Need for Scientific and Technological Investment in Flint Youth
Apogee 2020 is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization focused on educating and training at-risk Flint area youth in the fields of aviation, aerospace, and engineering. Our program will give students an appreciation of math, science, engineering, and aerospace technologies by engaging them with hands-on experience and equipping students with technical skills. More importantly, technical training will allow our students to progress on to college and careers in STEM related fields.
Michigan 2012-2013 MEAP Assessment
According to the Michigan Department of Education’s Michigan Educational Assessment Program (MEAP), during the 2012-2013 school year a majority of Michigan students in grades of 3-8 were considered not proficient in math and science and far less than half of Michigan students are considered proficient and advanced in those subjects. Students in grades 3-8, between 24% and 40% of students are deemed proficient in math, while between 36% and 41% of students are deemed not proficient.
In comparison, assessment scores show that between 50% and 58% of Michigan students in grades 5 and 8 are deemed not proficient in science while only between 8% and 13% are deemed proficient in the same subject.
Genesee County 2012-2013 MEAP Assessment
Genesee County students are slightly below MEAP scoring averages, whereas between 38.7% and 47.1% of Genesee County students in grades 3-8 are deemed not proficient in math and between 55% and 62.2% of Genesee County students in grades 5 and 8 are deemed not proficient in science.
Flint Community School District 2012-2013 MEAP Assessment
The Flint Community School District falls far short of county-wide and statewide averages for its students. With very few after school programs that are designed to provide students with academic support and enrichment to help support curriculum that is being taught during day school, it is no surprise that Flint students are not up to par in math and science.
According to the 2012-2013 MEAP test assessment between 59.2% and 74.8% of Flint students in grades 3-8 are deemed not proficient in Math and between 81.9% and 95%+ of Flint students in grades 5and 8 are deemed not proficient in science. These are extremely staggering statistics and further highlights the dire need for after school programming designed to support students in math and science.
Flint Student Drop-Out Rates
The high school graduation and drop-out rates are equivocally staggering. According to the State of Michigan 2012 Cohort 4-Year Graduation and Dropout Rate Report, only 47.47% of Flint students complete high school to obtain their diploma and a disappointing 19.89% of Flint students drop out of high school before completion. An additional 31.72% of Flint high school students are reported to be “off-track” but continuing their education. Compared to statewide averages, 76.24% of Michigan high school students graduate to receive their diploma. These numbers reported for the city of Flint are immensely alarming and should by no means be taken lightly or ignored.
Flint’s case is not the only example in which students simply aren’t engaging and excelling in math and science. Across the nation it has been found that students are not only shying away from math and science in school, they are unlikely to pursue science, technology, and engineering jobs and careers. According to the 2011 Lemelson-MIT Invention Index, a survey that gauges Americans’ perception about invention and innovation, students between the ages of 16 and 25, sixty percent of the respondents named at least one factor that prevented them from pursuing further education or work in science, technology, engineering, and math fields. An additional thirty-four percent said they “don’t know much about these fields,” and a third said “these fields are too challenging”. Twenty-eight percent said they weren’t “well-prepared in schools to seek out a career or further…[their] education in these fields.”
Adding to those numbers, forty-seven percent noted that a lack of innovation “would hurt the U.S. economy” and eighty percent said they would be interested in courses that would help them “become more inventive and creative.” Twenty-six percent noted they’re motivated to choose careers for stability, and twenty-two percent said they would be inspired by jobs that would give them a chance to “change the world.”
It is no small coincidence that students, if given the educational tools and opportunities would excel in science and math and take on jobs in science, technology, and engineering. It is also no small coincidence that the White House and major corporations have taken the initiative to focus more on increasing education and providing opportunities for students to gain knowledge and experience in science, technology, and engineering.
In Genesee County, and more specifically Flint, Michigan, there are few to no programs that specifically cater to science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) for students in grades 3-5. APOGEE 2020 would provide a healthy nurturing learning environment that would focus directly on science, math, technology, and engineering, thereby, meeting the national and local need for programs that educate, motivate, and inspire our youth. By catering to these needs, we empower students to remain in school and provide to them the necessary tools needed to progress on to college to pursue degrees and careers in STEM related fields.