Does drumming up interest in STEM careers — science, technology, engineering and math — hold a key to improving Latino achievement in school?
In Chicago, a growing number of educators think it does. According to this Chicago Tribune piece, teachers looking for ways to reverse Latino dropout rates, curb absenteeism and increase college enrollment are turning to math and science. At Nobel Elementary School, principal Manuel Adrianzen took a group of 6th to 8th grade girls to a workshop exploring the STEM fields. At Salazar Bilingual Center, a Pre-K-through-8th-grade school, the curriculum centers around demanding math and science classes. (About 80 percent of the school’s students are English language learners.) In a second and third-grade class there, students constructed a roller coaster model for one project and got a pre-Thanksgiving lesson in composting. The school has also teamed up with the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry, where students can “conduct experiments, mingle with science professionals and take frequent field trips to the museum,” according to the Tribune article.
Similar efforts are cropping up in other parts of the country. The Latino STEM Alliance, for example, connects professionals or STEM majors with Latino students.
It would be interesting to see what is being done in your area to increase Latino interest in STEM careers and majors and whether those programs are effective in increasing school success.