STEM Education in America: Two Infographics

The first is this cute and thoughtful infographic (above – click the image for the full version) from, which paints a lamentable (if not surprising) picture of the state we’re in. The second, created by Knewton and originally posted on the Daily Kos, further addresses the problem:

The citation of Pete Conrad in the second ‘graphic really drives home the point that “standard” educational models can fail even for (perhaps especially for) the most talented of us. At the bottom of the the first graphic is another statement I can get behind; that “big lecture classes are cheap, but their dullness and rote memorization drive students away from STEM” — so very true (and sad).

Feel free to post your own thoughts in the comments!

Both of these originally via (h/t Akiba)

Adafruit publishes a wide range of writing and video content, including interviews and reporting on the maker market and the wider technology world. Our standards page is intended as a guide to best practices that Adafruit uses, as well as an outline of the ethical standards Adafruit aspires to. While Adafruit is not an independent journalistic institution, Adafruit strives to be a fair, informative, and positive voice within the community – check it out here:

Join Adafruit on Mastodon

Adafruit is on Mastodon, join in!

Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.

Have an amazing project to share? The Electronics Show and Tell is every Wednesday at 7pm ET! To join, head over to YouTube and check out the show’s live chat – we’ll post the link there.

Join us every Wednesday night at 8pm ET for Ask an Engineer!

Join over 36,000+ makers on Adafruit’s Discord channels and be part of the community!

CircuitPython – The easiest way to program microcontrollers –

Maker Business — “Packaging” chips in the US

Wearables — Enclosures help fight body humidity in costumes

Electronics — Transformers: More than meets the eye!

Python for Microcontrollers — Python on Microcontrollers Newsletter: Silicon Labs introduces CircuitPython support, and more! #CircuitPython #Python #micropython @ThePSF @Raspberry_Pi

Adafruit IoT Monthly — Guardian Robot, Weather-wise Umbrella Stand, and more!

Microsoft MakeCode — MakeCode Thank You!

EYE on NPI — Maxim’s Himalaya uSLIC Step-Down Power Module #EyeOnNPI @maximintegrated @digikey

New Products – Adafruit Industries – Makers, hackers, artists, designers and engineers! — #NewProds 7/19/23 Feat. Adafruit Matrix Portal S3 CircuitPython Powered Internet Display!

Get the only spam-free daily newsletter about wearables, running a "maker business", electronic tips and more! Subscribe at !


  1. It’s sad, but the means by which students who are more tactile learners were exposed to STEM have been largely cut back. Wood shops, chem labs, heck even art programs have been systematically cut back or eliminated across the country.

    It’s terrible. And it’s devastating our economy. Short term gain is the greatest evil our nation has ever known.

  2. I’ve been talking to my wife about this alot (she is an education major).

    I’ve noticed that I’ve always learned more from projects then from school (just my nature). I wonder, if for some students at least, school could switch to project oriented education.

    Think, at the end of the 2nd grade.. 4 teachers present 4 different projects. The students write a little blurb on which projects appeal to them and why they want to work on them.

    The next 1-2 years that teacher guides the students through completing the project and links in history, English, science, math etc.

    It won’t work for everyone.. but at the end of the day an A is worthless.. A robot is priceless!

  3. As much as people would like to think, Most STEM graduates leave the field because Business Majors are the ones making all the decisions and making the big bucks here in america. MBAS run the show and MBAS wont hire non MBAS. If anybody with an engineering degree wants to even move beyond simple engineering to management or something, without the magic business degree, your S-O-L. Then the thought occurs, if with an MBA and a bit of shmoozing I can get a good job, why bother to get an engineering degree? This is why there are fewer STEM graduates… This is why America is struggling…

  4. Chances are x3n0x is a business student who’s never worked in a real engineering company. Take a trip to CAT or John Deere

  5. I am an engineering technician, and I work for a well respected Pipeline services company. I do engineering work every day, AND, I do electronics design and consulting on the side when I am home. We have problems in our company because the MBAs are more concerned about how their balance sheets look, rather than what is good for the company, the business, and the customer. This is the attitude that MBA’s have brought to America, and the root of the whole problem.

  6. @karm: on the contrary, I’ve heard exactly what x3n0x is describing happening at a lot of "real" engineering companies, and I’ve witnessed it myself.

  7. Aside from the business focus/hijacking mentioned above, IMHO a failure of STEM is the exclusion of Art. The science/engineering greats were quite often artists and/or had great appreciation of art. So I prefer the term STEAM. And getting more project focused education back in schools – and beyond. Libraries as FabLab/Makerspaces.

    And yeah, I have worked in real engineering companies, and research labs. Business concerns quite often overwhelm science/engineering realities. PERT-chart engineering, revising deliverables to meet sound bite name on PERT-chart, near-horizon thinking (get this milestone done, nevermind it makes the long term system unstable)

  8. Another interesting perspective on the engineering shortage (to be specific) is offered on Analogzone between an email exchange with IEEE members. A little feisty, but a good read:

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.