Increase America’s talent pool by vastly improving K-12 science and mathematics education for underrepresented minorities.
The federal government should increase Title I funding, require equitable state and district budgeting practices for schools whose populations include high proportions of students from economically disadvantaged families, and require districts to publicly report per-student expenditures by funding source (state, local, and federal) and by school. As minority students are overrepresented among such families, this will help to narrow the academic achievement gaps overall.3
The federal government should reform the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act by improving its overall effectiveness, especially for schools with large minority populations. As part of this reform, the Act should support states, school districts, and schools that identify and mitigate gaps (between and within schools) in student performance in English language skills, mathematics, and science. The reform of NCLB should retain the requirement that schools be held responsible for the achievement of the various subgroups of students they serve by continuing to report test scores disaggregated by race/ethnicity.
The federal government should expand its programs that impact K-12 science and mathematics education (e.g., Mathematics and Science Partnerships programs at the National Science Foundation and U.S. Department of Education) in order to enhance schools’ capacity to provide challenging curricula for all students; contribute to a greater understanding of how students effectively learn mathematics and science and how teacher preparation and professional development can be improved; engage and support scientists, mathematicians, and engineers at local universities and local industries in working with K-12 educators and students; and promote institutional and organizational change in education systems—from kindergarten through graduate school—to sustain partnerships’ promising practices and policies.
The federal government should seek to improve early intervention programs such as the TRIO programs, especially the Upward Bound MathScience program, and augment budgets as warranted.