A majority of parents questioned believe math is an important factor in defining their children's future success, according to a survey released today by Raytheon Company (RTN). Raytheon's "Parent Survey about Math Learning and Future Success" reported that 53 percent of parents said being good at math eclipsed being outgoing (42 percent) and being good at sports (5 percent) as traits the parents believe would help their children succeed in life.
As statistics show American students lagging behind their international peers in math performance, Raytheon commissioned a survey of 1,000 parents of children between the ages of 6 and 15 aimed at further understanding their perspective on their children's math-related study habits, attitudes and priorities.
"The United States faces a national STEM crisis that affects our country's economic prosperity and national security. We believe capturing the interest of students in their formative years is key to engaging them in a lifetime of STEM learning and career pursuits -- and parental involvement is vital to shaping their children's attitudes," said William H. Swanson, Chairman and CEO of Raytheon Company. "For the past seven years Raytheon has directed significant resources toward inspiring students to make the connection between math and the wonders of the world around them."
Raytheon commissioned the "Parent Survey about Math Learning and Future Success" as part of its longstanding science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education initiative. Raytheon supports students, educators and parents throughout the academic life cycle. With a solutions-oriented approach to improving STEM education, the company has developed a wide array of programs, including interactive and hands-on learning environments to engage students; a statistical modeling tool to support school administrators as they plan education investments; scholarships and training for both students and teachers; mentoring by employees to supplement classroom learning; and strategic partnerships with organizations seeking to generate awareness of the STEM challenge.
Key Survey Findings
Among the key survey findings:
- More than half of parents say that being good at math will help their children achieve future success - and they see a promising future for their children in science- and math-based industries.
- When asked to select an industry that would offer their children the best career opportunities, 3 out of 4 parents chose STEM-related fields.
- On the other hand, when it comes to free time, close to half (46 percent) of parents prefer to have their children playing sports than engaging in other types of activities, including math- and science-related pursuits.
- The survey found parents believe their children are on the right track: more than 8 in 10 parents (86 percent) said their children love school, and 7 in 10 (72 percent) said their children love math.
- However, parent responses show there is a drop in math interest as children move from elementary to middle school (from 77 percent to 67 percent).
- Parents were aware of opportunities to help their children with math: 4 out of 5 parents believed hands-on activities such as cooking, sewing and building projects can make math fun.
"These survey findings are very encouraging. They show that parents have a clear vision about the importance of math in their children's future opportunities," said Pamela Erickson, Raytheon's vice president of Community Relations. "With job growth in science, technology, engineering and math outpacing non-STEM-related jobs, Raytheon remains committed to helping parents and teachers guide their students toward the exciting and challenging opportunities awaiting them in STEM-related careers."
Since 2005, Raytheon has invested $72 million through the company's flagship STEM program, MathMovesU(R). Raytheon employees dedicate their time to raise STEM awareness, helping MathMovesU reach more than three million students, teachers and parents. To learn more about MathMovesU and to view the survey's executive summary, visit www.raytheon.com.
The Raytheon "Parent Survey about Math Learning and Future Success" was fielded by Koski Research, and responses were generated from a survey of 1,000 parents of children ages 6-15 using a national online sample. All parents were geographically represented and living in the U.S. The survey's margin of error is 3 percent.
Raytheon's MathMovesU(R) program is an initiative committed to increasing middle and elementary school students' interest in math and science education by engaging them in hands-on, interactive activities. The innovative programs of MathMovesU include the traveling interactive experience MathAlive!(TM); Raytheon's Sum of all Thrills(TM) experience at INNOVENTIONS at Epcot(R), which showcases math in action as students design and experience their own thrill ride using math fundamentals; the "In the Numbers" game, a partnership with the New England Patriots on display at The Hall at Patriot Place presented by Raytheon; the company's ongoing sponsorship of the MATHCOUNTS(R) National Competition; and the MathMovesU scholarship and grant program. Follow MathMovesU and other Raytheon community outreach programs on Facebook and on Twitter @MathMovesU.
Raytheon Company, with 2011 sales of $25 billion and 71,000 employees worldwide, is a technology and innovation leader specializing in defense, homeland security and other government markets throughout the world. With a history of innovation spanning 90 years, Raytheon provides state-of-the-art electronics, mission systems integration and other capabilities in the areas of sensing; effects; and command, control, communications and intelligence systems, as well as a broad range of mission support services. Raytheon is headquartered in Waltham, Mass. For more about Raytheon, visit us at www.raytheon.com and follow us on Twitter @Raytheon.