To the Editor:
The blog post “STEM Instruction: How Much There Is and Who Gets It” demonstrates the broad inequality of access to STEM education among our nation’s students (Curriculum Matters, January 8, 2019). Such inequities should serve as a wake-up call to educators, parents, and the business community alike.
For more than 20 years, employers have lamented the skills gap in America’s workforce and how this impacts the country’s long-term global competitiveness. The New York Academy of Sciences believes there is a crucial disparity between the STEM skills taught in K-12 schools today and those required by employers—a disparity that could be addressed if all students were provided a minimum standard of STEM instruction.
Affluent school districts with access to generous funding sources attract top teachers and equip their classrooms with the resources needed to properly engage and instruct students in STEM. But we need to ensure that all students have this advantage if we hope to maintain the educated citizenry that will fuel the talent pipeline of the future.
Investing in teacher professional development and ensuring that schools in underserved communities have highly qualified instructors would be a good start to address the deficiencies in our STEM education system. The long-term economic and social vibrancy of the country depends upon it.
Senior Vice President, Chief Learning Officer
The New York Academy of Sciences
New York, N.Y.
A version of this article appeared in the January 23, 2019 edition of Education Week as Access to STEM Instruction Is Uneven