PCAST K-12 STEM Education Report

pcast_logo_80px.pngOn September 16, 2010, the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) released its long-awaited report on K-12 STEM Education, Prepare and Inspire: K-12 Education in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) for America’s Future.

Along with other behavioral and social science organizations, FABBS has been in communication with PCAST to address why specific areas of science are excluded at the K-12 level and to ask PCAST to reconsider the decision to omit important areas of science with which children should be familiar.

Follow the timeline of letters, statements, and other information below:

April 19, 2010

Our work began when we initially sent PCAST a letter stating that the social and behavioral sciences are needed to address our nation’s challenges.

Letter to President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) advising as to the definition of STEM education

May 21, 2010


Re-emphasizing the key points from our original letter, the FABBS Executive Director spoke before PCAST in support of behavioral and social sciences.

Read the submitted written statement »

Learn more »

September 16, 2010

PCAST releases the K-12 STEM Education report. Learn more »

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Prepare and Inspire: K-12 Education in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) for America's Future

October 18, 2010

After the report was released, FABBS asked PCAST to “reconsider its apparent exclusion” of the social and behavioral sciences. Learn more »

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Follow up Letter to President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) Regarding Exclusion of Behavioral/Social Sciences in K-12 STEM Education

November 10, 2010

Following up our earlier letters and comments, PCAST attempts to clarify why it appeared that the social and behavioral sciences were excluded from the report. Learn more »

Letter to FABBS from PCAST 111010_Page_1.jpgResponse Letter from PCAST

Jay McClelland, PhD, and Michael Hout, PhD (individuals who originally provided feedback to PCAST and who were mentioned in the letter above) offer their response to this reply from PCAST:

Jay McClelland

J_McClelland.jpgFirst, I am very glad that we have gotten people's attention and that there will be follow-on activities responsive to our requests. Second, I don't feel that PCAST understood the message Mike Hout and I had intended to convey. We were responding to the following passage in the draft of the report: "As used in this report, “STEM education” includes the subjects of math, biology, chemistry and physics, which have traditionally formed the core requirements of many state curricula, as well as such subjects as computer science, engineering, environmental science, geology and neuroscience. We have not attempted to consider educational issues related to social sciences, such as economics, anthropology, sociology and others; these subjects require and deserve separate attention. "Our goal was to support the distinction between the traditional core and other sciences, while urging that social and behavioral sciences be included along with other subjects such as computer science, engineering, environmental science, etc. I am disappointed that they did not take this message out of what we had written. That said, I would not like to place any blame. Mostly, I feel there was a lack of an adequate basis for communication about and influence on the report. For the future, what I have learned is that we really need to get people at the table from the beginning.

Michael Hout

hout_michael-90x126px.jpgMy reading of the letter from Landren and Holder to FABBS is in line with Jay's. While we sought to expand their definition of science, we failed to get that point through to them. We do not feel that STEM education is a zero-sum allocation of effort; it is a call for expansion. More time and more subjects.