ERIC Number: EJ835843
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Reference Count: 28
The National Defense Education Act, Current STEM Initiative, and the Gifted
Jolly, Jennifer L.
Gifted Child Today, v32 n2 p50-53 Spr 2009
During the past several years, much discussion has focused on developing America's future scientists, technologists, engineers, and mathematicians (STEM) in order to remain viable and competitive in a growing global economy. In retrospect, America has had a long-standing involvement with STEM issues that dates back to the establishment of West Point in 1802. West Point graduates designed many of the railroads, bridges, and roads so important to this country's early expansion. The Morrill Act of 1862, originally intended to establish colleges and universities to study agriculture and mechanical arts, also supported science and engineering programs. This indirectly led to the establishment of the university research system. In more recent history, parallels can be drawn between STEM initiatives involving the launch of the Soviet satellite Sputnik in 1957, its legislative history, and the current "quiet crisis" over America's ability to compete globally. In 1958, the U.S. Congress passed the National Defense Education Act (P.L. 85-864) in order to counteract the seemingly superior Soviet school system that focused on training young scientists, and to create an "elite generation" of U.S. STEM workers. NDEA was aimed at stimulating and strengthening American education reform by providing $1 billion over 4 years to be infused into 40,000 loans, 40,000 scholarships, and 1,500 graduate fellowships. This article examines the National Defense Education Act (NDEA), as well as present-day STEM initiatives, such as the Academic Competitiveness Council, in relation to gifted education.
Descriptors: National Security, Gifted, Educational History, Global Approach, Engineering, Politics of Education, Federal Legislation, Educational Policy, Policy Analysis, Special Education
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: Morrill Act 1862; National Defense Education Act