Education is considered the gold standard of mobility in the United States, but people around the country experience poor K-12 education because of a long history of racism and poverty. When it comes to the STEM industries, this lack of educational equity puts minority groups at a serious disadvantage.
Many students simply lack access to the classes and educators they need to succeed in STEM fields. According to US News and World Report, “more than half of U.S. high schools do not offer calculus, 4 in 10 do not offer physics, more than 1 in 4 do not offer chemistry, and more than 1 in 5 do not offer Algebra II, which is considered a gateway class for STEM success in college.” For girls, problems like inherent bias and math anxiety in female teachers add onto these issues.
If students make it to pursue STEM majors in college, they rarely see professors who look like them. “Among [STEM] full-time faculty, 77% are white, 10% are Asian/Pacific Islander, 6% are Black, 4% are Hispanic, and 3% are other or mixed race.” Unequal education means that it’s harder for diverse students to succeed.