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Welcome to our new monthly feature on EducationNC called the NC STEM ScoreCard, written in partnership with the NC Science, Mathematics, and Technology Education Center (SMT) and the Burroughs Wellcome Fund.

North Carolina is at a critical crossroads in its economic and educational development. The proud traditional businesses and occupations that fueled our economy in the past, especially those requiring minimal education and skills, are playing a diminishing role in our state. A new more competitive economy has emerged, one that requires higher levels of knowledge and skills — many based in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) — and achieved through more engaging teaching and learning strategies.

Are we ready?

Background and purpose

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, two of the top 10 cities for STEM jobs in the country happen to be in North Carolina’s Triangle. It’s one of the reasons developments in STEM affect the state’s economy and the prosperity of North Carolina residents more than ever, but:

  • Are we providing the possibilities and options for all Pre-K through college students to be motivated and prepared to pursue STEM learning?
  • Are we developing career opportunities for adults to pursue STEM-related occupations and professions?
  • Are we developing the STEM literacy of our citizens so that they can understand and can make informed decisions about changes that affect their lives? 

With the NC STEM ScoreCard, we hope to provide evidence for the public and decision-makers to make informed choices about how to build and sustain a more robust North Carolina economy — and one that is more broadly distributed across the state.

NC STEM ScoreCard

There are five major parts to the organization of the NC STEM ScoreCard. Each part uses data to provide a deeper understanding of how well North Carolina is positioning itself to develop the human resources needed for the people and the state to prosper over time:

STEM WORKFORCE AND ECONOMIC IMPACT documents the current and future job opportunities in North Carolina. Particular attention is given to the medical and allied health professions, a rapidly growing sector in NC. The ScoreCard assesses how well we compare to our neighboring states in the South and where we stand nationally.

A student works on a project in the McDowell Tech machining program. Yasmin Bendaas/EducationNC

INFORMAL EDUCATION AND STEM LITERACY focuses on opportunities for youth and adults through participation in learning opportunities provided by after-school programs, museums, science centers, STEM competitions, and more.

STEMosphere
David Fountain, Duke Energy’s North Carolina president, helps students count down the grand opening of the STEMosphere at Marbles Kids Museum. Yasmin Bendaas/EducationNC

STRATEGIC INVESTMENTS AND INNOVATIONS across a range of essential supports is necessary for both developing a more broadly educated citizenry in North Carolina, but also for developing the special talents and capacity of teachers and students in STEM. 

WakeEd Partnership’s STEMposium showcased research inspired by the SummerSTEM program. Yasmin Bendaas/EducationNC

COLLEGE AND CAREER READY STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT assesses the extent to which our students and schools are being successful in helping students navigate through the STEM pipeline.

Lead Tech Instructor Latori Miller and student Maria Morales-Salgado at INTech camp. Yasmin Bendaas/EducationNC

TEACHER QUALITY is an essential responsibility of the state. How effectively teachers are prepared, developed, and supported is linked, in large measure, to successful student outcomes in STEM and in all other disciplines.

EdAmbassador Michelle Ellis holds a sign for bus boarding to the STEM Early College. Yasmin Bendaas/EducationNC

Future entries will provide more information in each of these parts. Each of the perspective pieces is compiled by Charles Coble  of Teacher Preparation Analytics and edited by Yasmin Bendaas at EdNC. Keep up with the STEM ScoreCard, released monthly, here

Charles Coble

Charles R. Coble, co-founder & partner of Teacher Preparation Analytics, was Professor of Science Education for 23 years and for 13 years Dean of the School of Education at East Carolina University.