Giving Compass' Take:

• "Doing the Math," a new report from 100inK, analyzes how teacher preparation utilizing higher education can help open more doors for STEM learners. 

• How can donors identify opportunities to fund more of this research?

• Learn about how funders can support STEM education. 

Underrepresentation of girls, students of color and low-income students in science, technology, engineering and math has remained a persistent problem in education — from elementary all the way through graduate school. This gap starts early and has lasting consequences. Students without early exposure to math in the foundational years — namely, pre-K through fifth grade — are more likely to fall behind not just in more-advanced STEM classes but also in their careers. And with careers in STEM among the most lucrative and fastest-growing, this has major implications for the diversity of our workforce, long-term income inequality and the American dream itself.

For too many students, the path to a brighter future is blocked in part by a lack of joyful and authentic math experiences, stigma around math and a belief that success in STEM reflects innate ability rather than engagement and hard work.

We know that elementary teachers can help break down these barriers by fostering meaningful and effective math learning. Unfortunately, not enough teachers are prepared and empowered to teach that way, causing too few young students to experience that kind of math instruction. Based on extensive research, 100Kin10 has found that institutions of higher learning are uniquely positioned to remedy this.

Our new report, “Doing the Math,” takes a fresh look at the lingering challenges around foundational math and identifies a half-dozen ways to bridge the disconnect between teacher training and classroom reality, with two powerful opportunities for institutions of higher education. The first is to increase the number of elementary teaching faculty with STEM expertise. The second is to arm subject-matter faculty in universities with knowledge of the active, engaging strategies that future elementary teachers will need to use in their classrooms.

Read the full article about improving teacher preparation for STEM by Talia Milgrom-Elcott at The 74.