A recent international study raises concerns about education in the United States.
According to the study, which was conducted by the International Association for Evaluation of Educational Achievement, American students lag behind many of their peers in Asia and Europe in math and science studies.
Though American students perform above the global average, eighth-graders in the United States are outperformed by students in Russia, Japan, the Republic of China, Slovenia, South Korea and other nations, the study notes.
U.S. policymakers have expressed concerns that these trends could have a broader effect on the American economy, placing the nation at a competitive disadvantage in an international marketplace.
Such concerns are justified.
Improving the educational achievement of American students is a necessary task with no single, simple solution. If success is to be found, it must come through the hard work of dedicated educators coupled with the effort of diligent students nurtured by parents and guardians who impress upon their wards the importance and value of study.
In Iowa, such efforts are underway.
On July 26, 2011, Gov. Terry Branstad created by executive order the Governor's STEM Advisory Council. This council was charged with generating a statewide game plan to increase the number of students readying themselves to fill technology-oriented jobs. This effort was deemed necessary because Iowa is falling behind many other states in terms of the percentage of students choosing post-secondary school education in the STEM fields.
In October, STEM officials announced that 800 Iowa schools and community organizations will be participating in "scale-up programs" to advance the process of increasing student interest and achievement in STEM fields of study.
The STEM initiative is a step in the right direction for Iowa students. We encourage local, state and national officials to continue to pursue such innovations so that America may return to the role of global leader in student performance.