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Dr. Krashen on the mythical STEM crisis

Is there a crisis in math/science education?

Is there a crisis in math/science education?
Sent to the Christian Science Monitor, Sept. 17, 2010

The report that “CEOs [are] joining to push math, science education,” Sept 16) gives the impression that we have a real crisis in math and science education. We must, according to President Obama, strengthen our role “as the world’s engine of discovery and innovation.”

I am all for science and math, but it is not clear that there is a crisis.

The US ranks at or near the top of the world on all categories related to science and math education, in availability of expertise, and in creativity, according to the World Economic Federation. We are, for example, third in the number of patents for new inventions per capita, slightly behind Taiwan and Japan and far ahead of China, in 50th place.

It has been argued that there no shortage of science and technology-trained professionals in the United States. In fact, some observers have concluded that there is a surplus. The late Gerald Bracey concluded that “… the impending shortage of scientists and engineers is one of the longest running hoaxes in the country.”

Stephen Krashen
University of Southern California, Los Angeles


Bracey, G. 2009. Education Hell: Rhetoric Vs. Reality. Alexandra, VA: Educational Research Service.
Martin, M. 2009. Eggs or eggheads: Which does the U.S. economy really need? Arizona School Boards Journal, Winter. Available at:
Payne, K. and Biddle, B. 1999. Poor school funding, child poverty, and mathematics achievement. Educational Researcher 28 (6): 4-13.
Teitelbaum, M. 2007. Testimony before the Subcommittee on Technology and Innovation. Committee on Science and Technology, U.S. House of Representatives, Washington, DC, November 6, 2007
Toppo, G. and Vergano, D. 2009. Scientist shortage? Maybe not. USA Today, August 9, 2009


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