White House announces new national vision for STEMM Equity and Excellence

Earlier today at the White House Summit on STEMM Equity and Excellence, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) announced a set of actions to advance a national vision for equity and excellence in STEMM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, and Medicine). The vision seeks to tear down barriers that have long stood in the way of equitable participation in all field of STEMM and prevented the American innovation ecosystem from achieving its full potential.

White House Summit on STEMM EQUITY AND EXCELLENCE Monday, December 12, 2022 10:00 A.M. ET WH.GOV/LIVE

The science center and museum community is deeply imbedded in this work, including a long-standing commitment to supporting lifelong learning and increasing understanding of and engagement with science and technology among all people. In addition, our community is working toward an equitable and just world by engaging and amplifying the expertise of diverse groups to solve scientific and societal challenges; this commitment to equity and justice includes—but is not limited to—community science, which helps ensure that science truly is for and by all.

This new vision is responsive to the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to advance equity and the recognition that despite significant advances in science and technology, investments in science and technology rarely result in equitable results for all people. In fact many of these advances have the tendency to reinforce systemic barriers rather than help overcome them.

…this vision calls on people, institutions, and organizations across America’s science and technology fields to take bold, concerted action toward achieving equity in STEMM by addressing five action areas.

Equity and Excellence: A Vision to Transform and Enhance the U.S. STEMM Ecosystem

Action Areas

  1. Ensure that students, teachers, workers, communities, and others have adequate support to participate in and contribute to science and technology throughout their lifetimes
  1. Address the STEMM teacher shortage—which disproportionately harms underrepresented students—by investing in a strong and diverse teacher pipeline
  1. Close the funding gap and support researchers and communities who have been historically excluded from access to key resources
  1. Scale solutions that root out bias, discrimination, and harassment in the classroom, laboratory, and workplace
  1. Promote accountability across the science and technology ecosystem

These action areas include a number of efforts that are particularly relevant to the work of science and technology centers and museums, including the following:

  • Fund and incentivize public participation and engagement in science and make participation in science accessible to the public in spaces that are already used
  • Provide resources for experiential STEMM learning and research experiences for students and teachers in classrooms and in extra-curricular settings.
  • Increase funding for programs and initiatives that facilitate connections between researchers and communities through citizen science, crowdsourcing, prize competitions, challenges and university-community research partnerships. Create opportunities for community scientists to learn about and apply for funding solicitations and grants.

This work is supported by commitments across sectors and within multiple Federal agencies, and builds on other recent efforts such as last week’s launch of the U.S. Department of Education’s YOU Belong in STEM initiative that ASTC and many of our member institutions are participating in.

Thanks to the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation for helping host this important convening and the broader efforts to advance equity in STEMM.

STEMM Opportunity Alliance

STEMM Opportunity Alliance

Also announced at the White House today is the STEMM Opportunity Alliance (SOA), a first-of-its-kind national initiative to lead and coordinate this and future cross-sector action to sustain American global leadership by achieving equity across STEMM fields. This initiative is intended to bring together the entire STEMM community to advance a more diverse, inclusive, and equitable STEMM ecosystem.

The SOA will galvanize stakeholders to achieve STEMM equity and excellence across the national vision’s five action areas by 2050, bringing together organizations and entities from across sectors and scientific communities who share a commitment to developing and advancing a strategy for achieving shared national goals for equity in STEMM.

And the science center community is an integral part of the conversation. Among those serving on the SAO Advisory Council are Chevy Humphrey, President and CEO of the Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago, and Christofer Nelson, President and CEO of ASTC—along with ASTC partners Talia Milgrom-Elcott, Founder and Executive Director, Beyond 100K (formerly 100Kin10), and Ron Ottinger, Executive Director, STEM Next Opportunity Fund.

The coalition being formed as part of this alliance also several ASTC members—including The Franklin Institute, Museum of Science and Industry, and New York Hall of Science—and a number of ASTC partners, including the Afterschool Alliance, American Geophysical Union, Beyond 100K, Burroughs Wellcome Fund, Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Lyda Hill Philanthropies, National Informal STEM Education Network, National Math + Science Initiative, National Science Teaching Association, Smithsonian Science Education Center, STEM Education Coalition, STEM Next Opportunity Fund, and more.

Many of these SOA partners have made commitments to advance action in one or more of the action areas, including a commitment by ASTC to scale its Community Science Initiative to build capacity for community members to collaborate to conduct and leverage scientific research and technology innovation to advance community priorities. This includes three new funding opportunities, new toolkits and trainings, and strengthened evaluation frameworks to support our network of more than 400 community-based science engagement organizations throughout the United States.

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