For those who may not be aware of it’s meaning, STEM stands for (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) and are generally considered subjects that can lead to important careers. In a world that’s becoming increasingly complex one can see the importance of and usefulness of degrees in these fields.
So how are minorities and young people of color doing in these subjects? Well it first helps to realize that these are difficult subjects for anyone to pursue and minorities face additional obstacles. But as in many other fields, a race gap does exist in these fields as well.
While some STEM experts are quick to point to teachers when addressing the lack of diversity in their field, many teachers are in fact highly dedicated to reducing the race gap and actively striving to create equal opportunities in their classrooms.
It is also important to point out that teachers alone cannot tackle some of the systemic issues that hamper the educational success of minorities. Things like racism, sexism, and ethnocentrism are unfortunate factors that still exist in higher education.
Some studies have shown that racial bias is present at tall levels of education starting as early as preschool and continuing through elementary school. The studies showed that these biases are often subconscious with well-meaning teachers not even being aware that they were doing it. Hidden bias might not seem like it affects your students daily, but it has major effects for their futures.
The good news is that people are aware of these issues and there are dozens of organizations and educators who are taking steps at a national level. More communities are taking steps to help college students feel welcome in STEM programs and show that there is hope for their futures.
Much is being done to attract more minorities to seek futures in these fields but there are still plenty of obstacles to be overcome. The more people become involved, the sooner the issues can be addressed and corrected.