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A Call to Action for Revitalizing STEM Education (Opinion)

To the Editor:

The recent article addressing the retention of STEM teachers resonates deeply with anyone who has been involved in education in recent years (“How to Refresh a Dwindling Pipeline of STEM Teachers? Researchers Share Strategies,” Feb. 13, 2024). As someone who has witnessed the challenges firsthand as an educator, leader, and consultant, I appreciate the spotlight on this critical issue.

STEM educators must possess a versatile skill set that encompasses both hard and soft skills. This includes proficiency in crafting and delivering evidence-based tier one instruction, as well as adeptness in fostering strong relationships with students, parents, and colleagues. These competencies are vital for nurturing critical-thinking and problem-solving skills, which form the foundation of STEM education.

A fundamental aspect of modern education involves the ability to differentiate instruction to cater to learners’ diverse needs and align learning objectives with standards to address deficits and strengths through remediation and acceleration. Also important is understanding the connection between academic and social-emotional skills, such as those addressed within the Multi-Tiered System of Supports framework. There must be a comprehensive shift away from antiquated teacher education curricula toward programs that address the academic and social-emotional needs of students, families, and communities.

Perhaps it’s time for the pre-12 and higher education sectors to break out of their silos and collectively plan for the future of education. Our children deserve an education that prepares them for the challenges of the future, and this begins with adequately preparing teachers to meet the varied needs of their students.

Thank you for shedding light on this crucial issue.

Stacie Burroughs
Educational Consultant and Former Educator
Atlanta, Ga.

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