The following are just some examples from the introduction and the Executive Summary that show the federal governments intent to be heavily involved in STEM and how they intend to use grants to
further their objectives.
Although pre K-12 education in the United States is primarily a State, local, and Tribal responsibility, the Federal Government plays an important role in fostering educational excellence, including supporting and disseminating the latest discoveries on what works in teaching and learning and facilitating equal access.
Foster STEM Ecosystems that Unite Communities STEM ecosystems engage educators and individuals within and outside a formal educational setting, and include, among others, families; school districts; State, local, and Tribal governments; the Federal Government and Federal facilities; libraries; museums and science centers; community colleges, technical schools, and universities; community groups and clubs; foundations
and nonprofits; faith based organizations; and businesses.
STEM ecosystems focus on long-term, shared, sustainable, and flexible STEM missions that bridge, integrate, and strengthen the learning opportunities offered by organizations across sectors compared with isolated, independent entities. Ecosystem partners are not bound by geographic boundaries and can broadly involve individuals and organizations in both physical and virtual engagement to create STEM communities that expand from local to global.
Every stakeholder addressed in this document would be a natural contributor to a STEM ecosystem. Elected officials, school and college administrators, nonprofit directors, faith leaders, and business executives are often ideally situated to organize and foster ecosystems where none yet exist. In and out of-school educators communicating with
employers and families through ecosystems can build wraparound support systems beneficial to learners.
Increase the number of Federal funding opportunities that include STEM ecosystem engagement or development as an award selection criterion.
Of course no federal program would be complete without a focus on diversity and claims of inherent discrimination or bias that have to be addressed!
The national benefits of a strong STEM foundation cannot be fully realized until all members of society have equitable access to STEM education and there is much broader participation by those historically under-served and underrepresented in STEM fields and employment. A wide body of research has established that organizations that are diverse in terms of gender, race, socioeconomic status, ethnicity, ability, geography, religion, etc., and provide an inclusive environment that values diversity better retain talent, are
more engaged and productive, are more innovative, and generally are higher performing organizations.
Presently, high-quality STEM opportunities are not available to all learners. Implicit bias is one factor that inhibits the realization of this goal. Disparity in the distribution of human, material, and financial resources across rural, urban, and suburban America also inhibits this goal. An effect is that Blacks or African Americans, Hispanics or Latinos, and American Indians or Alaska Natives are underrepresented in STEM fields as compared with their overall participation in the workforce.
Women in occupations such as computing and engineering are dramatically
underrepresented given their participation in the U.S. workforce as a whole.
One analysis found that many additional inventions and patents, business start-ups,educational innovations, and other stunning achievements could be realized if the under-served had more equitable exposure to innovation.
Even in cases where they are not underrepresented in a community, women and minorities face barriers to success in STEM.