As part of an ongoing look at the state of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education in the United States, the House Science Subcommittee on Research and Education held a hearing to examine the potential for STEM professionals to improve K-12 education.

“It is easiest to attract students to STEM careers when they are inspired by the best and brightest teachers, mentors, and professionals,” said Ranking Member Dan Lipinski (D-IL). “This is especially true at the K-12 level, where researchers can play a unique role in improving STEM education by volunteering, serving as mentors to students, and by becoming STEM teachers themselves.”

“STEM professionals bring unique knowledge and skills to the teaching profession that traditional undergraduate students do not have or have not had the time to develop,” said witness Dr. Michael Beeth, a professor in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Wisconsin at Oshkosh.

“Individuals who have spent time in a STEM profession bring a unique perspective to the classroom and can make a great contribution to our STEM education efforts,” said Subcommittee Chairman Mo Brooks (R-AL). “At the same time, industry experience, knowledge, and skills alone do not necessarily make a good teacher. Good teaching requires an additional and special set of knowledge and skills.”

Dr. Beeth added, “it would be beneficial if all STEM professionals received explicit training regarding how they can become engaged in the education of K-12.”

Witnesses also addressed the need for public and private programs to help prepare STEM professionals for their involvement in K-12 education.


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