Recognizing the Importance of STEM Education

Floor Speech

By:  Tim Bishop
Date: Feb. 28, 2013
Location: Washington, DC

Mr. BISHOP of New York. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to speak about the importance of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education to this country's future and posterity. Educating a STEM workforce has become increasingly central to U.S. economic competitiveness and growth and requires the collaborative efforts of government, private industry and non-profits to succeed.

STEM fields are more important than ever to the development and maintenance of a high standard of life than ever. However, over the past several decades the performance of American students in STEM subjects has lagged behind their international peers. And at the same time that students are spending less time studying science in the classroom than they did a decade ago, only one out of every five households has access to STEM extracurricular activities.

Employers are increasingly frustrated when searching for qualified applicants for high-paying STEM jobs. Job growth in STEM fields offers great potential, estimated to grow at the rate of 17 percent by 2018--nearly double the rate of non-STEM related careers. Given these figures, it is difficult to understate the importance of STEM education, both in and outside of school, for our nation's collective economic future and the future our nation's students. Federal, state, and local governments must partner with the private sector to provide American students with the resources necessary to compete in an increasingly competitive global market.

One private sector campaign aimed at addressing this issue is Time Warner Cable's Connect a Million Minds (CAMM) program. CAMM is designed to inspire the next generation of problem solvers by connecting young people to the wonders of STEM outside of the classroom. Introduced in November 2009 in conjunction with President Obama's ``Educate to Innovate'' effort, CAMM has answered the President's call-to action for cross-sector partnerships to address the STEM crisis. In downstate New York, CAMM connects parents and students with dozens of local STEM resources that would otherwise remain untapped, including the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, the National Park Service at Hamilton Grange, and the New York Transit Museum.

I want to congratulate Time Warner Cable for this important initiative and urge my colleague to recognize how essential such programs are to all of our communities.