The need for better STEM education is clear. A recent study by Georgetown professor Anthony P. Carnavale and colleagues at the Center on Education and the Workforce found growing demand both for traditional STEM occupations as well as for STEM competencies across the labor force.
But because not enough young people are inspired to pursue advanced study in the STEM fields, the nation is increasingly relying on foreign talent to fill the gaps. Meanwhile, many young people are taught by teachers whose own knowledge and preparation in STEM is inadequate due to factors such as:
- uneven quality of preparation
- high rates of professional turnover
- uneven distribution of talent
So what to do? There are many great programs that address these problems from several different angles—in fact, our Center has profiled a number of them in both Pathways to Student Success and High Impact Philanthropy to Improve Teaching Quality. What is exciting about the 100Kin10 Network is that it is bringing many of these programs together to learn from one another.
During the course of the day-long summit I attended sessions led by TNTP, New Visions for Public Schools, The Achievement Network, and the U.S. Department of Education (and there were many others running concurrently that I would have liked to attend). I found each session deeply substantive, refreshingly honest about difficulties, and filled with intelligent questions and commentary from representatives from peer organizations.
In both sessions and conversations, I got the sense of smart and dedicated people finding ideas and connections that could help in their own work and thinking, whether on the effective use of formative assessment, strategies for successful adoption of new Common Core Standards in Math and Science, or ways to make STEM subjects more fun and relevant (the 100Kin10 Summit venue and partner, the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry, was an inspiration in this regard).
Philanthropy has been instrumental both in supporting 100Kin10 as a network and in augmenting the work of partner organizations to push towards the goal of recruiting and retaining 100,000 excellent STEM teachers over the next 10 years. The roster of donors is as diverse as the implementation partners, ranging from foundations traditionally committed to education issues, such as The Carnegie Corporation, to new-technology leaders like Google, to corporations, such as Chevron, to individual donors and family foundations.
For the Center’s audience, 100Kin10’s recent announcement of a New York regional fund, supported by three family foundations with regional ties, is a relevant development for those who may be interested in getting involved but have a regional focus. For additional information, feel free to contact us at the Center or 100Kin10 directly.