Op-ed contributor Brian Gaines is right that we've got a long way to go when it comes to making sure Maryland's next generation is sufficiently educated in science, technology, engineering and mathematics ("No. 1 isn't good enough," Jan. 23). But he overlooks one outstanding way to help do the job: After-school programs.
Ample research demonstrates that high-quality after-school programs can have a significant impact on students' attitudes about STEM fields and careers, their knowledge and skills in those areas and even their likelihood of graduating and pursuing a STEM career.
A recent survey of after-school providers by the Afterschool Alliance identified a consensus on the most achievable STEM outcomes for students who participate in after-school programs. They include boosting student interest in STEM, engaging students in STEM activities and learning to value the goals of STEM education.