Creating a Larger Community of STEM Advocates

Friday, August 23, 2013 -- Kristin Flynn

Who are your STEM advocates? Fellow teachers? Administrators? Parents? There are a lot of possibilities. But Change the Equation (CTEq) is thinking beyond the immediate education community and envisions the potential that creating private sector advocates can have on STEM education.

CTEq is “a nonprofit, nonpartisan, CEO-led initiative that is mobilizing the business community to improve the quality of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics learning in the United States,” and its mission is to “to foster widespread literacy in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) that sparks an innovative spirit in students and prepares them for postsecondary options.” To support that mission it has created a 28-page Business Leader's Guide to Mobilizing State Action on STEM that encourages actions at the state level that promote STEM education. It recognizes that even in the current environment of chronically high unemployment, many jobs go unfilled because of a lack of candidates with adequate STEM skills.

Among other things, the guide encourages businesses to address STEM in the following ways: Be strategic; Show strength in numbers; Focus on data and evidence; Leverage partnerships and sponsorships; Inspire students; and to continually use public forums to make the case for STEM.

CTEq also developed a Principles for STEM Advocacy that succinctly outlines nine principles for both public and private advocacy of STEM education.

In developing these resources, CTEq recognizes the need for a holistic approach to STEM advocacy – one that involves the private sector, because the private sector is keenly aware of the need for improved STEM education.

Who are your STEM advocates? Where will your next STEM advocates be found? There are STEM enthusiasts in many places who have a vested interest in the success of your students. CTEq can help you recruit them.