By Nehemiah D. Frank, The Black Wall Street Times, October 28, 2019
Adequately funding Oklahoma schools and thoroughly educating every child in the state is becoming more of a liability for the state’s future than past decades. Careers involving science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) are in higher demand than in previous years. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that over the next decade, math-heavy occupations will increase by as much as 28% across the nation.
Currently, Oklahoma students aren’t ready for tomorrow’s STEM economy, especially the state’s Black students. According to data from the Oklahoma Department of Education, Black Oklahoma students have consistently scored lower than their white counterparts in Math and Science; moreover, even Black students from affluent families on average scored lower than non-Black students.
In Science, Black Oklahoma students scored 29-percent lower than White Oklahoma students. Their average Math score was 25-percent lower than the average score for White Oklahoma students. Outside the classroom, Black students are more likely to encounter toxic stress leading to their low academic outcomes.