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An acronym that stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, STEM has become popular recently in discussions involving grade school and higher education curriculums.

STEM proponents often seek to have a greater focus placed on an integrated STEM curriculum in U.S. public schools and universities in order to better prepare students for high-level tech jobs as well as to help ensure the country remains economically and technologically competitive with other countries.

STEM a Priority for President Obama

STEM education has been a key priority for President Obama's administration, with the president calling for the U.S. to recruit and develop at least 100,000 STEM-focused teachers over the next 10 years and for colleges and universities to graduate an additional 1 million or more students with STEM majors over the same time period.

STEM also comes up frequently in immigration and other political debates in terms of providing work visas to immigrants that are skilled in these fields as well as in education reforms to address the shortage of STEM-skilled workers and lack of representation among minorities and women in STEM studies and majors.

A closely related acronym to STEM, MINT, which stands for math, information sciences, natural sciences and technology, is commonly discussed in countries like Germany that also have a shortage of candidates for high-level technology jobs.

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