STEM-related careers often have promising paths that provide employees with comfortable salaries. Cartoon by Paulina Hafer
Encouraging students to study STEM and placing academic emphasis on STEM classes is a step in the right direction.
In a crowded math classroom at Clarke Central High School, one will find students dozing off and disinterested. Many students struggle in silence, too nervous to ask questions or too unconcerned to care.
Math is my best subject, but it doesn’t come so easily for everyone. Instead of asking for help, many other students simply give up on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) classes.
Due to these classes’ rigor, college students across Georgia struggled to maintain their 3.0 GPA, which grants them the HOPE scholarship. As a result, students were discouraged from taking STEM classes.
To combat this issue, Bill 801 was passed last spring, which allows for a 0.5 HOPE GPA boost to be added to a student’s grade in an approved STEM course if the student ended the class with an average of a D, C or B that semester.
Some may think that providing incentives for taking STEM classes inherently diminishes the value of non-STEM related courses.
The intention behind this legislation is not to degrade the importance of humanities classes, but to provide aid to students in STEM because these classes encourage innovation. No matter what career path one may follow, an innovative and creative mindset is a powerful tool to have.
STEM courses teach students how to question assumptions and wonder why things are the way that they are. They force them to ask tough questions — how something can be improved and what can be changed.
A STEM education serves as a reminder that there is always room for improvement and that with creativity and resources, anything is possible.
Not only do STEM classes provide students with an enriched education that can be put to use in any career, but they prepare students for the jobs that will be most available to them.
That being said, if one happens to choose a career in a STEM field, there is an 8.9 percent job increase projected in STEM fields in comparison to 6.4 percent in non-STEM fields by 2024.
Despite what the future may bring, there will always be illnesses to cure, environmental issues to solve, and the earth will always be slowly and surely moving closer to the sun.
There are endless problems that the next generation will be faced with, and a STEM education better prepares students to solve them.
By passing this bill, our government is providing college students with an opportunity to take challenging STEM courses without fear of losing their scholarship, all while encouraging and supporting an innovative youth.
The next step is to provide this same educational aid to high school students taking Advanced Placement STEM college courses.
Why are college students offered more support than high school students within the same courses?
Without a doubt, Bill 801 is a step in the right direction. However, the preparation of a more innovative youth should not stop there. The encouragement of STEM should be relentless until all students’ needs are met.
In order to fill the positions of STEM-related jobs, our government needs to continue to take measures to ensure that students feel comfortable, confident and supported in STEM classes.