Special thanks to Vince Bertram for answering 6 questions about his recently featured book – One Nation Under Taught: Solving America’s Science, Technology, Engineering & Math Crisis
Dr. Bertram is a highly sought-after speaker and thought leader and has traveled across the United States, as well as internationally, to address audiences on the issues of STEM education, the workforce, and the economy. – From Project Lead the Way
#1 – What was the impetus for One Nation Under Taught?
I’m concerned when I look at student performance and our domestic and global performance, and I have seen multiple attempts at school reform without any significant change in student performance. I believe that the key to improving student performance is what happens in the classroom and activity-, project-, problem-based learning that makes learning relevant for students. And so I felt compelled to talk about not only how we can improve education but also what is at risk. At risk is our economy, job creation, and our ability to fill the jobs we have with a highly qualified workforce.
#2 – Briefly, how did the situation arise that the US has found itself in relation to STEM?
We live in the most innovative country in the world. And what has happened is that our economy, a highly technical and technology-based economy, has advanced more rapidly than our workforce. Therefore, STEM skills are in high demand, yet we’ve not been able to attract enough students into STEM fields. But what’s also happening is that the skills students develop in a STEM education program are critical across all sectors, even in non-STEM careers. So this development over time has created a significant skills gap in the United States.
#3 – Is your book a clarion call for STEM? Do you see the future in a positive light?
It’s a clarion call for a focus on developing STEM skills – not just to attract more students into narrowly defined STEM careers, but rather to develop skills that transcend all sectors. STEM is a foundation of our economy and virtually all careers. By having students with these highly developed skills, we will have a much stronger workforce, as well as a workforce that is adept at learning and changing with technology.
And yes, I believe in America. We cannot believe in our future unless we believe in those who are going to create it. Therefore, I believe in America, our country, our resilience, and our ability to improve. And we will.
#4 – Your book proposes blueprints for students, educators and policy makers. Is it important that we tackle the current situation at all three levels?
There needs to be alignment among all stakeholders in understanding what the crisis is and how we can solve it. In One Nation Under-Taught, we try to identify the challenges, but also to be very clear about the kind of solutions we can apply to this work. It is going to take collaboration at all levels to take these efforts to scale.
#5 – While the book has recently come out, have you received any feedback from educators or policy-makers?
I have received considerable feedback from a wide range of people with varying interests – people who are concerned about education, our economy, and how they can help solve the problems we confront. The book has been well received. But people buying the book is not my primary interest. It’s using the book to have conversations and then moving toward action, and understanding there is an urgency. That there are students in our classrooms today that need solutions today.
#6 – Are you working on any new books/projects that you can tell us about?
I write frequently for the Huffington Post and other media outlets. And a second book is coming. I have a passion for helping students, and they will be the audience for my second book.
[Image Credit: Supplied by Author ]