In 2016 the California STEM Learning Network (CSLNet) became The California STEM Network, a project of Children Now. The California STEM Network brings together leaders and stakeholders from K–12, higher education, business and industry, governmental agencies, science and technology, research, community-based organizations, and the philanthropic community to advance public policy and advocacy, communications and outreach.
The California STEM Network leverages cross-sector collaborations to foster innovation and help to scale and sustain effective STEM teaching and learning, both in-school and out-of-school for California’s students.
Our goal is to ensure that, one day, all of California’s kids have access to high-quality STEM educations in their communities across the state.
Policy & Advocacy
The California STEM Network supports the development and implementation of policies that strengthen STEM education in California and connect the California STEM Network’s activities to Children Now’s other advocacy efforts to create an even larger and more powerful advocacy base for STEM teaching and learning.
The California STEM Network executes a strong communications plan including online information about California STEM Network activities and regular newsletter communications for Network members and others interested in STEM.
By developing and coordinating key messaging, that is shared broadly, we ensure consistency, continuity, and accuracy for the Network in its efforts to engage with a variety of target audiences: from policymakers to business leaders, and from school leaders to parents. Op-eds, blog posts, letters to the editor and other strategic communications are employed to promote STEM learning opportunities throughout the state.
Outreach to Business Community
The California STEM Network recruites and engages key business leaders to serve as STEM champions. The active involvement of STEM-sector businesses is particularly vital to the success of the STEM education agenda: it can help set expectations for what the economy requires; keep policymakers and educators focused on full implementation; and help parents, communities, and other key stakeholders understand the importance of this investment and vision.
Seven of the ten fastest growing occupations are in STEM fields, making STEM education a key part of career-readiness.
Yet, currently in California, many schools don’t even offer courses critical to STEM education and, ultimately, STEM careers:
Part of the limitations with STEM education in California comes as a result of holdover policies, such as No Child Left Behind, which forced teachers to drop science and technology classes in order to meet math and language arts requirements. STEM education has also been hobbled by limited professional development for teachers, inadequate learning materials, and insufficient opportunities for hands-on learning.
We’re working to change that.
As a project of Children Now, The California STEM Network is working to increase access to STEM curricula and instruction for youth throughout the state, with a particular emphasis on equity in the form of increasing engagement among girls and kids of color. We want STEM learning to be continuous for students, and include early exposure, expanded access to afterschool and summer STEM programming, and connected K–12 and post-secondary education experiences.