Dr. Calvin Mackie Urges NY Gov. Kathy Hochul to Invest in Community-Based STEM Education Programs

Jo-Carolyn Goode | 5/20/2024, 2:49 p.m.
Dr. Calvin Mackie, a distinguished leader in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education, has issued a clarion call to …
Dr. Calvin Mackie

 Dr. Calvin Mackie, a distinguished leader in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education, has issued a clarion call to New York Governor Kathy Hochul. In light of recent backlash against Gov. Hochul’s comments about “young Black kids” in the Bronx, Dr. Mackie’s Forbes article highlights a constructive path forward, urging the governor to move beyond outdated programs and invest in more effective, community-based STEM education initiatives.

Addressing the Real Issue

Gov. Hochul recently faced criticism for her remark suggesting that children in the Bronx are unfamiliar with computers. Dr. Mackie emphasizes that while her choice of words was problematic, the deeper issue lies in the ineffective STEM education programs currently in place. 

“In the aftermath of her blunder, the extremely poor, inartful, and even some may say insulting, choice of words has received the bulk of attention,” Dr. Mackie writes. However, he stresses, “The circumstances holding back children of color aren’t being addressed: Gov. Hochul and her colleagues in State Capitals around the country have the power and resources to erase the ‘STEM divide’ and create environments where our children can thrive in STEM.”

The Call for Change

Dr. Mackie argues that children from low-income urban and rural families can excel in STEM if given the right opportunities. He criticizes the reliance on outdated methods and relationships that fail to yield significant results, urging leaders to adopt innovative and engaging educational approaches.

“Public and private sector leaders haven’t adopted the most effective teaching and outreach approaches. They are too stuck in their ways,” he asserts. “When it comes to STEM education, training, and outreach, public, private, and philanthropic resources are spent on status quo programs and initiatives that have not and do not produce adequate results. These leaders must wake up.”

Proven Success in Community Initiatives

Dr. Mackie points to the success of community-based initiatives like those organized by STEM Global Action (SGA). For example, a STEM Fest held at Yankee Stadium last May attracted over 1,200 students who participated in hands-on activities such as designing robots, building bridges, and launching rockets. These engaging events, he notes, are crucial for sparking interest and success in STEM fields.

STEM Global Action, particularly through its leading affiliate STEM NOLA, has been running impactful community programs for ten years. Many participants have gone on to pursue STEM careers, win science awards, and contribute significantly to the field. Notably, two STEM NOLA Fellows are among EXPLR’s 2024 National STEM Challenge Champions.

“These are powerful results!” Dr. Mackie writes. “Gov. Hochul, please take notice. Bring these programs to New York. You will become a real difference-maker, and children in the Bronx will not only know what a computer is but also be skilled at using it.”

Moving Forward

Dr. Mackie’s article serves as both a critique and a guide for Gov. Hochul, emphasizing the potential for transformative change through community-focused STEM education. By adopting these proven strategies, New York can set a new standard in STEM education, ensuring that all children, regardless of background, have the opportunity to excel and innovate.

For more detailed insights, read Dr. Calvin Mackie’s full Forbes article and join the movement to revolutionize STEM education.

For more info, visit Forbes.com