"What is most dramatic about this survey is the extent to which the Fortune  executives speak with one unequivocal voice on these issues," said Attila Molnar, president and CEO of Bayer Corp. "Almost without exception, they overwhelmingly recognize this country's great need to tap the potential of the entire STEM talent pool, and the importance of doing so at every point on the development continuum--beginning in elementary school with high-quality, hands-on, inquiry-based science education, through college where STEM talent is refined and recruited, and then into the workplace where it must be further nurtured and encouraged."
Yes -- hands-on, inquiry-based science education -- not memorizing anatomy charts and periodic table of the elements. The people in education know what we need, and the executives in businesses know what they need, but the current educational system is not equipped to provide it.
And I especially liked one of the comments posted by a reader:
Teaching "what" to think (STEM content) is insufficient; they also need to learn "how" to think. Too many of our best minds are crammed full of content but don't know how to make the most of the knowledge. We need to push critical thinking, creative thinking, and systems thinking in the curricula even before the STEM (or any other technical field, for that matter) content. It's like having a huge database but no program.
Again, kids need to be out in the field, getting dirty, doing stuff, rather than sitting in a classroom memorizing a bunch of stuff. Even if you live in an apartment without a yard, you can grow plants, keep an aquarium, or have a couple of pet mice. And you can head out to nature preserves, the zoo, and museums. Most good science teachers would do this if only they could, because they know this is how kids learn science. But alas the schools can't afford field trips every week for their students.