Help Community-Based STEM Education Programs

NEW YORK – Dr. Calvin Mackie, a prominent national leader in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education, calls on New York Gov. Kathy Hochul to move beyond “status quo programs and initiatives” and support approaches that more effectively teach STEM to Black and other children of color.

His Forbes article comes as Gov. Hochul faces a backlash after saying “young Black kids” in the Bronx don’t know what a computer is. Dr. Mackie writes that her language left much to be desired. He notes, “In the aftermath of her blunder, the extremely poor, inartful, and even some may say insulting, choice of words has received the bulk of attention.”

Furthermore, Dr. Mackie maintains the real problem is being overlooked – first by Gov. Hochul and subsequently by her critics.

“Harm is still being inflicted on Black children in New York and nationwide,” he writes. “The circumstances holding back children of color aren’t being addressed: Gov. Hochul and her colleagues in State Capitals around the country have the power and resources to erase the ‘STEM divide’ and create environments where our children can thrive in STEM.

“Children in low-income urban and rural families can excel in STEM, but public and private sector leaders haven’t adopted the most effective teaching and outreach approaches. They are too stuck in their ways. Too reliant on old relationships and badly dated strategies from the 20th century. When it comes to STEM education, training, and outreach, public, private, and philanthropic resources are spent on status quo programs and initiatives that have not and do not produce adequate results. These leaders must wake up.”

Dr. Mackie said New York and other states get “abysmal” results despite STEM education investments. He advocates for community initiatives with engaging and challenging hands-on activities. He cites a Yankee Stadium event last May where over 1,200 students attended a STEM Fest presented by STEM Global Action (SGA), a campaign and network of affiliates that pursue STEM education. At STEM Fests, children design and program robots, build toothpick bridges and towers, construct and fly drones, and launch rockets at up to 60 stations while interacting with STEM professionals.

With its leading affiliate, STEM NOLA, SGA has operated community STEM programs for ten years. Many participants pursue STEM careers, work in corporate STEM jobs, and study STEM fields. High school participants win local and national science awards: two STEM NOLA Fellows are among EXPLR’s 2024 National STEM Challenge Champions.

“These are powerful results!” Dr. Mackie writes. “Gov. Hochul, please take notice. Bring these programs to New York. You will become a real difference-maker, and children in the Bronx will not only know what a computer is but also be skilled at using it.”

About Stem Global Action
In July 2021, Dr. Mackie launched STEM Global Action, a campaign and network of affiliates that pursue STEM education for children, parents, and communities. His initiatives impact over 150,000 students, 22,000 families, and 5,150 schools across the U.S. and in five other countries. SGA’s leading affiliate is STEM NOLA, a New Orleans-based non-profit committed to expanding STEM education at churches, community centers, and schools, particularly in communities of color. Dr. Mackie founded STEM NOLA in 2013.

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