The Myth of the STEM Pipeline

The STEM pipeline is a commonly employed, even overused, metaphor describing the path to careers in science, technology, engineering and math. But the concept of a rigid career pipeline sends the wrong message. The term has codified a narrow educational path that begins as early as preschool and continues through college and career. The pathway is predicated on having savvy parents and teachers coaching a child with an unwavering love of STEM. The student must take the right courses, leading to a succession of STEM-related positions. Take a misstep and you leak out of the sluiceway, banished forever from the world of STEM. The problem with the pipeline model is that the data just don’t support the concept. Read more from Inside Higher Education.

One thought on “The Myth of the STEM Pipeline

  1. While I am not connecting with the main premise of this opinion (that the STEM Pipeline is a rigid trough, with invariant steps) I applaud the call for inclusive cultures in science and math classrooms: “Employ inclusive pedagogies in your classroom so that everyone feels welcome. The data show that many students who choose to major in STEM fields do so because of the encouragement, excitement and energy of a particular faculty member.”

    This is why we have sustain and deepen our reach with Modeling Instruction in Michigan, which began as a MMSCN project. Our pre post survey of teacher practice and comparison surveys for students indicate that Modeling classrooms are kind and inclusive environments where students engage with one another in productive and supportive ways. Compared to others students say they like and value science. Teachers say they do less lecture and support collaborative evidence based reasoning. Last Saturday a Modeling teacher in northern Michigan told of a student who was labeled a ‘truant’ said she only comes to school because she doesn’t want to miss her science class.

    When a new suite of Modeling workshops become advertised let’s all make sure not eligible teacher, or building principle is unaware of the opportunity.

    Like

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