- A 100Kin10's 2019 Trends Report identifies increasing STEM teacher diversity, applying greater focus on STEM subjects in early childhood education, and a rise in environmental literacy in response to student activism and interest as trends that will shape STEM education in 2020.
- While technology is a part of many classrooms, 2020 is also expected to bring a more comprehensive approach to the tools around digital literacy training for teachers and digital citizenship for students.
- Still, while interest in computer science continues to grow, with the state of Virginia and major cities like New York City even integrating it into their schools, there is a lag in supply of teachers to take on these courses.
Among one of the major concerns highlighted by 100kin10 — a national network of organizations and agencies hoping to train and retain 100,000 STEM teachers by 2021 — was the lack of teachers of color overall, with the report noting people of color make up half of the student population but less than 20% of teachers. The gap is specifically pronounced in STEM.
Because students of color perform better and have better long-term outcomes when they have at least one teacher of color, the message, the organization said, should be that "to increase student engagement and success in STEM, students of color need to see STEM teachers who look like them."
Another way to increase outcomes for students, the report noted, begins with STEM instruction in early childhood education. In fact, experts agree that early exposure to STEM, beginning even before kindergarten, is critical to setting students on the path toward long-term educational outcomes.
An increasing number of schools are even integrating computer science into their curricula as a way to prepare students for the workforce, with 40 states so far passing policies to support the subject in the classroom.
But, there continues to be a disconnect isolating rural schools from STEM opportunities, with the report noting STEM teachers in rural communities often experience isolation and lack opportunities for professional learning. Partnerships between university programs and rural schools could help bridge this gap, and the report said point to examples in North Carolina, North Dakota, Colorado and Maine.