Internships and jobs for WHO exactly? Boston’s STEM ed crisis

Last week, parents read Mayor Walsh’s recent Boston Globe op-ed (“Facing the STEM challenge in education”) with great interest, hopeful that a new collaboration between the business community and Boston Public Schools will  help address the significant achievement gaps BPS students experience in STEM education.

Hopeful, even though we’ve heard this song before.

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For years, Boston parents and families have been hopeful that this time, this new program would finally address the inequities in our school system. Unfortunately, achievement gaps persist and dozens of schools report zero percent proficiency on the 5th grade science assessments. Any new initiative by Mayor Walsh must confront the reality that our students aren’t learning enough STEM in the classroom, which leaves them woefully unprepared for internships and other opportunities provided by local businesses.

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Boston City Council President Andrea Campbell summed up the problem: “Despite new initiatives and programs, we aren’t progressing.”

Whether we are talking about BPS non-exam high schools (which the majority of Boston high schoolers attend) or STEM education, she is right.

Parents and families know that a strong foundation in STEM education is key to breaking the persistent cycle of poverty in our community — and now is the time for a concerted effort to address the achievement gap in our schools.

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Too much money is being pumped into “the system” without directly impacting the children who need our help the most. Mayor Walsh must do more than fix the buildings. He must aggressively push to improve teaching and learning in schools that are  failing to provide our children with even a basic STEM education. Only then will our children will be prepared for the internships and high-tech jobs of the future.


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