Guest blog: Trump budget would devastate afterschool STEM

READ FULL STORY

Guest blog: Trump budget would devastate afterschool STEM

By Ron Ottinger, the director of STEM Next, co-chair of the national STEM Funders Network, and the former executive director of the Noyce Foundation. Known as a leader and expert in STEM learning, Ron has spent the last nine years guiding the Noyce foundations initiatives in informal and out-of-school-time science. With STEM Next, Ron continues to work toward increasing STEM learning opportunities for youth nationally.

This blog was reposted with permission from STEM Next.  

President Trump’s proposed budget cuts to afterschool programs would deny millions of American youth the opportunity to engage in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) learning; inhibit the development of the nation’s future scientists, engineers, inventors, and business leaders; and cut young people off from building the skills they need to advance in school, work, citizenship, and life.

If enacted by Congress, the President’s budget would eliminate the 21st Century Community Learning Centers program, the single largest source of funding for afterschool and summer programs that enroll 1.6 million students across rural, urban, and suburban communities in all 50 states.

Afterschool and summer programs provide essential learning opportunities for young people. This is particularly true when it comes to STEM learning – a national priority.

And afterschool programs have the support of an overwhelming number of Americans: a recent Quinnipiac poll found 83% are opposed to cuts in afterschool funding.

The Administration has said there is no evidence that these programs are effective. That is simply not true.

Research shows that students participating in afterschool programs increase their grades and academic achievement. Earlier this month, STEM Next launched STEM Ready America: Inspiring and Preparing Students for Success with Afterschool and Summer Learning, featuring new research that found students participating in STEM-focused afterschool programs report increased interest in STEM careers and gains in high-demand skills such as critical thinking and perseverance.

This research was the latest in a growing body of evidence. For example, research by Dr. Deborah Vandell of UC Irvine and colleagues found that students who regularly participate in afterschool programs achieved gains in math and other academic subjects, improved their work habits, and had better school day attendance. Because math proficiency is the gateway to post-secondary STEM majors, closing the achievement gap in math is essential to expanding the pipeline of future STEM leaders.

In 2015, the National Academy of Sciences Board of Science Education released a report noting that out-of-school STEM programs are well suited to building interest in STEM and identity as a STEM learner, reinforcing a similar point made by the President’s Advisory Council on Science and Technology in its 2010 report to the President.

Eliminating the 21st Century Community Learning Centers program is out of step with the actions America’s business, civic, philanthropic, education, and community leaders are taking to improve STEM education. Many of these leaders have come together through the STEM Learning Ecosystems initiative, which supports dynamic collaborations to ensure all young people have opportunities to gain STEM skills and realize their potential. Major corporations are leading partners in STEM learning ecosystems across the country, recognizing the importance of STEM education to workforce and economic development.

States across the country also understand the vital role afterschool STEM plays in education and workforce development. We can look to Indiana and Nebraska for example, two states central to revitalizing the STEM manufacturing sector. Leaders in these states authored articles in STEM Ready America highlighting how they are infusing high quality STEM into afterschool programs to ensure that young people are engaged, prepared and ready for the STEM-centric future.

The President’s proposal would be particularly devastating to low-income children of color and girls who already face barriers to pursuing STEM careers. For example, the wealthiest 20 percent of families devote almost seven times the resources to their children’s enrichment activities outside school than do the poorest 20 percent, leading to a significant learning and opportunity gap, resulting in a 4,000-hour deficit between middle class and low-income children in afterschool and summer learning by the time they reach sixth grade.

These inequitable inputs lead to the inequitable outcomes we see down the line, including in STEM interest, engagement, and pursuit. African Americans and Latinos now represent 29 percent of the general workforce, but just 16 percent of the advanced manufacturing workforce, 15 percent of the computing workforce, and 12 percent of the engineering workforce—rates of participation that have remained essentially flat in recent years. Women have seen no significant improvement over the last 13 years. Eliminating afterschool programs would undoubtedly push low-income children, girls, and children of color even farther behind.

