STEM Moonshot: 100,000 Teachers by 2021

moonshot

President Obama in 2011 called for a STEM moonshot of placing 100,000 K-12 teachers in classrooms across the nation by 2021.

“A call like this is not achievable by any organization alone,” said Talia Milgrom-Elcott, founder of 100Kin10–“not your grandfather’s coalition”–which was created to answer the president’s call.

The coalition has three parts to achieve this goal. The first part is to bring organizations across sectors to work together and make commitments to the goal, from recruiting future teachers with strong STEM backgrounds to training current teachers. They began with 28 partners in 2011 and now have more than 230 partner organizations, including museums, Federal agencies, associations, and more.

“Helping to collaborate and learn from each other, [provide] access to research and expertise [partners] couldn’t find on their own,” said Milgrom-Elcott to describe part two. 100Kin10 connects two or more partners through collaboration grants and creates forums for partners to address problems, and find solutions, through their Solution Lab.

“Many organizations are confronting the same challenges in their own context,” said Milgrom-Elcott. “We have an opportunity to identify those shared challenges and bring people together to solve them.”

For part three, this coalition maps out the grand challenges their partners face and “bring people together against those [challenges] to solve problems and often to ideate, offer solutions, [and] co-fund products or solutions that partners could use,” said Milgrom-Elcott.

This past spring, it was announced that 100Kin10 is on track to hit the 100,000 goal by 2021, validated by the American Institute of Research.

“[We] want to get to 100K the right way, by addressing these big challenges [and] actually solving these challenges,” emphasized Milgrom-Elcott.

Another way they work toward solutions is through challenge grants. Their current grant, “Early Childhood STEM Learning Challenge,” addresses the need to create active-learning STEM opportunities for preschool to third grade. These are “critical years for getting kids engaged and excited, inspired and competent in STEM,” said Milgrom-Elcott. “Elementary teachers themselves experience very bland STEM education [and are] often nervous about their own math and science skills.”

“[We are] looking for big ideas–[they] don’t have to be expensive or complex–but have the potential to be highly impactful,” said Ayeola Kinlaw, the director of the Funders’ Collaborative for 100Kin10.

Partners need to address the following:

  • Identify and propose a solution to a clear problem.
  • Focus the solution on the 100Kin10 goals.
  • Identify a community, articulate the specific needs and challenges the community faces, and detail how the proposed solution will solve those challenges.
  • Prototype and test solutions within that community.

Submissions must be completed by Oct. 26.

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