Major Malfunction: Racial and Ethnic Disparities in What Students Study

Education and Literacy;Employment and Labor;Race and Ethnicity

Major Malfunction: Racial and Ethnic Disparities in What Students Study

This analysis explores bachelor's degrees earned by race and ethnicity, broken down by area of study. The report identifies the majors and programs that produce the highest and lowest median incomes (both at the start of one's career and in the middle of one's career) and probes for uneven distributions of African American and Latino students. The report finds that these students disproportionately earn more degrees in low-paying majors, and fewer degrees in the highest paying majors.

September 2015

Geographic Focus: North America-United States

Afterschool Alert: Partnerships with STEM-Rich Institutions

Computers and Technology, Education and Literacy, Science

Afterschool Alert: Partnerships with STEM-Rich Institutions

Afterschool programs around the nation have enthusiastically embraced science, technology,engineering and math (STEM). Some major afterschool providers, like 4-H and Girls Inc., have long mad eSTEM a priority and in recent years, the vast majority of providers have also come to value providing STEM learning opportunities as an important part of their programming. An Afterschool Alliance poll of afterschool programs conducted in 2010-2011 showed that 99 percent of respondents thought that offering some sort of STEM programming was important, even if that wasn't the focus of their program.

As interest and commitment to STEM learning in afterschool grows, there is an increased need for support to build the capacity of afterschool programs to offer innovative and robust STEM programming. The Afterschool Alliance poll of afterschool programs also asked respondents to describe what supports they saw as most essential. Unsurprisingly, funding was ranked as the highest need, but a close second was a desire for partnerships with STEM professionals and STEM-rich institutions, as well as more opportunities for professional development.

This issue brief illustrates the power of strong, successful partnerships between afterschool programs and STEM-rich institutions. Additionally, the partnerships described offer promising and innovative models that can have a significant impact on both students and their instructors.

November 2013

Geographic Focus:

Help Wanted: The Role of Foreign Workers in the Innovation Economy

Education and Literacy, Employment and Labor, Immigration

Help Wanted: The Role of Foreign Workers in the Innovation Economy

In February of 2011, President Barack Obama attended a small dinner with several Silicon Valley executives. Seated between Apple founder Steve Jobs and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, the conversation quickly turned to the large shortage of trained engineers in the United States, according to Walter Isaacson's biography of Steve Jobs. Jobs reportedly put the case bluntly to the President, stating that he employs 700,000 factory workers in China because he cannot recruit 30,000 engineers in the United States.

Similar stories of skills gaps are found at companies large and small all over the US economy.

As a near term solution to fill the perceived STEM shortage, University Presidents, STEM employers, STEM workers, and others have called on Congress to reform US immigration laws to recruit and retain high-skilled foreign-born STEM workers, and members of Congress have taken up the call for reform. Both Democrats and Republicans from the US Senate and the US House of Representatives have introduced bills to provide green cards to foreign advanced degree graduates in STEM from US universities. Polls have shown broad bipartisan support for these bills across political, ideological, racial, and ethnic lines.

As these bills are considered, it is important to ask and address the following questions: (1) Does a STEM shortage exist?; (2) What is the extent of the STEM shortage, and in what fields is it most prominent?; and (3) Would hiring foreign STEM professionals displace their American counterparts?

November 2012

Geographic Focus: North America-United States

A Path Toward a STEM Teacher Corps

Education and Literacy;Science

A Path Toward a STEM Teacher Corps

The STEM Teacher Corps is a bold initiative to advance STEM teaching and learning across the United States by recognizing the nation's top K-12 STEM teachers. In order to attract and retain the best STEM teachers, we must significantly reward excellence in STEM teaching, elevate the status of the profession, and create paths within the profession to which all STEM teachers can aspire. We also have an opportunity to create a cadre of the nation's most accomplished teachers who will broadly advance education and education policy.

The need for such a Corps was outlined in a September 2010 report to President Obama from his Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST). The President announced his Administration's plans to launch a Teacher Corps in July 2012. A national STEM Teacher Corps would recognize a larger percentage of teachers than any existing recognition program, create an interactive professional community of teachers empowered to make broad improvements to STEM education, and provide significant stipends to reward teachers and their schools. It would also provide a growth trajectory for teachers to develop within the profession and avenues for them to engage in improving STEM teaching and learning beyond their classrooms. The Corps is a coherent cadre of teachers with national visibility, and with linked national, regional, state, and local networks of teachers who help improve each other's practice and professionalize STEM teaching.

March 2013

Geographic Focus: North America-United States

Monitoring What Matters About Context and Instruction in Science Education: A NAEP Data Analysis Report

Education and Literacy

Monitoring What Matters About Context and Instruction in Science Education: A NAEP Data Analysis Report

This report explores background variables in the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) to examine key context and instructional factors behind science learning for eighth grade students. Science education is examined from five perspectives: student engagement in science, science teachers' credentials and professional development, availability and use of science resources, approaches to science instruction, and methods and uses of science assessment.

July 2013

Geographic Focus: North America-United States

Know Your Funders: A Guide to STEM Funding for Afterschool

Education and Literacy, Nonprofits and Philanthropy

Know Your Funders: A Guide to STEM Funding for Afterschool

The need for competency in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) skills is not only increasingly important for success in the workforce but also to navigate the modern world and to make decisions that will inform public policy. In response to this need and to maintain the United States' global competitiveness, the federal government as well as private philanthropies and corporations are increasingly investing in a variety of STEM education initiatives.

This guide serves as a tool for afterschool program leaders to navigate various funding streams and consider effective strategies to acquire funding for afterschool STEM programs. It describes the different types of funding available for STEM education in afterschool and provides tips on how to write successful proposals

October 2012

Geographic Focus: North America-United States

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