In 2016 the California STEM Learning Network (CSLNet) became The California STEM Network, a project of Children Now. Through advancing public policy and advocacy, communications and outreach, The California STEM Network will bring 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. The California STEM Network will leverage this cross-sector collaboration to foster innovation and help to scale and sustain effective STEM teaching and learning, both in-school and out-of-school for all of California’s students.
Our goal is to ensure that, one day, all of California’s kids have access to high-quality STEM educations through policy and advocacy, communications, and engaging the business community.
Policy & Advocacy
The California STEM Network will support 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, creating an even larger and more powerful advocacy base for STEM teaching and learning.
The California STEM Network will execute a strong communications plan including online information about California STEM Network activities and regular newsletter communications for Network members and others interested in STEM. Key messaging, shared broadly, will ensure consistency, continuity, and accuracy for the Network and will be crafted to reach 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 will be employed to promote STEM learning opportunities throughout the state.
Outreach to Business Community
The California STEM Network will recruit and engage 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 limited STEM education in California is a holdover from old 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 is also 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 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.