The real crisis in afterschool learning is the lack of opportunities for all who need them: for every child in an afterschool program, there are two waiting to get in. We need to scale up these programs to ensure every child waiting to enroll has access.

And it’s not enough just to expand programs. As STEM Next carries on the 25-year legacy of the Noyce Foundation, we know we must work to improve program quality by investing in the supports and systems that deliver high-quality learning experiences for youth. On that score, the President’s budget also misses the mark, proposing to eliminate these critical supports to STEM learning:

  • Organizational support for STEM programs provided by hundreds of AmeriCorps VISTA volunteers along with the Corporation for Community and National Service (CNCS)
  • Joint professional development and collaborations among in-school and out-of-school educators funded by the Supporting Effective Instruction State Grants program (Title II of ESSA)
  • STEM programs at science centers, and efforts to inspire youth to learn about space through NASA’s Office of Education
  • Afterschool STEM programming at libraries through the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS)

These cuts would make it much more difficult to ensure equitable access to programs, find and train staff, link STEM mentors with youth, and help schools reach beyond the classroom to connect with communities and the private sector.

It’s up to the community of STEM supporters to defeat this shortsighted budget proposal. Join STEM Next in speaking out for STEM and young people by taking two key actions:

Call your elected representatives and ask them to fully fund the 21st Century Community Learning Center program and reject cuts to it and to the other critical youth-serving supports that are facing elimination.

Add your organization’s name to a sign-on letter developed by the Afterschool Alliance calling for funding for the 21st CCLC program.  Please feel to share with other organizations who may be interested in signing the letter.

Renewed commitments to computer science at CSforAll Summit

On October 8, computer science (CS) educators and advocates descended on Detroit, Michigan for the 2018 CSforALL Summit. As part of this year’s summit, a special one-day working session, entitled Mo’ Time for CS Education, was held to bring practitioners, advocates, researchers, and...

BY: Chris Neitzey      10/29/18

It’s not too late to sign up: Afterschool Lab Report October recap!

The next issue of the Afterschool Lab Report is coming this October. Brought to you each quarter by the Afterschool STEM Hub, a project of the Afterschool Alliance, the newsletter provides the latest STEM education policy updates, new resources, upcoming opportunities for advocacy, and new research...

BY: Leah Silverberg      10/23/18

New California “Kids Code” program to expand computer coding in afterschool

The Kids Code Pilot Program, which passed the California Legislature earlier this year and was championed by Assemblymember Kevin McCarty, will provide $15 million in funding over three years to expand access to coding in afterschool programs across the state. The pilot program will allow existing...

BY: Chris Neitzey      09/21/18

NSF awards funding for convening of afterschool STEM field

Over the last decade, the out-of-school time science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) field has expanded rapidly. We have seen substantial growth in not only the numbers of STEM programs, but in the diversity of programming offered. While the availability of a multitude of learning...

BY: Faith Savaiano      08/27/18

Start a Girls Who Code Club this fall!

Girls Who Code wants to work with you to provide your students with high-quality computer science resources! A national nonprofit organization, Girls Who Code is working to close the gender gap in computer science professions. The Girls Who Code afterschool curriculum is FREE to participating...

BY: Leah Silverberg      08/06/18

It’s not too late to sign up: Afterschool Lab Report recap!

The next issue of the Afterschool Lab Report is coming this July. Brought to you each quarter by the Afterschool STEM Hub, a project of the Afterschool Alliance, the newsletter provides the latest STEM education policy updates, new resources, upcoming opportunities for advocacy, and new research in...

BY: Leah Silverberg      07/24/18

Guest blog: Inspiring New Mexico’s Youth STEMbassador program

By Julie Hernandez, STEM Afterschool Expansion VISTA for New Mexico. Science introduced me to a world of possibilities. I see scientists as modern day explorers, discovering worlds we’ve never seen and providing answers to questions we didn’t even know to ask. Science also...

