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ERIC Number: ED501564
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2008
Pages: 20
Abstractor: ERIC
Out before the Game Begins: Hispanic Leaders Talk about What's Needed to Bring More Hispanic Youngsters into Science, Technology and Math Professions
Gasbarra, Paul; Johnson, Jean
Public Agenda, America's Competitiveness: Hispanic Participation in Technology Careers Summit (Palisades, NY, May 5-6, 2008)
Hispanics are one of the largest and fastest-growing minority groups in the United States. Projections indicate a need for an increase of 20% of practicing engineers by 2010. Despite the growing number of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) careers in the American economy, education statistics suggest that too few Hispanic students are being encouraged and equipped to take advantage of opportunities in technical disciplines. American business and industry and the nation's Hispanic communities would both benefit from addressing this mismatch. In summer 2007, the IBM International Foundation asked Public Agenda to interview Hispanic and Latino leaders in a variety of fields, asking for their views on what will be needed to bring more Hispanic students into the technical and scientific disciplines. This report is based on 19 30-minute telephone interviews conducted in the summer and fall of 2007. Public Agenda spoke with Hispanic scientists and inventors, officers at technology corporations, leaders from prominent non-profit and corporate entities, as well as government and educational institutions. Each interviewee had a strong interest in Hispanic and Latino affairs and was able to speak on the challenges of improving math and science education for Hispanic students. Primary observations included: (1) Socio-economic conditions of many Hispanics. Most saw poverty and poor schools as a primary, first-order-of-business barrier; (2) Schools in poorer urban areas with a high concentration of Hispanics tend to have a lower quality of education, poor bilingual education programs, high dropout rates and inadequate curricula; (3) Potential jeopardies to learning such as illegal immigration that may undercut a child's ability to learn, even when they do have access to better schools with better teachers and courses; (4) Barriers caused by need to master academics in a non-native language, and an associated high drop-out rate; (5) Specific failures in the way math and science are taught, on top of the over-arching educational failures; (6) Need for more Hispanic role models in the STEM fields; (7) Traditional gender roles continue to discourage young Hispanic women from pursuing careers of their own, particularly in STEM fields; (8) Limited parental educational attainment and traditional conceptions of the school's role in childhood development can have a variety of effects on the success of education; (9) Obstacles to college caused by poor preparation and/or lack of financial resources; and (10) Need for strong mentorship, faculty support and study groups to mitigate pressures on first-generation college students. All of the scientists and business people, government officials, community organizers and advocates voiced enthusiasm for the goal of bringing many more Hispanic and Latino youngsters into the scientific and technical disciplines. But many also pointed to a long road ahead. A list of interviewees is included. (Contains 6 footnotes.
Public Agenda. 6 East 39th Street, New York, NY 10016. Tel: 212-686-6610; Fax: 212-889-3461; Web site:
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: IBM International Foundation
Authoring Institution: Public Agenda
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A