Grand Challenges

The future of our country depends on today’s students becoming tomorrow’s innovators. To make that possible, we need to tackle the underlying causes of our nation's shortage of excellent teachers, especially in science, technology, engineering, and math. 100Kin10 identified the 100 challenges to preparing and retaining great STEM teachers and created an unprecedented roadmap that points the way toward transforming STEM education in America.

  • Finding Our Starfish

    In the natural world, everything is connected. Because of this, ecologists are able to map an ecosystem and identify the highest-leverage organisms that keep the system healthy. They call them keystones. On the Olympic Peninsula of Washington state, starfish are the keystones, and they keep the ecosystem thriving.

    What if we can find the starfish in our human ecosystems?

  • Gathering Diverse Perspectives

    Applying this science to the STEM teacher shortage, we mapped the STEM education system and discovered the highest-leverage opportunities for STEM teaching.

    We started with a single guiding question: “Why is it so hard to get and keep great teachers, especially in STEM?”

    We asked thousands of STEM teachers and other experts “why” and “why” and “why” again, until we had hit bedrock and stopped hearing any new reasons.

  • Surfacing the Challenges

    We distilled 104 distinct challenges from those thousands of perspectives. We then organized the 104 challenges into seven major themes.

  • Discovering the Connections

    We designed an interactive game that asked education experts how solving one challenge would impact another. 35,000 data points later, we learned that everything is connected in the STEM teaching system, reflecting what we know to be true of natural ecosystems.

  • Identifying the Catalysts

    But like natural ecosystems, everything in our system is not equally connected. Like the starfish in the Olympic Peninsula, some challenges in the STEM teaching ecosystem have more influence than others. If solved, they could create a domino-like effect. 

    We call our keystone species “catalysts.” Although they’re not silver bullets, they are high-leverage opportunities for creating system-level progress.

  • Solving the Challenges

    You can’t solve a problem you don’t understand. Now that we have a full picture of the problem, we can address the underlying challenges - and the most important ones - head-on, instead of treating symptoms.

    This roadmap provides a new model to drive sustainable, systemic change in STEM education.

  • Starting Your Journey

    We created this website as a tool to help anyone in the field contribute to solving the STEM-teacher shortage. We hope it spurs you to see your work with a 360-degree view, account for how challenges influence one another, find likely and unlikely allies with whom to partner, and work together to actually solve the highest-leverage root causes. Together, we can transform STEM education in America.

    Start your journey by exploring the underlying Challenges and current Progress to solve them.

Grand Challenges | 100Kin10