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STEM News Roundup: ’Leaky STEM Pipeline’ Starts Before Kindergarten, Study Finds

STEM News Round-Up: ’Leaky STEM Pipeline’ Starts Before Kindergarten, Study Finds

This week in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) news, the White House announces a new initiative for inspiring STEM, experts discourage against ‘technical ghettos,’ hack clubs take the country by storm and a new report speculates that STEM achievement is determined even before kindergarten. 

 ’Leaky STEM Pipeline’ Starts Before Kindergarten, Study Finds

A new study has found that the ‘leaky STEM pipeline’ that results in few minorities in the fields is created even before kindergarten, says U.S. News.

The study "found that many minority children enter kindergarten with a low level of general knowledge of the world around them, and they tended to falter in science throughout their school years. Five-year-olds who were able answer general questions like 'What do firemen do?' and “What do planes and trains have in common?' went on to score much better on science tests in the third, fifth and eighth grades. But most who started behind stayed behind. Few caught up,” the article said.

The paper, Science Achievement Gaps Begin Very Early, Persist, and Are Largely Explained by Modifiable Factors, found that a general knowledge of the world from a very early age better predicted student achievement later on than did reading or math scores.

Read more. 

White House Starts ‘National Week at the Labs’ to Promote STEM

The White House under the Obama administration is continuing to act on its commitment to getting more of America’s students interested in STEM.

"One way to prepare all of America’s youth for [STEM] opportunities is to share some of the work we’re doing in our Nation’s Federal labs and help them meet some of our STEM leaders. This week, the White House will launch a National Week at the Labs in coordination with the White House Council on Women and Girls (CWG) and the My Brother’s Keeper (MBK) Task Force to bring together scientists, engineers, and lab workers to inspire students as they spend the day performing experiments and participating in STEM mentoring sessions,” said the White House in a statement.

This week, more than 50 National Labs in 20 states will open their doors to students to provide hands-on STEM events.

"This work, which connects STEM, innovation, and business leaders with boys and girls and young men and young women from around the country, supports local organizations to carry out these initiatives, and enables young people to leverage opportunities and achieve success.”

Read more. 

Hack Clubs Help Students Explore Computer Science Despite School Limitations

Despite recent initiatives to expand computer science in America’s schools, it’s no secret that many schools struggle to offer CS as a course offering for students.

In order to help students of all skill-sets get into programming, 18-year-old Zach Latta has created a network of ‘Hack Clubs’ that are doing just that.

Only recently being created, hack clubs have now spread to 69 schools in 16 states and have earned Latta a place on Forbes’ 30 Under 30 (Education Category) list.

Read more.

Avoiding ‘Technical Ghettos’ In Wake of STEM Push Crucial to Leveling Playing Field

Experts writing for The Atlantic have recently spoken out against the trend of technical ghettos in high-need schools- or an influx of technology without any program to support it

"A leveled playing field is more than giving all students the access they need to technology. All students have to feel challenged and encouraged to excel at the same height as their peers,” Education World said.

The idea of avoiding technical ghettos emphasizes “quality over quantity” when it comes to technology.

Technology without trained teachers or adequate programs do not actually teach students STEM, the experts say.

Read the full story. 

 

Compiled by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor

3/1/2016

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