Trump Administration to Invest $200 Million in STEM Education
On September 25 President Donald Trump signed a memorandum directing the Department of Education to allocate at least $200 million per year in grant funds in STEM fields, particularly in in computer sciences and coding.
Ostensibly, the funding will help American train more engineers and computer scientists who will help ensure American’s information technology remains competitive.
President Trump justified the spending saying:
The workplace is changing, we need to create new pathways for our citizens to get the best jobs… Greater access to STEM and computer science programs will ensure our [children] have the skills they need to compete, and win, in the [workforce].
Trump is right: America needs to invest more in education, science, and technology. After all, technology is what drives economic growth in the long term—wealth accrues to those individuals, industries, and nations who are at the cutting edge. This investment is a step in the right direction.
That being said, much, much more must be done—$200 million in a country of well over 300 million people is a relatively small amount.
And of course, education isn’t really where our problems lie. America, along with the UK, still generates the vast majority of major scientific discoveries and new technology, and dominates lists of the top universities in the world:
Clearly quality of education isn’t the core problem with America’s ailing industries.
No, the main issue is cost: it is expensive to do business in America, relative to China and India—this is why American firms are so likely to offshore everything from call centers to research laboratories.
If we really want to ensure America remains at the cutting edge, we need to stop our companies from offshoring.
Reducing regulatory burdens would help, as would cutting taxes. But the problem is bigger than that: America needs to rebuild its economic policies from the ground up, and orient them towards generating better technology—half measures will no longer suffice.