According to Watson, "The cornerstone of our economic growth is continued American leadership in the full spectrum of high-tech industries: information technology, green energy, nanotechnology, biotechnology and others. If we fail to develop a robust pipeline of STEM professionals containing women and those from underrepresented communities, the consequences will be dire: a shortage of technical innovation, lower economic growth and higher unemployment for all Americans." This indeed appears logical as data from a 2009 study of eighth-graders conducted by the National Assessment of Educational Progress showed that 43 percent of Hispanics, 44 percent of American Indians and 50 percent of African-Americans scored “below basic” in math.
Watson goes on, listing four steps needed to avoid this outcome:
- Accelerate the adoption of best practices that produce superior academic outcomes for under represented students, especially from urban and economically disadvantaged backgrounds.
- Unite separate programs sponsored by corporations, universities, nonprofit organizations, churches and other entities into a national effort that prepares underrepresented students.
- Incorporate STEM education within Head Start and other early educational initiatives, and strengthen those programs so their results last longer.
- Engage parents in preparing their children academically for STEM education and as advocates for STEM careers.