Dept. of Education official talks importance of growing fields on STEM Day

Capitol Bureau

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – Friday is National STEM Day. It focuses on getting more people to choose science, technology, engineering, and math fields.

Stacey Smith is an assistant director at the state Department of Education and leads the career and technical education team. He said the department sees how fast STEM fields are growing and knows that how schools educate young people is evolving.

“Learning communities across the state of Kansas have been strongly supporting STEM and STEAM education for many years, we recognize that STEM literacy and innovation lead to increased understanding among our students,” Smith said.

Smith said getting students involved in competitions and organizations that are STEM related is important, and that showing how students’ interests can intersect with certain careers at a young age can be beneficial.

When teachers make STEM learning feel organic and use real world scenarios that can better inspires students.

“When those academic disciplines are pushed rigorously in isolation, students don’t tend to connect quite as well,” Smith said.

He said the best teaching should let students’ curiosity take off.

The state Department of Labor said the median salaries for all STEM groups are higher than the average statewide median wage.

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