06/13 - STEM Status: Science, Technology, Engineering & Math in Louisiana

How can Louisiana better equip its citizens for future STEM positions?

Occupations in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) are projected to grow by nearly 10% over the next five years. Experts estimate Louisiana alone will have 69,000 STEM job vacancies by 2018. But who will fill these positions?

Nationwide, more than 300,000 jobs are currently being left vacant because employers can’t find individuals skilled enough in STEM. In Louisiana, 40% of eighth-graders report never designing a science project. Only 3% of high-school seniors take advance college placement tests in science. While male students have shown a recent increased interest in STEM, Louisiana females’ interest has been decreasing since 2008.

So, how can Louisiana better equip its citizens for future STEM positions? Are Louisiana’s educators adequately prepared to teach STEM courses? And how can students be encouraged to pursue STEM careers? Louisiana Public Square looks for answers to these questions and more on “STEM Status: Science, Technology, Engineering & Math in Louisiana” airing Wednesday, June 26 at 7 p.m. on LPB HD.

This program is made possible in part through a grant from Dow Chemical Company.

YOU ARE INVITED TO THE TAPING! JUNE 20. Click for details!

Click here to take the online survey

Click here to view the online survey results

Our Panelists:

Additional Resources

STEM Vital Signs for La – Report by changetheequation.org

Louisiana STEM jobs report – Analysis by usinnovation.org

The Hidden STEM Economy - Analysis by usinnovation.org

Louisiana Workforce Commission – Features Star Jobs Search Tool

Louisiana Department of Education – Teacher Toolbox resource

Louisiana Connect - College and Career Access Tool

Louisiana Community and Technical College System – Home page

Process Technology Program – Baton Rouge Community College

Louis Stokes La. Alliance for Minority Participation - Encourages STEM interest

LSU XCITE Program – Camp to encourage STEM interest

STARBASE Louisiana – STEM program through Barksdale, AFB

Sci-port: Louisiana’s Science Center

We want to know your opinion! Leave your comments in the box below.


Currently, I teach 6th - 8th grade math. I’ve found many students to have a certain “fear” of math. Coupled with this fear is poor performance in the math class and low expectations of the students. Constantly, I encourage students of their potential and ability to do well in math which could lead to great opportunities after graduating high school. I am always researching new ways to present lessons to increase student interest in school, involve students in lessons, and thus prepare my students adequately for increasing demands of school performance. With the STEM program, I would like gain insight to these goals.

Posted by Johnnie Johnson  on  06/12  at  10:39 PM

I’ve spent the last 11 months working as an Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellow at the National Science Foundation. I’ve taught middle school science and math the last 12 years at Simsboro. The fellowship introduced me to many teachers from around the country and they are asking the same questions we are: How can we better equip our students/citizens? Are teachers adequately prepared and equipped? How can we encourage students to pursue STEM fields? There were many opinions but several answers kept coming up: 1.) science should be taught in collaboration with other subjects/disciplines - break down the “silos” of learning where we tend not to integrate the sciences, math, engineering, arts, and literacy. 2.) Give teachers the TIME and FREEDOM to use project-based learning 3.) STOP giving so many assessments that focus on memorization of facts rather than an understanding of the concepts. This destroys creativity and excitement - things needed for real science innovation and exploration. 4.) LEADERSHIP must support those teachers are trying to do that “crazy stuff” of taking the students outside, on field trips, in the labs, to the local university, to the lab all the time, etc. Please do not stifle this kind of innovation. 5.) Elementary science education is VERY IMPORTANT! Please do not limit those naturally curious little angels to focus primarily on math and reading - find ways to infuse the sciences and arts as it can lead to better math and reading skills.

I look forward to the discussion and hope that it will lead to positive changes in our state.

Posted by Chris Campbell  on  06/13  at  06:57 AM

I am a teacher at Pine High School in Franklinton, Louisiana.  I retired from Mississippi last year as a STEM teacher and trainer for the state of Miss. to train STEM teachers for certification.  I became a Technology Discovery teacher in 1996 and then Mississippi converted this to STEM.  I was part of the team that wrote the curriculum for the state of Mississippi.
The principal at Pine was interested in beginning a STEM class at Pine High School this year and with permission from Miss. State, I used the curriculum that I implemented in Mississippi with many of the activities developed.  I am very interested in helping promote STEM in Louisiana.  It is exciting to see this interest!

Posted by Rhonda Crawford  on  06/14  at  06:37 AM

I applaud Louisiana Public Broadcasting for initiating this long overdue topic! I hope this program spurs crucial statewide conversations that need to take place!

About a year ago I started my blog http://LaSTEMworks.org for the same reason. Meaningful dialog, such as this from all sectors (well-represented workforce, nonprofit, and governmental leaders and education voices, combined with STEM-knowledgeable experts) is essential to the establishment of a Louisiana STEM agenda that could impact many programs leading to much needed STEM talent development described. 

After seven years of working in the STEM education arena in Texas, I learned that the following elements were critical:

1.  Cohesive strategy between business, academic and non-academic organizations that aligns, focuses, and communicates the critical effort.
2.  Advocacy for higher science and math standards or adoption of engineering standards in K12.
3.  Increased support for inspirational STEM learning opportunities (during AND beyond the school day), such as projects, robotics, internships, and mentorships for high school and post-secondary students that provide key exposure to STEM professionals and the work that they do.
4.  Teacher education reform that stress PK-12 project-based pedagogy and technology integration combined with rigorous math and science.
5.  Parent/community awareness building.
6.  Support of high-need, career pathways in high school and cutting-edge associate‚Äôs degree programs.
7.  And of course, resource allocation for facilities, technology, curriculum, or teaching resources for PK16 classrooms.

Posted by Kim Fossey  on  06/14  at  12:41 PM

We will remain at an impasse as long as pupil progression states students must pass ELA, math, reading, and one other core subject (science or social studies). Where are the science expectations?  Students understand the value placed on ELA, math, and reading.  Pass to promote.  STEM has been a topic on the table for over a decade, yet the value of science in STEM and education has failed to receive mention or funding.  Middle school science teachers must change student opinions on the value of science to teach science.  If you believe science is important to Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math, make it so.  After all, we cannot STEM without it.

Posted by Barbara Gombossy  on  06/20  at  09:00 AM

The collective experience of those on the panel is lacking. Students are encouraged to take tougher classes, despite what was said. Teachers are taking AP courses, not because of Legislative bills, but because half of a teacher evaluation is based on student performance and they want to teach better students. No one has addressed the violence in the hallway, the gang and drug culture, the incredible student-parent apathy, and the inexperienced and highly overpaid “leadership” in state education. I’ve been teaching 21 years and the majority of inner city public school students are influenced by a street culture teachers cannot defeat, govt cannot legislate and business cannot comprehend. Just the painful facts, folks. Talk on. You think you know. You don’t know.

Posted by John Smith  on  06/27  at  08:43 AM
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