For the first time ever, a majority of jobless Americans 25 and older are college graduates or people with “some college.” Should our educational system focus less on academics and more on teaching workforce skills?
Lack of interest and aptitude keeps students out of STEM majors, reports the Washington Post.
Despite higher employment and earnings for technical degrees, only 16 percent of college graduates earn degrees in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) fields. Why not?
Mainly, they aren’t good enough at math in high school, and they aren’t interested in STEM as a result. According to a study of high school students performed by the Business-Higher Education Forum (pdf) in December, only 17 percent of high school seniors were both proficient in math and interested in the STEM fields. (Fourteen percent more were not proficient in math but still interested in STEM). In fact, many students — 27 percent — weren’t interested in math or science degrees even if they were math proficient.
Students interested in STEM are motivated primarily by academic and career achievement. Non-STEM students see college as a “general life experience” and may lack “critical academic skills,” the study finds.