BY: Guest Blogger      07/09/18

From afterschool to electrician

Today, we shine a light on Colby Holmes from New Hope, Alabama. Then a senior in high school, Colby attended the 2017 Afterschool for All Challenge in Washington, D.C. and took the time to tell his story: how his afterschool program has inspired his future career in a STEM field and fueled his...

BY: Charlotte Steinecke      05/11/18

Maker Mart in Roanoke puts the tools to learn in students’ hands

At the Maker Mart in Roanoke, Virginia, students in safety glasses guide hissing handsaws across two-by-fours of pale wood. At a work table nearby, drill bits peel out pencil-shavings from a tube of wood, opening up holes to fit the screws for a student’s new design – a handmade chair...

BY: Charlotte Steinecke      04/13/18

Guest blog: 33 boys. Zero girls.

By Jothi Ramaswamy, founder and CEO of ThinkSTEAM. “33 boys. Zero girls.” Four words. That’s all it took to transform my 13 year old perspective on society. I was talking with my brother over dinner when he iterated this gender ratio in his undergraduate C++ coding...

BY: Guest Blogger      03/29/18

Education Innovation and Research grant provides opportunities for student apprenticeships

Eighteen new grantees were recently awarded Education Innovation and Research (EIR) grants from the Department of Education. Developed under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) and amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), EIR grants, which are inspired by the Investing in...

BY: Leah Silverberg      11/05/18

Renewed commitments to computer science at CSforAll Summit

On October 8, computer science (CS) educators and advocates descended on Detroit, Michigan for the 2018 CSforALL Summit. As part of this year’s summit, a special one-day working session, entitled Mo’ Time for CS Education, was held to bring practitioners, advocates, researchers, and...

BY: Chris Neitzey      10/29/18

New California “Kids Code” program to expand computer coding in afterschool

The Kids Code Pilot Program, which passed the California Legislature earlier this year and was championed by Assemblymember Kevin McCarty, will provide $15 million in funding over three years to expand access to coding in afterschool programs across the state. The pilot program will allow existing...

BY: Chris Neitzey      09/21/18

Start a Girls Who Code Club this fall!

Girls Who Code wants to work with you to provide your students with high-quality computer science resources! A national nonprofit organization, Girls Who Code is working to close the gender gap in computer science professions. The Girls Who Code afterschool curriculum is FREE to participating...

BY: Leah Silverberg      08/06/18

What the FY19 budget request does, and doesn’t do, for STEM learning

On February 12, the White House released its FY19 budget request. As expected, it reiterated much of the FY18 request, including deep cuts to and elimination of many discretionary programs. This year’s request was made more confusing due to the congressional budget deal reached just days...

BY: Stephanie Rodriguez      02/22/18

Stay informed about STEM with the Afterschool STEM Hub newsletter

Brought to you by the Afterschool STEM Hub, a project of the Afterschool Alliance, the Afterschool Lab Report is dedicated to continuously providing advocates with the tools they need to make the case for out-of-school time STEM learning. The Afterschool Lab Report is sent each quarter,...

BY: Leah Silverberg      01/22/18

Wrapping up the 2017 CS Ed Week

Computer Science Education Week (CS Ed Week) 2017 was an exciting time for the Afterschool Alliance and the CS education community at large. The Afterschool Alliance shared key resources for afterschool computer science throughout the week, including: “Connecting to computer science: A...

BY: Stephanie Rodriguez      12/15/17

Webinar recap: Tools, ideas, and strategies for creative computing in afterschool

Providing students with the tools and knowledge they need to become creators of technology, not just consumers, is a growing priority for afterschool programs across the country. Many are building from the ground up and running into issues like identifying technology, tools, and curricula to meet...

BY: Melissa Ballard      12/08/17

Promising practices: Hybrid tech/analog system grows STEM mentoring

During CS Ed Week, we wanted to highlight an initiative that pushes the envelope on excellence in computer science and STEM. Keshia Ashe, the co-founder and chief executiver officer of ManyMentors, sat down to talk about afterschool, STEM mentoring, and fostering the growth of underrepresented...

