STEM education is increasing in popularity--more schools are incorporating STEM into their curriculum and making it a key part of what they teach. STEM can help students learn to think logically, improve math test scores, and give students career training. But STEM education can also help bring an end to poverty.
Generational poverty is typically the result of a lack of opportunity. Children who don’t have access to high-quality education tend not to go on to college, and they wind up with low-paying hourly-wage jobs. As adults, they don’t have the time or resources to go back to school, and they raise their children in poverty. Access to opportunities and entry into high-paying careers can break this cycle of poverty.
STEM education opens the door to those new career opportunities for students. The number of available jobs in STEM fields is growing each year. However, there are more job openings than there are qualified employees. That means tech companies are looking for students with STEM degrees, and they’re willing to pay them more.
High-paying STEM jobs can be the way out of poverty for students. In the past, students who lived in poverty may have taken jobs in manufacturing or other trades. Many of those jobs are disappearing, leaving workers back in poverty. STEM jobs, on the other hand, are everywhere, and the tech industry shows no signs of slowing down. Even as certain STEM trends come and go, we can expect to see the overall number of jobs in STEM fields increase.
By providing STEM education to K-12 students in poverty, schools offer a way for students to get ahead in higher education. Students who enter college already proficient in STEM skills are more likely to succeed if they choose a STEM major. Students who are behind, especially in math, may find they cannot keep up with the rigorous coursework of a STEM major. This robs them of the opportunity to explore the STEM careers that could help them break the cycle of poverty.
Having STEM skills can also help students in non-STEM careers. Technology has become a part of almost every job. Knowing how to use technology effectively can give students a huge advantage in the job market.
Schools that give students an introduction to STEM are providing a way out of poverty. STEM education allows students to gain access to a world of higher-paying jobs and improves their odds of succeeding in any profession.
How do you envision STEM education working to end poverty? Tell us your thoughts.
The opinions expressed in Education Futures: Emerging Trends in K-12 are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.