On March 22, National PTA and Bayer USA Foundation convened industry leaders, educators, association and corporate executives, government officials and family engagement researchers to launch National PTA’s STEM Initiative.
STEM has been a hot topic in education over the past few years. Nearly 8.6 million science, technology, engineering and mathematics jobs represented 6.2 percent of U.S. employment in May 2015. In addition, the Administration has made significant strides to close the access and equity gaps in STEM education.
So what does this mean for us and your local PTAs? Family engagement is essential to strengthen STEM education and help all children realize their fullest potential, and we are here to support student success in STEM. National PTA’s STEM Initiative aims to model what effective family engagement looks like in STEM by engaging entire families in STEM activities.
A recent survey commissioned by Bayer underscores the importance of family engagement to STEM education. Key findings from the survey include:
- Parents are most likely to say that they play the biggest role in stimulating their child’s interest in science (46%), followed closely by teachers (44%).
- Nearly one-third (31%) of parents don’t feel confident enough in their scientific knowledge to help their children engage in hands-on science activities.
- Almost one-third (32%) of teachers say parent support or involvement at home would be most helpful in increasing hands-on science learning experiences.
The STEM Thought Leaders Meeting was filled with innovation and excitement—participants broke out into groups and brainstormed on the concept of “What is STEM?” and talked about effective family engagement STEM practices at school.