Try digitalPLUS for 10 days for only $0.99

Readers Respond

News Opinion Readers Respond

After-school programs crucial in STEM education

Op-ed contributor Brian Gaines is right that we've got a long way to go when it comes to making sure Maryland's next generation is sufficiently educated in science, technology, engineering and mathematics ("No. 1 isn't good enough," Jan. 23). But he overlooks one outstanding way to help do the job: After-school programs.

Ample research demonstrates that high-quality after-school programs can have a significant impact on students' attitudes about STEM fields and careers, their knowledge and skills in those areas and even their likelihood of graduating and pursuing a STEM career.

A recent survey of after-school providers by the Afterschool Alliance identified a consensus on the most achievable STEM outcomes for students who participate in after-school programs. They include boosting student interest in STEM, engaging students in STEM activities and learning to value the goals of STEM education.

The secret to after-school programs' success is that they are uniquely positioned to offer students the kind of hands-on learning time that STEM education so often demands, as well as interaction with STEM professionals from the community.

That's why after-school programs are often the home for robotics and rocketry teams, and why programs so frequently work with STEM-related companies, university professors and others to give students a glimpse of future careers in the field.

After-school programs can't do the job all on their own, of course, but they are a vital component of an effective STEM education strategy for our schools.

Anita Krishnamurthi

The writer is director of STEM policy for the Afterschool Alliance.

  • Text NEWS to 70701 to get Baltimore Sun local news text alerts
  • Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun
    Related Content
    • A reunion canceled because of the riots

      A reunion canceled because of the riots

      In 1942, my family moved from Concord, N.C., to Fairfield Homes in South Baltimore. It was a housing project built during World War II for workers in the shipyards.

    • HoCo planning board's major misstep on apartments

      HoCo planning board's major misstep on apartments

      Again the Howard County Planning Board failed to fully analyze proposed zoning changes. The board acted to recommend zoning changes to eliminate a restriction on the size of apartment buildings. The recommendation seems unlimited, although it was in response to a specific request for larger apartment...

    • Vision screenings should come earlier

      Vision screenings should come earlier

      Thanks to Lester Caplan for pointing out that academic success and vision have been studied for decades ("Learning and vision have long been linked," June 1). So much so that it is now seems to be common sense.

    • Place blame for riots on parents — and the Ivy League

      Many thanks to Rita Animashaun for her letter placing the blame for the recent disturbances in Baltimore on the parents of the rioters ("Parents have lost control of their kids," May 30). I agree with her that children should be taught to respect the law and "any indiscretion on their part against...

    • Expanding opportunities for Baltimore high school grads

      Baltimore City Community College (BCCC) applauds David Wilson, president of Morgan State University, on his thoughtful commentary about the critical need to increase college enrollment among Baltimore City public high school graduates ("Making a long-term commitment to Morgan," May 9). He rightfully...

    • The Freddie Gray protesters are heroes

      The Freddie Gray protesters are heroes

      After reading the responses of Baltimore writers to the death of Freddie Gray, I too felt the need to weigh in ("Baltimore writers reflect on Freddie Gray's death," May 16).

    Comments
    Loading

    57°