The White House announced Monday evening a five-year strategic plan for science, technology, engineering and math education, setting forth what it calls a "North Star" that "charts a course for the Nation's success."
"It represents an urgent call to action for a nationwide collaboration with learners, families, educators, communities, and employers," the White House plan reads.
The administration's goal is threefold: for every American to master basic STEM concepts, like computational thinking, in order to respond to technological change; to increase access to STEM among historically underserved students; and to encourage students to pursue STEM careers.
The goals will guide future federal investment, the plan states. It was developed by the National Science and Technology Council Committee on STEM Education and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. It will be publicly released at a White House ceremony Tuesday.
"We need national leadership to attend to these challenges," said France Cordova, director of the National Science Foundation, which helped with the plan along with dozens of other organizations, business leaders and educators. "We must find new ways to bring more of America into STEM and keep them there."
Getting there will require strengthening partnerships between schools, business, nonprofit organizations and others in order to leverage resources and expertise in the STEM field, the White House plan stresses.
"It also means engaging learners in work-based learning experiences with local employers, internships, apprenticeships, and research experiences," the executive summary of the plan reads.
The plan also urges educators to make STEM "more meaningful and inspiring" through things like project-based learning, science fairs, robotics clubs, invention challenges and gaming workshops – anything that pushes students to identify and solve problems using knowledge from various disciplines.
In addition, the White House STEM initiative seeks to expand the use of digital platforms and devices for teaching and learning, which officials argue increases access, allows for individualized instruction that matches how different students learn and is overall more engaging