To meet all the goals set by the White House report would require an extra $1 billion each year. Against the nearly $600 billion spent annually for public education, it is not a huge sum. Still, with local districts faced with declining tax revenues and unfunded mandates, some of the money will have to come from the federal government.
That goes against the grain during a time when teachers’ salaries and benefits are being cut. Yet the costs of doing nothing are a matter of simple calculus. If we do not improve STEM education, the U.S. will continue a decades-long slide from the middle of the pack in student achievement toward the very bottom.