Dr. Calvin Mackie

I applaud the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) for recognizing that a devastating lack of educational investments and resources in communities of color is contributing significantly to the creation of a wave of “Lost Einsteins.” Too many gifted and high achieving Black & Brown students throughout the country are not nurtured and therefore their talents and potential contributions to our nation’s competitiveness are being wasted.

Citing a study published in The Quarterly Journal of Economics, NASEM’s Issues in Science and Technology magazine says that many students start out as “gifted” and “high achievers,” but due to a lack of local investment in low-income school districts and access to resources like computers, afterschool STEM programs, and mentors, these students become the “Lost Einsteins.” The magazine adds that the study’s researchers found that the innovation potential of the United States would increase four times over “if women, minorities, and children from lower-income families became inventors at the same rate as white men from high-income … families.” The magazine concludes: “This striking finding shows both the ethical and economic urgency of providing these individuals with the resources, support, and opportunities necessary to join and contribute to the domestic STEM workforce.”

This is an acknowledgement that the disparities in education are robbing Black & Brown children of their futures. It must end. No more Lost Einsteins.

This must be a Call to Action for government, private sector and philanthropy, as well as parents, to fill in the gaps so all children can have a quality education. In particular, we believe that an emphasis must be placed on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education. This is where the quality careers will be in future, the types of jobs that can support families and strengthen communities. Further, we need parents to become more engaged. They must demand that schools provide their children with the tools and resources to succeed and parents must provide the guidance and environment at home that encourages children to strive for academic success.

Now is the time to act. America is losing ground in the competitive world marketplace. Our nation can no longer be selective on who will be a genius inventor or future STEM leader. We need everyone who can be, to be. And that means cultivating all our children and nurturing them.

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