White House Hosts Symposium on Advancing STEM Education

The White House, in partnership with the U.S. Departments of Education and Health and Human Services and Invest in US, hosted a symposium last week to highlight the importance of promoting active science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) learning for our youngest children. Sam Whiting, Thrive president and CEO, attended the event along with hundreds of early learning professionals representing state and local entities, foundations, non-profits, media organizations, technology companies, research institutions, and museums. As part of the event, the White House announced the rollout of several public and private initiatives to support teaching young children about STEM subjects.

The initiatives (outlined in this White House-issued fact sheet) include support for research, school-based programs, expansion of existing programs, and creation of new ones such as STEM-based apps and summer camps. The government considers early STEM education as an integral component in elevating the country’s competency, not just now but also in the future. The initiatives further enforce the belief expressed by the White House and the Department of Education that investing in early STEM education will better equip youth as they face the many challenges of the 21st-century economy.

“Early learning has a huge return on investment for the country,” Education Secretary John King said at the White House STEM symposium. “When some think of it as an expense, we would argue it’s not an expense — it’s an investment, a long-term investment that realizes savings in better long-term academic outcomes, better long-term health outcomes, better long-term success in the workforce.”

Watch the entire symposium below: