Americans fear decline in US performance in math and science

WASHINGTONFeb. 1, 2007More than half of Americans (52%) don't believe the U.S. is performing well in science and math education compared to other nations, but they know science is very important (85%), according to a recent poll commissioned by Research!America. Most (87%) rate being a scientist as one of the most prestigious careers, yet 75% cant name a living scientist. Sixty-four percent dont think average Americans are knowledgeable about science, and 76% think it is very important that young people are encouraged to pursue scientific careers, and that more opportunities for these careers are created.

The poll also found that Americans see the role of science as most important to our health and to eliminating disease, as compared to other societal issues. However, Americans understand the growing interdisciplinary nature of medical progress. While a majority (66%) say that the most important scientific research today takes place in medical and health-related fields, they also say medical progress is greatly influenced by research in chemistry (83%), computer science (62%), physics (58%), math (56%) and engineering (49%). Six in ten (59%) Americans also say that we would make more progress in research to improve health if scientists from different fields are encouraged to work together.

"To address today's unprecedented opportunities in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) workforce, we must retool our education system to educate our young people in math and science more effectively and nurture the innate abilities of all young people, regardless of gender or race, to enter a STEM field of study," said Arden Bement, Jr., PhD, director, National Science Foundation. "In addition, our national priorities in the global information age should emphasize investment in basic research and a greater collaboration between the private and public sectors in R&D performance.

Bement was the keynote speaker today at a res

Contact: Anne Kosmoski
Ein Communications

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