Academic journal article The Agricultural Education Magazine

Living in Interesting Times

Academic journal article The Agricultural Education Magazine

Living in Interesting Times

Article excerpt

I was recently reminded of the Chinese saying, "May you live in interesting times." While this saying is often attributed to a curse of living in times where you experience much trouble and chaos; I don't think that the curse can hold true for those in agricultural education. Most recently we have been living in the interesting times of how to emphasize science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) within the context of agriculture. While it is definitely interesting, it is not a process that has to cause chaos or trouble.

The need for more STEM integration is obvious. According to the US Bureau of Statistics; in the next five years, the number of STEM related jobs will increase twice as much as those in other fields. The United States is not preparing enough students who are entering STEM careers to meet the demand. The US Department of Labor claims that of the twenty fastest growing career opportunities, fifteen will require extensive preparation in science and math.

In 2005, a report entitled Rising Above the Gathering Storm: Energizing and Employing America for a Brighter Future (National Academies Press, 2005) addressed the concern and awareness of having enough qualified people in the careers of engineers, mathematicians, and scientists for the US to remain relevant in the areas of research, innovation , and technology. From this report came four recommendations:

* Improve K-12 math and science education in order to increase interest in math and science

* Strengthen and sustain the US commitment to long-term basic research

* Develop, recruit, and retain top students, scientists, and engineers

* Ensure the US is the premier place for innovation (Lantz, 2009)

Knowing these recommendations and the need, it is essential for agricultural educators to better understand and be able to use strategies to incorporate STEM through agriculture further into their courses. …

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