teacher with two young children
U.S. Department of Education

Wednesday on “St. Louis on the Air,” we learned about a St. Louis Science Center program that helps teens learn science, technology, engineering and math skills. Ahead of that segment, we asked listeners about memorable STEM experiments, classes and learning moments. Here’s what they told us. (Responses have been edited for length and clarity.)

St. Louis Science Center
St. Louis Science Center

Like most kids, Diamond Williams toyed with several potential careers. Cosmetology had potential. So did following in the footsteps of her father, a dialysis technician, but her squeamishness cut short those dreams. Instead, Williams is now an engineer, a career path she discovered through a St. Louis Science Center youth program.

Youth Exploring Science works with St. Louis teens to create projects centered around science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM.

Last month’s State of St. Louis Workforce report examined St. Louis’ economy and labor market, and the local demand for science, technology, engineering and mathematics talent.

(Courtesy: Eric O. Curry)

For years, the three R’s of a basic education have been reading, writing and arithmetic.

While there are some indications that American students are faltering in reading and writing, especially worrisome is arithmetic.

Among the world’s industrialized nations, the United States is far down the list on math proficiency and math literacy, well behind such countries as Liechtenstein and Slovakia.

(via Flickr/-Marlith-)

Illinois will trim the number of regional superintendent offices and high schools will look at beefing up math for students.

Gov. Pat Quinn signed four education bills Monday, including one that cuts superintendent offices from 44 to 35.

Regional superintendents have often been a target for officials looking to cut spending. Last year Quinn proposed eliminating them, but legislators instead shifted their funding from state to local money. The new law reduces overall cost.

(via Flickr/Boaz Arad)

Reporting from Rachel Otwell of WUIS used in this report.

Illinois state legislators are pushing to tack on a year of math for high school students. But not everyone thinks that's a good idea.

Backers say requiring four years of math instead of the current three will prepare students going into skilled labor and science and engineering fields.

But, state Sen. Dave Luechtefeld, R-Okawville, says tacking on a year of math won't necessarily be beneficial.