BY: Charlotte Steinecke      12/07/17

New commitments to equity, engagement at the CSforALL Summit

“Power is the ability to write and author the American story… and that requires ambition to be nurtured; it requires the administration of an infrastructure that can do this.” These words come from Dr. Kamau Bobb of Georgia Institute of Technology, explaining how institutes of...

BY: Stephanie Rodriguez      10/20/17

Start a Girls Who Code Club this fall!

Girls Who Code wants to work with you to provide your students with high-quality computer science resources! A national nonprofit organization, Girls Who Code is working to close the gender gap in computer science professions. The Girls Who Code afterschool curriculum is FREE to participating...

BY: Leah Silverberg      08/06/18

Guest blog: Inspiring New Mexico’s Youth STEMbassador program

By Julie Hernandez, STEM Afterschool Expansion VISTA for New Mexico. Science introduced me to a world of possibilities. I see scientists as modern day explorers, discovering worlds we’ve never seen and providing answers to questions we didn’t even know to ask. Science also...

BY: Guest Blogger      07/09/18

Guest blog: 33 boys. Zero girls.

By Jothi Ramaswamy, founder and CEO of ThinkSTEAM. “33 boys. Zero girls.” Four words. That’s all it took to transform my 13 year old perspective on society. I was talking with my brother over dinner when he iterated this gender ratio in his undergraduate C++ coding...

BY: Guest Blogger      03/29/18

Storytelling & mentoring can bring STEM's Hidden Figures into the spotlight

By Allyson Kennedy, a scientist, educator, and STEM advocate. Allyson received her Ph.D. in Developmental Biology from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2016 and is now working to broaden participation in computing education through an AAAS Science and Technology Policy fellowship at the National...

BY: Guest Blogger      02/26/18

Webinar recap: Tools, ideas, and strategies for creative computing in afterschool

Providing students with the tools and knowledge they need to become creators of technology, not just consumers, is a growing priority for afterschool programs across the country. Many are building from the ground up and running into issues like identifying technology, tools, and curricula to meet...

BY: Melissa Ballard      12/08/17

Promising practices: Hybrid tech/analog system grows STEM mentoring

During CS Ed Week, we wanted to highlight an initiative that pushes the envelope on excellence in computer science and STEM. Keshia Ashe, the co-founder and chief executiver officer of ManyMentors, sat down to talk about afterschool, STEM mentoring, and fostering the growth of underrepresented...

BY: Charlotte Steinecke      12/07/17

New commitments to equity, engagement at the CSforALL Summit

“Power is the ability to write and author the American story… and that requires ambition to be nurtured; it requires the administration of an infrastructure that can do this.” These words come from Dr. Kamau Bobb of Georgia Institute of Technology, explaining how institutes of...

BY: Stephanie Rodriguez      10/20/17

It’s not too late to sign up: Afterschool Lab Report recap!

The next issue of the Afterschool Lab Report is coming this July. Brought to you each quarter by the Afterschool STEM Hub, a project of the Afterschool Alliance, the newsletter provides the latest STEM education policy updates, new resources, upcoming opportunities for advocacy, and new research in...

BY: Leah Silverberg      07/24/18

Overdeck Family Foundation renews efforts to support STEM learning

Updated March 2 to include a quote from Overdeck Family Foundation Program Officier Brian Carter.  Advancing supportive afterschool policies, regardless of the focus area, requires a collaborative, multi-pronged approach. As such, we are delighted to continue our partnership...

BY: Stephanie Rodriguez      01/26/18

3 must-read articles from Connected Science Learning

Are you interested in collaborations that bridge out-of-school and in-school STEM learning? Check out the new peer-reviewed online journal, Connected Science Learning, a project from the National Science Teachers Association and the Association of Science-Technology Centers. Connected...

BY: Leah Silverberg      02/21/17

What are you doing for Computer Science Education Week?

This December 5-11, join the Afterschool Alliance in celebrating the importance of computer science education for all kids for the 2016 Computer Science Education Week. Planning an Hour of Code with your students and participating in our tweet chat is a great way to start! Plan an Hour of...

BY: Melissa Ballard      11/21/16