
“Many parents don’t realize the importance of starting children in science early on,” says Jean Johnson of Education Insights. “Many think it can easily wait until high school.”