The world needs more scientists and engineers. But without access to STEM education, how are students in poor, rural, and underserved communities supposed to prepare for these careers? Fortunately, a number of newly proposed laws and initiatives aim to help them.
In the U.S., the latest White House budget request involves proposals that would increase focus on the importance of career and technical education (CTE), aiming to increase the funding for the CTE state grant program to almost US$2 billion. It also seeks to create a new STEM initiative for minorities. Under the proposal, the budget for the Minority Science and Engineering Improvement Program would increase from $12 million to $150 million. This would fund a program to help minority-serving institutions in underserved areas.
California lawmakers have also proposed legislation that would help introduce more students to computer science, especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds. Several bills have been proposed, including Senate Bill 1193, which will make sure a strategic plan for computer science education will maintain its momentum for a system-wide rollout. Another (Assembly Bill 2274) would boost data tracking and reporting, and provide valuable insight into where computer science courses are being taught and which students are benefiting from them. A third bill (Assembly Bill 1967) aims to increase the number of educators qualified to teach computer science in classrooms. Assembly Bill 2309 would incentivize schools to offer computer science training to teachers.
Kids and educators in rural schools throughout Virginia are also about to get a big boost from Amazon. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the company will donate $3.9 million to help rural districts in the state access virtual computer science curriculums. The Amazon Future Engineer Program will reach 500,000 6-12 K students and 12,000 educators throughout 700 underserved and rural communities.
TryEngineering aims to empower educators to foster the next generation of technology innovators. We provide educators and students with resources, lesson plans, and activities that engage and inspire. Visit our website today to see all of the resources we have available for teachers, students, and parents.