Disruptive innovation, labor markets, and Big Valley STEM School: network analysis in STEM education
Cultural studies, Innovation, School reform, STEM crisis, STEM education
Cultural Studies of Science Education
A defining characteristic of contemporary trends in global education policy is the promotion of STEM learning in the primary, secondary, and tertiary sectors of education as a means to generate innovation and prosperity in the economy. Intertwined with common sensical assumptions about future labor markets and the transformative potential of technology in education, STEM has become a hegemonic discourse informing policy formation and educational practice. In Gramscian terms, the struggle over STEM as a discursive practice, between proponents of instrumental learning of marketable economic skills and those of education towards humanistic goals, reveals insights about the ideological characteristics of the push for STEM learning. This article explores the power dynamics behind the push for STEM learning as an ideological discourse propagated by global networks of elite policy actors and enacted by non-elite policy actors at the school level. The findings point toward a disjuncture between the discourse of elite policy actors in the US, the realities of STEM labor markets, and the actualization of this policy discourse into classroom practice. The implications of this study indicate that analyses of vertical power relations in network governance in STEM education should attend to the semiotics, materiality, and mutability of networked spaces.
Original Publication Date
DOI of published version
UNI ScholarWorks, Rod Library, University of Northern Iowa
Ellison, Scott and Allen, Ben, "Disruptive innovation, labor markets, and Big Valley STEM School: network analysis in STEM education" (2018). Faculty Publications. 739.