The problem of poverty is actually not uncommon here in United States. 1 out of 5 children are born in poverty. By the age of 4 poor children have heard 30 million fewer words than well-off children. Poor children are less likely to graduate from high school. Furthermore, child poverty increases the risk of under employment and adult poverty. If you were an American child younger than five and your father was not around, it was more likely than not that you lived below the Census Bureau’s poverty level. Last year, 53.8% of all children under 5 years who lived in a household headed by a woman whose husband was not present lived below that financial threshold.
Furthermore, Representation in STEM fields from females as well as other groups, such as persons with disabilities, African Americans/Blacks, Hispanic Americans, American Indians, Alaskan Natives, Native Hawaiians, Native Pacific Islanders, and persons from economically disadvantaged backgrounds, is particularly and acutely lacking. (Newman, 2015). There is a deeply felt sense among educators and professionals in STEM fields that too many of these students graduate high school without adequate STEM skills (Cohen, 2015). Students who have not experienced rigorous courses in math and science are not prepared to attend our nation’s universities in order to pursue careers in STEM-related fields. According to STEM Colorado (2014), there is a lack of diversity in the STEM workforce.
Through collective impact projects, partnerships between education and other industries can work together to solve this injustice. Collective impact practitioners must recognize that the power of collective impact comes from enabling “collective seeing, learning, and doing,” rather than following a linear plan. The collective impact structure enables people to come together regularly to look at data and learn from one another, to understand what is working and what is not. (Kania et al 2014).
We face a problem of great local and national consequence. How to adequately educate children and prepare them for their lives in the 21st century is of major concern for many. The traditional classroom is now just one of many elements in the child education equation. The obstacle is never too great when we pull together to accomplish collective goals. With experience and the expertise of collective impact on our side, we can rise to conquer any problem.
Cohen J, Price H. Driving Youth Outcomes Through Collective Impact. Kennedy School Review [serial online]. January 2015;15:28-33. Available from: Academic Search Premier, Ipswich, MA. Accessed February 7, 2017.
KANIA, J., HANLEYBROWN, F., & JUSTER, J. S. (2014). Essential Mindset Shifts for Collective Impact. Stanford Social Innovation Review, 12(4), 2-5.
Newman, J. L., Dantzler, J., & Coleman, A. N. (2015). Science in Action: How Middle School Students Are Changing Their World Through STEM Service-Learning Projects. Theory Into Practice, 54(1), 47-54. doi:10.1080/00405841.2015.977661
STEM Colorado (2014) Colorado Talent for an Innovation Economy. The Colorado Education Inititative Retrived from: http://www.coloradoedinitiative.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/CO-STEM-Roadmap-w_Appendices.pdf