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STEM21

Equity in Teaching and Learning to Meet Global Challenges of Standards, Engagement and Transformation

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Edited By Joy Barnes-Johnson and Janelle M. Johnson

STEM21: Equity in Teaching and Learning to Meet Global Challenges of Standards, Engagement and Transformation is designed to contribute to discourses about how STEM teaching and learning can become more equitable, serving the needs of readers across the STEM educational spectrum. STEM21 is meant to problematize the status quo educational practices of STEM stakeholders including preservice and inservice teachers, district leaders, informal educators, policy makers, and the research community. While many books are narrowly targeted either for academics or practitioners, the outcome is limited dialogue between and across those spaces. This volume weaves together field-based research, personal narrative, and education theory, while providing for reflection and discussion. STEM21: Equity in Teaching and Learning to Meet Global Challenges of Standards, Engagement and Transformation is undergirded by the principle that engaged STEM education accommodates theory and practice that is equitable, rejects deficit model thinking, and is community relevant. Equitable STEM pedagogy builds autonomous pathways to learning; creates a culture of questioning and transparency; celebrates diversity of thought, habit and culture; and embraces a social justice stance on issues of race, class, gender, environmental responsibility, health, and access to resources.

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Introduction (Joy Barnes-Johnson / Janelle M. Johnson)

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Introduction

JOY BARNES-JOHNSON1 AND JANELLE M. JOHNSON2



Science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) content is often celebrated as that which will answer the many questions we have as a society—problems we face in economics,1 in the environment, and in education are purportedly solved using STEM tools. So, as a society we have attempted to make our students better citizens by building programs of concentrated STEM teaching and learning. We continue to attempt to measure student learning outcomes with standardized testing,2 knowing that these statistics reveal large and troubling gaps. Industry and government alike respond with urgent calls for diversity, but STEM stakeholders are often unsure about the most appropriate actions they can or should take. In spite of the vaulted “objectivity” of science, its habits and traditions are somehow insufficient for addressing equity issues. The former3 belief that in a democratic society there would be an equalizing force with which sociopolitical ← 1 | 2 → tools could grant every human access to liberty and navigate pathways to industry has not been enough to sustain the vision of democratic education, to support a diversity of perspectives in STEM or to build traction for STEM-related creative endeavors. This has not proven possible across professional lines nor across academic ones. Instead, science has been used to reinforce stereotypes and justify egregious crimes against humanity throughout history and at present.

Science is not the sole culprit in creating this intellectual...

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