Understanding STEM Education: A Discussion of the Key Issues, Efforts, and the Role of Federal Policy

Understanding STEM Education: A Discussion of the Key Issues, Efforts, and the Role of Federal Policy
Understanding STEM Education: A Discussion of the Key Issues, Efforts, and the Role of Federal Policy



AYPF held a briefing on January 27, 2012 exclusively for Congressional staff to learn about the role of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math education (collectively known as “STEM” education) in preparing America’s youth with the skills needed for jobs in today’s economy.  STEM-related jobs are among the fastest growing of all the occupational sectors in the global economy. Unfortunately, the U.S. is not currently producing enough individuals with the necessary skills in these jobs to meet the growing demand. This scarcity of talent must be addressed by strengthening education and increasing students’ opportunities for mastering STEM skills and content at every point along the educational pipeline, from early education through college and beyond.

This interactive forum:

  • Provided an overview of the critical nature of STEM education;
  • Highlighted the key issues involved in improving education in these subjects;
  • Reviewed the research about what practices are yielding results across the country;
  • Described the major federal policy initiatives related to STEM education; and
  • Examined the role of the federal government in driving STEM improvements.


The presenters for this discussion were Linda Rosen, Chief Executive Officer and Claus von Zastrow, Director of Research, of Change the Equation, a non-profit, non-partisan CEO-led initiative focused on creating widespread literacy in STEM as an investment in our nation; and Erik Robelen, Associate Editor and reporter for Education Week, whose reporting has included in-depth coverage of STEM education and federal policy.

Click here to view the event video!


Linda Rosen’s professional career has focused on scaling up research-based best practices in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) learning and in helping states and localities adopt and adapt these practices to ensure long-term sustainability and success.

Dr. Rosen currently serves as the Chief Executive Officer of Change the Equation (CTEq), a non-profit, non-partisan CEO-led initiative focused on solving America’s innovation problem. As CEO of CTEq, she leads a nationwide network of more than 110 CEOs who pledge to connect and align their work to transform STEM learning in the United States. Prior to her work at CTEq, she served as Senior Vice President for the National Alliance of Business where she worked with companies to articulate their STEM vision for the original “No Child Left Behind” legislation.

Dr. Rosen’s discipline expertise is in math and she has taught from high school through graduate school. She served as Senior Advisor to Secretary Richard W. Riley on math and science by providing counsel department-wide on STEM initiatives. She led the National Commission on Mathematics and Science Teaching for the 21st Century (known as the John Glenn Commission) as Executive Director. Dr. Rosen was also the Executive Director of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, the largest professional association of teachers of math and teacher educators, and the National Academy of Sciences’ Associate Executive Director of the Mathematical Sciences Education Board.

Claus von Zastrow is the Chief Operating Officer and Director of Research for Change the Equation. Before joining CTEq, he was Executive Director of the Learning First Alliance, a permanent partnership of 16 major education associations that represent over ten million parents, educators and policymakers. At the Alliance, he worked with the CEOs and elected leaders of Alliance member organizations to facilitate collaboration at every level of the education system and promote the continual and long-term improvement at public education.

Prior to joining the Alliance, Dr. von Zastrow was at the Council for Basic Education in Washington, DC, where he published research on the impact of state and federal policy on school practice. He was also a policy director at the National Alliance of Business (NAB), where he developed or managed policy initiatives to improve student achievement at all levels, promote universal access to higher education, and formulate sound workforce development strategies focused on lifelong learning.

Erik W. Robelen is an assistant editor at Education Week, which is published by the nonprofit Editorial Projects in Education. He has written on a wide range of K-12 issues since joining the newspaper in 1999, from federal and state policy and budget matters to education law, research, and school choice. His primary areas of coverage currently are school curriculum across the subject areas and education philanthropy. He also is the co-author of Curriculum Matters, a blog on edweek.org.

Prior to joining Education Week, Mr. Robelen worked as an education analyst and writer at the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, a national nonprofit, where he researched and wrote policy briefs, white papers, and other materials on an array of education policy topics, including class-size reduction, education technology, and service learning. Prior to that, he worked as a reporter and editor covering federal and state environmental issues for Inside Washington Publishers, an independent newsletter publisher in Arlington, Va.

Mr. Robelen earned a Master’s degree in English from the University of Virginia. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pa. He also spent a year studying at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland.

Education Week Pieces on STEM Education:


See Linda Rosen’s Powerpoint Presentation»

See Erik Robelen’s Powerpoint Presentation»

STEM Fast Facts and Resources»

Presenter Information

Linda Rosen, Ph.D.

Chief Executive Officer

Change the Equation

1101 K Street, NW

Suite 610

Washington, DC 20005



Claus von Zastrow, Ph.D.

Chief Operating Officer

Change the Equation

1101 K Street, NW

Suite 610

Washington, DC 20005



Erik W. Robelen

Assistant Editor

Education Week

6935 Arlington Road, Suite 100

Bethesda, MD 20814-5233


Forum Resources

Change the Equation: STEM “Vital Signs” Reports on Condition of STEM Learning in the 50 states

Center on Education and the Workforce: “STEM” (Executive Summary)


The American Youth Policy Forum (AYPF), a nonprofit, nonpartisan professional development organization based in Washington, DC, provides learning opportunities for policy leaders, practitioners, and researchers working on youth and education issues at the national, state, and local levels. AYPF events and publications are made possible by contributions from philanthropic foundations. For a complete list, click here.