Education Trends

STEM Trends for 2020 Target Diversity, Rural Teachers and PD

A nonprofit pursuing the goal of helping prepare 100,000 teachers to teach STEM subjects in American classrooms by 2021 recently issued a report on 10 trends for 2020, placing diversity challenges at the top of the list. 100Kin10, which links academic institutions, nonprofits, foundations, companies and government agencies to address the nation’s STEM teacher shortage, said that to draw under-represented minorities into the science, technology, engineering and math fields would require recruiting and supporting more teachers of color.

Currently, the report noted, while half of students are people of color, less than 20 percent of teachers are. Among the movements forward is a project undertaken by California's Trellis Education and a bunch of institutional and nonprofit partners, to examine what holds teachers of color back from succeeding and creating a toolkit to be used by schools to support "culturally responsive changes in their environments."

Another trend: the integration of more professional development for teachers into the school schedule. Among the ideas being tested around the country are early student release days, collaborations during student lunch and the use of a year-round calendar that provides a three-week break period for teacher PD and vacation. A project led by STEMteachersNYC and the University of North Carolina System will develop a resource documenting "innovative scheduling options for job-embedded professional learning."

Support for STEM teachers in rural areas is also an area of attention. According to 100Kin10, several projects are underway to address the needs of these educators. One is the National Math and Science Initiative, which has helped to develop a state-wide network in North Dakota "to connect geographically and economically isolated communities, including reservation schools" and bringing advanced placement courses in STEM subjects to students.

The complete trends report is openly available on the 100Kin10 website.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.