100Kin10’s “A Taste of STEM”

America’s students rank 25th in math and 17th in science when compared to other countries on international academic assessments. We were once the world’s engine of scientific discovery and technological innovation, and now we are falling drastically behind our competitors. The case for improved STEM education is clear.

Launched in 2011, the 100Kin10 initiative aims to address this national need. 100kin10 is now a broad coalition of partner organizations and funders committed to recruiting, training and retaining 100,000 new STEM teachers by 2021 to ensure that all students are gaining high-quality knowledge of these critical fields. The Center for High Impact Philanthropy is a 100kin10 partner, and I had the benefit of representing the team at the initiative’s recent ‘A Taste of STEM’ conference. The ‘Taste’ provided partners to the chance to collaborate, but also exposed us to the innovative work being done to improve STEM learning across the U.S.  Here are some ways that donors can get involved:

  • Leveraging the power of media to engage preschoolers in STEM concepts. The nonprofit behind Sesame Street shared its new programming to teach and excite young children about STEM concepts and prepare them for a path of lifelong learning in these critical fields.  Early data reveals strong comprehension of the new content across demographic groups.
  • Supporting the replication of successful, inclusive STEM high schools in neighborhoods of high need. Traditionally, high schools that excelled in teaching STEM content were the most exclusive of private schools. Now, inclusive models (schools where admission is open to all students and supports exist for students with special needs) are quietly emerging across the country. Initial results from a study by George Mason and George Washington University reveal that these schools are effective in diverse communities and are often outperforming their peer public institutions.
  • Linking middle and high school students to STEM activities before college through specialized afterschool programming. The Afterschool Alliance made the case that out of school time programs are uniquely positioned (with flexible hours and few constraints on curriculum) to engage students in STEM and encourage them to consider careers in these fields through direct exposure to professionals and project-based learning. Research shows that students who receive a higher dosage of STEM experiences through additional classes and out of school programs consistently perform better on national assessments than those who had fewer such opportunities.

Stay tuned for more information on 100kin10 partners as these and other exciting STEM efforts develop. And check out our past blogs for more information on the Center’s involvement in 100kin10 (Kicking Off 100kin10; The Promise and Power of Networks: Highlights from the Second Annual 100kin10 Summit).