Achieving Equity Within and Beyond STEM: Toward a New Generation of Scholarship in STEM Education
Despite tremendous growth in new technologies and advances in science over the last several decades, severe inequities remain throughout the world. The United Nations (2011) estimates that in developing regions 1.4 billion people live in extreme poverty, 837 million are undernourished, 884 million people lack access to clean water, over 2.6 billion people still lack adequate sanitation, and 828 million urban residents live in slum conditions. Additionally, it is estimated that over 22,000 children under the age of 5 die every day mostly from preventable causes (United Nations, 2011). Moreover, racism, sexism, and other forms of discriminatory thought and behavior continue to marginalize people of color, the poor, women, and others both in the United States and abroad. In spite of the persistence of profound inequity, exploitation, and oppression, a large body of scholarship focused on education reform in the fi elds of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) insists that we need to invest more in STEM in order to maintain U.S. global economic supremacy. Interestingly, many scholars who are calling on STEM reform in hopes of creating equitable completion and matriculation rates between underrepresented racial minority (URM) students and their non-URM counterparts have bound equity to economic competition.