STEM (the acronym for the disciplines of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) is an interdisciplinary approach to learning that unites the academic fields of science, technology, engineering, and math with real-world lessons. STEM education makes the connection between school, community, academics, work, and the global enterprise. The objective is to prepare students for competition in a global economic stage that is growing ever so much more technological savvy.
The funding is now readily available. The sheer enormity of the budget allocated to the dissemination of STEM prerogatives, combined with a steady interest of the American public into many things technology-related has preserved and increased the number of donors who are willing to contribute to STEM curriculum and teacher development. The federal government has doubled its STEM Innovation Networks from 2013 of 141.9 Million to 2015 of $319.7 million dollars. A demanding workforce requires an understanding of the STEM disciplines that can compete against other countries developing similar technologies. The technology-reliant economy is just one of the influences drawing the attention of funders in the form of Individual donors, corporate philanthropies, and policymakers. The shortage of teachers certified with STEM credentials also feeds the need for funding in that particular area.
According to the federal government's Committee on STEM Education (CoSTEM), "...all of the mission-science agencies and the Department of Education are facilitating a cohesive national strategy, with new and re-purposed funds, to increase the impact of federal investments in five areas: 1.) improving STEM instruction in preschool through 12th grade; 2.) increasing and sustaining public and youth engagement with STEM; 3.) improving the STEM experience for undergraduate students; 4.) better serving groups historically underrepresented in STEM fields; and 5.) designing graduate education for tomorrow's STEM workforce."
Two examples of the push behind curriculum-specific changes within the American educational system are publications such as: "A Nation at Risk," commissioned by the National Commission on Excellence in Education (1983) and the "YourLife Campaign".
It's been thirteen years, and twenty million dollars, since the federal Educational Technical Assistance Act of 2002. Concern over the education of American students and the subsequent decline of American-born industries triggered aggressive campaigns in the early 2000's.
Universal acknowledgment to the pressing need for some sort of measurable goals to corroborate strategic efforts have pushed for self-assessment plans, workforce initiatives, and other similar measures adopting a comprehensive systems-oriented solution to administering and managing the STEM initiative.
The funding can also be found here. The interest is considerable. The initiatives in the area of STEM curriculum and training that began in the past are still relevant and the funding is still being allocated and will continue to be for the foreseeable future.