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Why STEM Matters

Now more than ever, kids need to learn how to think critically and flexibly, because we live in a rapidly changing world. Today’s economy requires more education and STEM skills than ever before.

Employers want to hire workers with STEM skills—and America needs all business, but especially STEM-related business, to grow here in the U.S. in order for our economy to remain a global leader.

STEM (including computer science) is more than a specific set of classes. Through strong, relevant, and active STEM learning, students gain essential skills in critical thinking and problem-solving, stay engaged in school and the future, and experience the power of experimentation, learning from failure, and perseverance—all essential elements of a well-rounded education and a productive, fulfilling life.

And STEM helps promote equity and opportunity for all.

No matter what a student’s background or where they live, all students need to experience STEM in order to gain the skills they need to be successful in life.

Great STEM learning opens doors that create tomorrow’s citizens, innovators, and problem-solvers.


The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) became law in late 2015, when President Obama signed the bipartisan reauthorization of the national education law and replaced the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB).

ESSA now puts greater emphasis on ensuring equity and explicitly calls for all students to have access to a well-rounded education.

ESSA also includes a significant shift of decision-making to the state and local levels, providing states with flexibility to set new policy and funding priorities. Many of the federal funding streams will be consolidated into a few state and district block grants.

All states and the District of Columbia have submitted their state plans to the U.S. Department of Education (U.S. ED). The status of a state’s plan can be found here.

Plans approved by US ED will be implemented by state and local stakeholders throughout the 2017-2018 school year. Engaging in the implementation process in the upcoming years is a key opportunity to promote STEM under ESSA and shape how ESSA comes to life in schools and classrooms.

About the 100Kin10 ESSA Solution Lab


The Every Student Succeeds with STEM campaign emerged through a Solution Lab—a 100Kin10 convening that begins with deliberation, expertise, and shared learning, and moves to collaborative action: partners co-funding the creation of a concrete product, strategy, approach, or intervention that’s beyond the capacity of any single partner to afford or design on their own. Solution Labs are a method of responding to big challenges with commensurately big, coordinated responses, instead of going it alone. Learn more about us here.

About 20 100Kin10 partner organizations jointly invested to bring this campaign to life, including:

American Federation of Teachers; Arizona Science Center; Battelle, STEMx; BSCS; California State University; Math for America; Math Teachers Circle Network; Museum of Science and Industry; National Alliance for Partnerships in Equity; National Center for Technological Literacy, Museum of Science Boston; National Council of Teachers of Mathematics; National Science Teachers Association; Rider University; Teach For America; The UTeach Institute; TRC-UT Austin; Washington STEM; and Western Governors University.