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Math, Science and Technology: Important, But Not For Me

This study details parents’ and students’ current thinking about Math, Science, and Technology education and their satisfaction with the existing curriculum which most experts see as vastly below world-class standards.

There is growing consensus among the nation’s business, government, and higher education leaders that unless schools do more to train and nurture a whole new generation of young Americans with strong skills in math, science, and technology, U.S. leadership in the world economy is at risk.

According to the study, however, just 25 percent of Kansas/Missouri parents think their children should be studying more math and science; 70 percent think things “are fine as they are now.” The report also explains why parents and students are so complacent in this area and what kinds of changes might be helpful in building more interest in and support for more rigorous Math, Science, and Technology courses.

“Important, But Not for Me” shows that parents and students are aware of the United States’ slippage in international standings on Math, Science, and Technology education and recognize that students who complete advanced courses in MST education have good employment prospects and can expect a successful future. But the report also describes a disconnect between this understanding and their own personal interests and expectations.

The full report along with the complete questionnaire and topline data is available online at:

The findings are based on 12 focus groups with parents, teachers, and students in the Kansas City region, 15 expert interviews with local business, education, and community leaders, and telephone interviews with a random sample of 1,472 parents of children grade 6-12 in public school in Kansas and Missouri and 1,295 public school students in grades 6-12.

About Public Agenda

Public Agenda is a nonprofit organization dedicated to nonpartisan public policy research and civic engagement. Founded in 1975 by former U.S. Secretary of State Cyrus Vance and Daniel Yankelovich, the social scientist and author, Public Agenda is known for its influential public opinion surveys and balanced citizen education materials. Its mission is to inject the public’s voice into crucial policy debates. Public Agenda seeks to inform leaders about the public’s views and to engage citizens in discussing complex policy issues. It is also known for its destination website,, which has been twice nominated (in 2005 and 2007) for a Webby Award for best political site.