Sunday, July 28, 2013

Science, technology and math battle image problem in schools

“Every kid starts out as a natural-born scientist, and then we beat it out of them. A few trickle through the system with their wonder and enthusiasm for science intact.” ~ Carl Sagan

When people meet lab analyst Alana Hill — an attractive blonde who looks more Hawaiian Tropic than Revenge of the Nerds — their first reaction is usually that she doesn’t look like a scientist. A closer examination of Hill’s field, however, suggests it’s more accurately that scientists don’t look the way people imagine.

Science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) are not only underrepresented in our education system, as revealed by the latest National Household Survey data, they’re also saddled with what the Conference Board of Canada calls “an important image problem.” And these negative stereotypes, which begin as early as grade school, are resulting in major competitive shortcomings.