Math and science educators are a close second to special education when it comes to shortages nationwide, according to a 2016 report by the Economic Policy Institute. While more than half of U.S. school districts report difficulties in recruiting and retaining qualified STEM teachers, the situation is exacerbated for schools serving primarily Black and Brown students. More than 90 percent of districts with large African American and Hispanic and Latinx populations report significant struggles with hiring and keeping high-quality STEM teachers, according to The74, an education news site.
Expanding and diversifying the STEM education pipeline would transform outcomes for children from disadvantaged backgrounds. As Talia Milgrom-Elcott, JD, co-founder and executive director of the education nonprofit 100Kin10, recently wrote in Forbes:
“[Underserved] students could cure cancer and dementia, desalinate water and renew our energy resources, and figure out how to predict weather and mitigate natural disasters. They are already sitting in classrooms in America, and whether they become the people who lead those breakthroughs could very well depend on their excellent STEM teachers.”
100kin10 aims to produce 100,000 highly skilled STEM teachers within 10 years. Launched in 2011, the organization has recruited or trained 68,000 teachers in K-12 classrooms across the U.S. thus far.
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