Advancing Equity through More and Better STEM Learning

February 23, 2015

Minorities’ poor access to science, technology, engineering and math education makes it a critical civil rights concern, a new report says.

When Brown v. Board of Education was decided more than 60 years ago, there were good paying, family supporting jobs for workers without formal educational credentials. But the era of pick and shovel jobs is long gone. Those who would support themselves and their families in the 21st century need a high school diploma and more: career training, an associate degree or, ideally, a four-year college degree.

Yet, right now, all across America, there are nearly 40 million adults—disproportionately people of color and those who grew up in poverty—who do not have a high school diploma or its equivalent. And they are effectively locked into the lowest rungs of the occupational ladder. Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education can provide these historically underrepresented populations with proven pathways for obtaining good jobs and a higher standard of living.

The Leadership Conference Education Fund