Michele Cahill and Phillip Griffiths: 100Kin10 Achievement and Next Steps

Over the coming decades, today’s young people will depend on the critical knowledge and skills developed by learning math and science to analyze problems, imagine solutions, and bring productive new ideas into being. The nation’s capacity to innovate for economic growth and the ability of Americans to thrive in the global economy require a broad foundation of math and science learning, as do our hopes for preserving a vibrant democracy and the promise of social mobility for young people that lie at the heart of the American dream. Yet our nation’s schools have been struggling to provide high-quality science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education for all children. Less than half of U.S. students are proficient in math, and only about a third are proficient in science. By 12th grade, only 17 percent of American students are both math proficient and interested in a STEM career. This is a serious problem, and we’ve been working on it at Carnegie Corporation and the Institute for Advanced Study primarily through the 100Kin10 initiative. As we approach the program’s three-year mark, we’d like to take the opportunity to reflect on where we started and how much progress we’ve made, and look forward to next steps.

In 2011, Carnegie Corporation of New York partnered with the Institute for Advanced Study (through the Corporation-funded Opportunity Equation mobilization) to tackle the country’s urgent need for better STEM education. With Phillip Griffiths and myself as co-chairs, Carnegie Corporation and Opportunity Equation launched the 100Kin10 network as a collaborative movement designed to meet the nation’s need for 100,000 new, excellent STEM teachers in elementary and secondary classrooms within the next 10 years. The movement’s inspiration was a call to action in President Obama’s 2011 State of the Union address. The president expressed deep concern that the nation’s prosperity, standing in the world, and ability to grow the economy depended on the quality of education American students receive—quality that, in the STEM field, just wasn’t there for every student. 

We created this initiative to unite a broad spectrum of partner organizations—nonprofits, school districts, museums, institutions of higher education, unions, foundations, corporations, federal agencies, professional associations, and states—to recruit and train America’s STEM teachers and support and retain them in classrooms. We challenged partners in the network to take a fresh look at their resources and consider how to apply them strategically to turn STEM teaching and learning around. Thanks to the work of our partners, 100Kin10’s accomplishments have been truly impressive: 

  • Over 150 partner organizations have made nearly 200 unique commitments to recruit and prepare more than 30,000 teachers just in the first five years and retain tens of thousands more – and that number is growing as new partners join the network every year.
  • A funders’ collaborative has raised over $52 million in pledges over three years. To date $29,130,811 has been given in grants to 45 100Kin10 partners to support the STEM teaching work of partner organizations. The 26 funders are: Amgen Foundation, Jeffrey H. and Shari L. Aronson Family Foundation, S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation, The Boston Foundation, CA Technologies, Carnegie Corporation of New York,  Chevron, Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, The Dow Chemical Foundation, Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Foundation, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Gay & Lesbian Fund for Colorado, a program of the Gill Foundation, Google,  The Greater Texas Foundation, Heising-Simons Foundation, The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust, The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, Leonetti O'Connell Family Foundation, Tammy and Jay Levine Foundation, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, JPMorgan Chase, NewSchools Venture Fund, Noyce Foundation, The Samberg Family Foundation, Samueli Foundation, and the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation.
  • Seven funders have run competitions that award regional grants or support partners in preparing STEM teachers to address challenges of Common Core Math and Next Generation Science Standards.
  • “Solution labs” have brought partners together to find and share unconventional approaches they can use to solve persistent challenges in the field, and to help produce their own innovative approaches.
  • Easy-to-access collaboration grants that help organizations learn from and work with one another have yielded coordinated projects across a diverse array of partners.  
  • Annual summits have brought national leaders from the public, business, and research sectors together with partners for shared learning opportunities.
  • Local, partner-hosted events around the country have facilitated networking, particularly between new and veteran partners, and led to productive alliances.
  • Research and learning opportunities led by the University of Chicago, including webinars and published case studies, have fueled continuous improvement in practice across all partner organizations.
  • More than 100 100Kin10 partners have contributed to the development of an annual, confidential partner survey that will ask questions about partners’ work in each stage of a teacher’s life cycle, from recruitment through advancement. Designed to gather deep and comparable information across organizations about strategy, context, practices, and results, the goal is to enable significant learning about what is and isn’t working and to spur improvement for partners and the field.

These highlights show how 100Kin10’s synergistic approach can lead to better ideas, utilization of resources, and outcomes than any single entity could hope to produce alone. We believed in this strategy from the beginning, but it has succeeded beyond our expectations. The 100Kin10 partnership has brought national attention to the critical need for STEM teachers at an unprecedented scale and has mobilized a range of partners leading right up to the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and the Clinton Global Initiative. It is not overstating the case to say 100Kin10 has become a national model of collective impact.

But success has brought new challenges: creating and managing this kind of network requires extensive coordination of activities to unite the efforts of participants and drive momentum forward. Since 100Kin10 participants are already stretched to the limit, a dedicated organization with its own highly trained staff is vital. We are committed to the initiative’s ongoing progress.  And it’s become clear that to grow to its full potential, 100Kin10 needs a home of its own.

To ensure its healthy future and meet ongoing goals, as of January 2014, 100Kin10 will become an independent organization. Carnegie Corporation will provide a $9 million, multi-year grant to the National Center for Civic Innovation that will combine its existing financial support for 100Kin10 into one ongoing grant to enable 100Kin10 to establish a governance and management structure for a growing national organization with multi-year funding. We are thrilled that the S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation has joined Carnegie as a funder of the 100Kin10 backbone organization. As an independent entity, 100Kin10 will continue to advance STEM teaching and learning for all American students. Its activities will include providing strong support to existing and new partners, raising and distributing funds, increasing communications efforts, and implementing a robust research and development strategy. We are especially pleased that Talia Milgrom-Elcott will continue to lead 100Kin10 now as executive director, as her vision and dedication have been so instrumental in 100Kin10’s accomplishments. Partners can be assured that, under her leadership, 100Kin10 will continue to grow and thrive. A new program director will join Carnegie Corporation early in 2014 to lead the strengthening teaching and human capital management work within Carnegie’s national program.

— Michele Cahill (Vice President, National Program, and Program Director, Urban Education, Carnegie Corporation of New York)

— Phillip Griffiths (Professor Emeritus in the School of Mathematics and Former Director, Institute for Advanced Study) Co-Chairs, Opportunity Equation