STEM of Academic Myth

, Malcolm A. Kline, 2 Comments

12239270654_2ec2d81b6d_b_stemDespite evidence to the contrary, academics, among other elites, continue to insist that there is a shortage of applicants to fill jobs in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math-related fields, usually when making the case for admitting more immigrants into the United States.

“Colleges work hard to recruit kids like those: self-motivated, sharp, and ready to succeed in one of our tougher disciplines,” Eric Johnson writes in The Chronicle of Higher Education. “Policy makers profess to want them, too.”

“Every politician who has wandered past a microphone in recent years — Republican or Democratic, urban or rural, moderate or radical — has called for more graduates in science and mathematics, more young people with solid career ambitions and the drive to succeed in higher education. Our economy needs those students, I am well assured.”  Johnson is assistant director for policy analysis and communications in the office of scholarships and student aid at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. 

Indeed, if you get your news from the mainstream media you might think there’s a big shortage of students in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). The truth, however, is quite different, Clemson engineering professor Mark Thies wrote recently. “For example, Clemson’s engineering enrollment has reached almost 5,300 students – an 80 percent increase since 2008! In my 30 years of teaching, I’ve never seen classes so large – and so many bright students! Equally compelling data are stagnant STEM wages, with increases averaging a tiny 0.4 percent per year from 2000-2012.”