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Does STEM Education Have a Branding Problem?

The acronym "STEM" may be confusing to many people not involved in science education. But does it really matter?


Does the term "STEM" make you think of a certain type of cell or maybe a plant structure or stopping the flow of something? How about science, technology, engineering, and math education? If you didn't answer the last option, then you may agree with the column Natalie Angier wrote this week in The New York Times.

Angier despises the STEM acronym, which she argues is "didactic and jargony," confusing, and far too granular (why bother calling out "technology" and "engineering," specifically?). She isn't alone. Sally Ride, the first American woman in space, who is active in the movement of bringing science education to a new generation of students, primarily girls, is in full agreement, arguing that it's too wonky for the general public.

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