The purpose of the STEM Innovators project was to explore ways that the country can foster the development of our next generation of leading STEM professionals, entrepreneurs, and inventors, who will form the future vanguard of discovery in science and technology. The Board's rationale for this project was twofold:
- The nation's economic prosperity, security, and quality of life depends on the identification and development of our next generation of STEM innovators; and,
- Every student in America should be given the opportunity to reach his or her full potential.
First, provide opportunities for excellence. We must offer coordinated, proactive, sustained formal and informal interventions to develop students' potential. Students should learn at a pace and depth commensurate with their talents and interests and in a fashion that elicits engagement, intellectual curiosity, and creative problem solving--essential skills for future innovation.
Second, cast a wide net to identify and develop all types of talents in all demographics of students. Current assessments frequently fail to identify some students with the highest potential or students with certain types of abilities. To this end, we must develop and implement appropriate talent assessments at multiple grade levels and train educators to recognize potential, particularly among those individuals who have not been given adequate opportunities to transform their potential into academic achievement, such as students from lower-income backgrounds and minorities traditionally underrepresented in STEM fields.
Third, foster a supportive ecosystem that nurtures and celebrates excellence and innovative thinking. Parents/guardians, education professionals, peers, and students themselves must work together to create a culture that expects excellence, encourages innovations, and rewards success.
The Board believes that the recommendations set forth in this report will help ensure a legacy of continued prosperity and engender a renewed aspiration towards equity and excellence in U.S. STEM education.
The full report is available for download at the NSB Web site.